Why Does My iPhone Randomly Vibrate? (2023)

The iPhone's ability to vibrate is a useful feature to notify us of calls, messages, or other important events even when the device is silenced. If your iPhone is vibrating randomly, however, without any apparent message or email, this can be confusing and annoying. Here is what could be causing it and what to do about it.

In this guide, we'll walk you through some troubleshooting steps to try if your iPhone is vibrating for seemingly no reason at all. Most of these are software related, but there is one easy hardware issue to rule out before starting.

But First, Check Your Charging Cable:

Your iPhone will vibrate when plugged into a charging cable, so if you're only noticing this problem while the phone is charging, it may be due to a problem with the cable, so try a different one. Once you've ruled out this as a possible cause, try these other troubleshooting suggestions, and be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter for more guides on common iPhone problems.

Related: What to Do If iPhone Vibration Not Working

What's in This Guide?

1. Check Your Notification Settings

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Home screen with Settings app marked.
  2. Scroll down and tap Notifications option.

    Settings screen with Notifications option marked.
  3. On this screen you will see a list of your apps that may have notifications. If there is a particular app that you believe may be causing this issue, try tapping to check its settings.

    Notifications settings screen.
  4. In the notifications settings of an app, you can tap the Allow Notifications toggle to turn off notifications.

    Notifications settings screen for the Calendar app with Allow Notifications toggle marked.
  5. Common culprits for this issue are instant messaging apps and the Mail app, so be sure to check these.

    Notifications settings screen with Mail app marked in the app list.

When you check your app notification settings, be sure to note the type of alerts you have enabled, if you choose not to disable notifications. If you disable some of these alert types, it's possible that your phone vibrates but the screen is black because no visible notification as a banner or on the lock screen, but a notification was still triggered.

2. Reboot Your iPhone

Though it may sound obvious or silly, simply turning your device off and back on again can sometimes help resolve unusual issues, so this is a good thing to try early on when troubleshooting an issue. Check out our guide on how to power your iPhone off and back on for additional help with this.

3. Update Your Apps

In case the random vibrations may be caused by a glitch with an app, check to make sure all your apps are up to date. Take a look at our guide on updating all your apps at once for a step-by-step walkthrough, and if you believe this issue began after installing a new app, consider uninstalling it to see if that resolves the problem.

4. Update iOS

Ensuring your system software is up to date can also help to prevent glitches like this, and it's generally a good idea to update iOS whenever possible. Take a look at our guide on how to update your iPhone's system software for additional information.

5. Check Systems Settings for Vibrations

There are a lot of options for customizing when and how your iPhone uses vibrations that you might not know about. We have a short guide on vibration settings that you might want to check out if you're wondering how to change vibration on iPhone. You can also simply decide to shut off vibrations entirely if you'd prefer, or as a temporary workaround.  This guide also explains how to switch Silent Mode off, which is another possible workaround, if your iPhone is set to only vibrate when in Silent Mode.

6. Force Restart

Doing a force restart on your iPhone can sometimes help get your phone out of glitch loops, but it can soemtimes cause its own issues as well, so be careful and take a look at our guide on how to force restart an iPhone X (or later), or this guide on how to do so on earlier iPhones with Home buttons.

7. Reset Settings

Transfer or Reset iPhone General Settings screen with Reset All Settings option marked.

If nothing so far has helped stopped your iPhone from randomly vibrating, you might want to try resetting all device settings to their factory default. This will not delete any data or apps but you will need to reconfigure many things again and things like saved passwords will be lost. See our guide on how to reset your network settings, but instead choose Reset All Settings.

8. Factory Reset

As a near last resort, you can attempt a full factory reset of your iPhone. This will wipe all apps and data from your device, so be sure you've made a backup before doing so! Our article on the iPhone reset process will walk you through it and has links to guides on backing up your device first.

9. Contact Apple

Hopefully by now one of our suggestions has helped you fix this annoying issue, but if not there are further things that can be attempted to deal with glitches like this. They are even more extreme, however, and carry greater risk than a factory reset so at this point, if you're still unable to stop your iPhone from vibrating at random times, it is probably time to contact Apple Support. Through the official support site, you can contact an Apple associate via phone, chat, or email and they can help determine what next steps you can take.

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Author Details

Brian Peters's picture

Author Details

Brian Peters

Brian Peters is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life, a creative writing hobbyist, and general technology enthusiast. He has a bachelor's degree in English, and has completed National Novel Writing Month multiple times. He lives in the Austin, Texas, area with his wife, two dogs, and two cats.