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In the last few weeks my iPhone occasionally makes some kind of notification sound. It's not any of the built-in sounds, and I've gone through all the "Sounds" settings just to make sure. It's a two-step tone on a marimba or something like it, but not the built-in one. It happens about once every 10 minutes.

How do I figure out which app is causing the sound? There is no other notification. It's infrequent enough that it's hard to tell whether killing any particular app fixes it, and I use enough apps that killing them is impractical.

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Is there any way you could record the sound? It's hard for us to guess after the sound without hearing it :-) Is there any notification visible in the notification center? (Swipe from top to bottom on your iPhone) –  Michiel Jun 19 '12 at 7:35
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Do you have the GMail app installed? When a new mail arrives the app notifies with a sound but without any visual banner. –  Davide Gualano Jun 19 '12 at 9:50
    
Davide, that was it! Thank you!! Damn Gmail app. :) I'm surprised Apple allows background sound without some sort of indication where it came from. –  Chocohound Jun 19 '12 at 20:24
    
The GMail app is really weird, in regards to notifications. I too took a while the understand from where that damned noise came from :) –  Davide Gualano Jun 20 '12 at 9:02
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Try disabling sound notification permissions for all apps that you don't need sound notifications for in your notification settings (Settings > Notifications, scroll down to Apps and disable from there)

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Sounds like it would work but is quite painful. I found my particular issue thanks to Davide's comment. But I'll accept this answer or any better answer on how you would find such a problem generically. –  Chocohound Jun 19 '12 at 20:26
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I just went through this. I had a sound which was incredibly infrequent (1-4 times a day), not a standard sound, and seemingly random.

It was driving me batty. Here's my process:


Get the iPhone Configuration Utility (near the bottom). This will let you look at recent log entries from your phone's console log --- analog to Console.app.

When your phone is connected, in the left sidebar a "Devices" section will appear. Select the phone, and then in the top-tabs, you'll see "console" at the far right (see here for a screenshot).

The next time a sound occurs, take note of the time, then plug it in, and save the console log to a text file.

Open the saved log file in your editor of choice. You'll want to focus on the time the sound happened -- for me, I only knew the time down to the minute, but it sufficed. I think my job was made easier by the fact that my phone was idle at the time.

Here's what I saw in my log:

Sep 25 15:24:28  CommCenter[68] <Notice>: Release assertion for reason: operation queue is empty
Sep 25 15:24:28  backboardd[28] <Notice>: MultitouchHID: device bootloaded         
Sep 25 15:24:28  backboardd[28] <Notice>: MultitouchHID: detection mode: 6->6   
Sep 25 15:24:28  configd[55] <Notice>: network changed: v4(en0:142.244.166.94, pdp_ip0) DNS Proxy
Sep 25 15:24:28  wirelessproxd[66] <Warning>: CoreBluetooth[WARNING] <CBCentralManager: 0x17e88250> is disabling duplicate filtering, but is using the default queue (main thread) 
Sep 25 15:24:28  kernel[0] <Debug>: launchd[4555] Container: /private/var/mobile/Applications/DF67F833-5955-4E49-8101-87B804F5C04C (sandbox)
Sep 25 15:24:30  locationd[52] <Notice>: need a scan, count, 0, 0, lwatchdog, 0.0, interval, 60.0, needWatchdog, 1
Sep 25 15:24:30  locationd[52] <Notice>: scan result, count, wait, 1, retry, 0, error
Sep 25 15:24:30  locationd[52] <Notice>: scan result, count, wait, 1, retry, 1, error
Sep 25 15:24:30  locationd[52] <Notice>: scan result, count, wait, 1, retry, 2, error
Sep 25 15:24:31  mediaserverd[45] <Warning>: 15:24:31.746 [0x379e000] Sub_AudioSessionSetActiveWithFlags: WARNING translating CMSession error: -16980
Sep 25 15:24:34  locationd[52] <Notice>: loc watchdog expired, count, 1, 3         
Sep 25 15:24:34  locationd[52] <Notice>: scan result, count, wait, 2, retry, 0, error
Sep 25 15:24:34  locationd[52] <Notice>: scan result, count, wait, 2, retry, 1, error
Sep 25 15:24:34  locationd[52] <Notice>: scan result, count, wait, 2, retry, 2, error
Sep 25 15:24:37  backboardd[28] <Notice>: ALS: SetDisplayFactor: factor=0.0000  
Sep 25 15:24:37  kernel[0] <Debug>: AppleMultitouchN1SPI: updating power statistics
Sep 25 15:24:37  backboardd[28] <Notice>: MultitouchHID: detection mode: 6->255 
Sep 25 15:24:37  kernel[0] <Debug>: ALS: AppleARMBacklight::setBacklightEnableGated 0 (set level to 0x1d7)

The key line here is this: Sep 25 15:24:31 mediaserverd[45] <Warning>: 15:24:31.746 [0x379e000] Sub_AudioSessionSetActiveWithFlags: WARNING translating CMSession error: -16980. That's the audio system starting to play the sound.

Looking a little further back, this line shows the last launched application: kernel[0] <Debug>: launchd[4555] Container: /private/var/mobile/Applications/DF67F833-5955-4E49-8101-87B804F5C04C (sandbox).

A reasonable assumption is that this is the culprit. I'd be interested in hearing anyone provide an easier way to map the application UID (DF67F833-5955-4E49-8101-87B804F5C04C) back to an actual name. For me, I started opening applications at random, looking for the culprit hash. About 10 applications later, I'd found it: Downcast.app. Quickly digging into the settings, I found my culprit: A feed update notification sound was enabled.


Ugly, but it worked for me. Best of luck to those tearing their hair out trying to find something similar.

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