Can’t feel Vibrate Alerts on iPhone 11 – Easy Troubleshooting

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In the event you are constantly missing calls because you can’t feel vibrate alerts on your new iPhone 11 there are a couple of steps you should take before returning to the store.

So you got your new iPhone 11. The first thing you did before leaving the store was put on a screen protector followed by a case. All of this was done before you even get a phone call or text message to know what to expect out of your new phone. If you are like me your phone stays on silent at work, church, or in the treestand. I rely on a watch or vibration to alert me of notifications.

Check Software Settings

First, Navigate to Settings -> Sounds & Haptics. Ensure you have the Vibrate toggle switches set up the way you want them. Next, if there is a specific type of notification you are missing click on it. Lets say phone calls and texts are the most important to you. Click ringtone to pull up the options for it. I leave my vibration on Default but you can personalize yours. Click on it to play with other patterns. Choose one you like or create your own. If your Vibration seems abnormally weak in comparison to your old phone or a friends then additional troubleshooting is needed.

Remove Accessories and Test for weak vibration

In the event you still can’t feel vibrate alerts when you were playing with the settings then it’s time to strip your phone down and try it again. Your screen protector can stay on but remove your case (magnetic case in particular). Return to Settings -> Sounds & Haptics -> Ringtone or Text Alerts. With your phone outside of the case, is the vibration significantly stronger? If so we’ve identified the culprit. Some magnetic cases have a tendency to interfere with the vibration motor.

Discovering the Issue:

Recently I was helping troubleshoot a coworkers new phone. He was complaining about missing text and skype conversations at work. Because he can’t feel vibrate alerts on the new iPhone 11. We compared settings and vibrate strength to my iPhone XS. His vibrate was barely functioning. After a factory reset to make sure we didn’t miss anything he eventually ended up on the phone with Apple Support. A couple hours and techs later he was sent to the Verizon store. After replacing his phone they found that the new one was behaving the same way. Five minutes later his 12 year old daughter showed off her tech skills and identified the phone case as the culprit. She’s smarter than her dad, Apple Senior Support, and Verizon In Store Support combined!

An Issue with Rokform magnetized cases:

The case was a Rokform Rugged (not available on Amazon at the time of this writing). The Rokform Crystal alternative is available and looks like it may already include a barrier, I cant confirm this though.

In my experience RokForm makes amazing cases and often includes a handy removable magnet for mounting inside the case. My Rokform Fuzion Pro works flawlessly on my iPhone XS. But with a redesign meant to allow for wireless charging Rokform moved the internal case magnet to the bottom 1/4 of the phone. In doing so the magnet is now interfering with the vibration motor. My friend called Rokform to see if there was a solution for it and is currently awaiting a felt separator pad that will be installed between the magnet and his phone. I will update this post when he receives it and we are able to confirm this as an acceptable solution.

Its possible there are other magnetic phone cases that could be causing interference so a simple test of removing your phone from the case could rule out accessories as the ailment for poor vibration performance.

Return to Store:

If you still have weak vibration on iPhone 11 with a naked phone then it’s time to take it to the experts. Let your carrier, the manufacturer, or the store you bought it from examine it and see if its a hardware issue. If it is they can let you know the next steps in their customer service/warranty policy to get you back into an acceptably functioning phone.

To Summarize:

  • Check Settings -> Sounds & Haptics
  • Ensure Vibration is turned on
  • Click specific alert type and test with custom or other vibrate patterns
  • If weak vibration persists, remove accessories including case and try again
  • If weak vibration still persists, try a software reset or consult the seller /carrier for hardware troubleshooting or replacement.

Share this with your friends that might be having similar issues. This isn’t intended to be a negative review of Rokform. My intent is to inform customers who may have purchased one of their cases before they realized the flaw to help users who are struggling to find answers. I have been a Rokform fan and user for years. In fact, I have even convinced my wife to try one for her next case replacement. They offer a fantastic 2 year warranty and 60 day money back guarantee, which I wouldn’t expect gets used very often.

If you do own a Rokform I highly recommend the swivel mount. Its a game changer for the truck!

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****** UPDATE******

Rokform’s Quick Fix was unsuccessful

The felt separator pad finally arrived from Rokform. Apparently the solution works on some phones or they wouldn’t have attempted it as a fix. But in the situation my coworker was experiencing the felt pad (pictured below) had no effect. Vibration improved only when he stacked two of the pads on top of each other. But the thickness caused the charging port to be inaccessible.

Felt Separator Pad Installed under Liner

Experimenting before Requesting Refund- Success!

We experimented with various materials to use as a barrier between the magnet and the phone. These included paper, aluminum foil, shielding from electrical wire, and rubber (none of which worked). I finally remembered an item I had left over from my Rokform Swivel Mount. They had included 2 branded metal plates for use with non-Rokform cases. My wife had attached one to her phone but I had an extra in my truck. The plate was extremely thin, we inserted it inside the case allowing it to attach to the magnet. After reassembling his case we discovered our success as his phone is now able to vibrate while using his Rokform Rugged case.

If you can’t feel vibrate alerts on your iPhone in the Rokform case go get yourself a Swivel Mount (you need one anyway) and use the extra plates to fix this issue. You might even contact Rokform and see if they have found a way to offer these plates outside of the swivel mount kit.