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On an iPhone 4, running iOS 6.1.3, when I'm listening music, I regularly hear noises related to cellular phone network. For example I hear cellular traffic noise:

  • when I was out of reach of cellular network and entering a new phone cell,
  • just before receiving a new SMS,
  • just before receiving a phone call.

I would like to get rid of these "cellular traffic noises".


Does anyone else hear these "cellular traffic noises"?

Do they occur on more recent versions of iOS?

Are these "cellular traffic noises" interference noises and hence fully hardware related?

Do the new models of iPhone (5 or 6) avoid these interferences?

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All phones have done this, since they were first invented - the analog ones used to be far worse. It used to be compulsory to switch them off in the studios where I worked, as the interference could actually make its way onto a recording.

It's caused by electromagnetic induction to a nearby amplified circuit - hi-fi, tv, computer speakers etc.

It was always known as 'hunting' - not that it's any real technical term, but it roughly describes what's going on. If the phone is bordering one cell & hunting for the next, or if a signal comes through that data is about to be fired at it, the radios ramp up their power ready for it & the beep boppidy bop beep that you hear is the handshake as it ramps up.

Turning the phone 90˚ may help, by shifting the induced magnetic field out of alignment with the circuitry that's picking it up.

The only alternatives would be to move it well away from any other electronics, or switch it to Airplane mode.

This answer gives some simple background as to how induction works; it's the same for radio circuitry as audio.

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  • " beep boppidy bop beep " is a pretty good ASCII translation of my nightmare.
    – dan
    Mar 15, 2015 at 12:34
  • I've heard it so many times I can nearly dance to it :-) It sounds a bit like someone's just learning morse code… It becomes as familiar as an old dial up modem logging in.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 15, 2015 at 12:36
  • Do you think the receiving component is the cable of my earphones (not amplified) or some internal piece of circuitry too near from the output circuitry (before it is amplified)?
    – dan
    Mar 15, 2015 at 12:38
  • I'd say it's internal circuitry of something nearby, which is before an amp stage of some description. The one bit of gear I have here that does it most is an old midi keyboard, which has internal amplification. I can leave my phone on it for weeks with nothing, then one day it'll just start doing it. That's how i realised the 90˚ turn sometimes helps, but I'f I really need to work I just take the phone off it & it fades with the distance. My car stereo does it too if I put my phone in the pigeon hole directly under it.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 15, 2015 at 12:41
  • when my keyboard starts picking it up, for some reason it transmits to my main audio rig, even though there's no audio out connected from that keyboard, only midi.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 15, 2015 at 12:43

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