iOS’s Slide To Unlock Sound Is Actually The Click Of A Vice Grip Opening



As we all well know by now, the smallest decision in an Apple product can be the sort of thing that Cupertino designers can have spent man years deciding upon, experimenting with iteration after iteration until inspiration finally and serendipitously strikes. But this obsession with detail isn’t just visual: it goes right down to the sounds you never think twice about.

Here’s one great example, shared by sound designer Jim McKee on the 99% Invisible Podcast. The sound of your iPhone or iPad unlocking itself? It’s actually the sound a vice grip makes opening itself up.

Here, listen for yourself. It starts at the 2:43 mark.

Fantastic, isn’t it? Listen to the whole podcast, it’s a beautiful five minute primer (masterfully produced) on the principals of sound design.

[via Reddit]

  • Don Pope

    That would be a “vise” grip.

  • djp8543

    There is an Apple designer named Freddy Anzures who has been interviewed several time on the subject (despite only finding one here:… Its the last couple paragraphs) thats claims he designed the lock sound and that it was actually from his high school locker.

    I first heard of this when he was interviewed through Carnegie Mellon University (his alma mater) but could not find 

    While trying to find that same interview I came across a lot of stories for the Slide Lock patten which includes Freddy Anzures name so he is at least credited for its design in one way or another. 

  • metalhaze

    He’s right. It’s ‘vise’ not ‘vice’.

    This is a ‘vice’

  • Brandon Montville

    That’s fitting. Too bad Apple’s vise grip never opens. 

  • Nick Thomas

    Where did they say Apple use a Vice grip? He said it’s almost the same sound. He didn’t say it WAS the same sound!

  • Shane Bryson

    This article is horrible. That sound effect IS NOT a vice grip, and no where in the podcast do they claim it is. They said it sounds “like” it. You are spouting falsehoods with no basis in reality. That is poor journalism.

  • JorgeMaat

    I don’t know about you but I just unlocked my iPhone at least 10 times as I listened to the sound in the podcast and it was the exact same sound.

  • Aaron Kok

    “Vice grip?” Are you even sufficiently well-educated to write, Mr Brownlee?

  • nuthouse360

    “…can be the sort of thing that Cupertino designers can have spent man years deciding upon…”

    Can have spent?

    Man years?

    Is Cult of Mac a high school writing assignment? This blog continually amazes me.

  • Aaron Kok

    I spotted another one.

    “…the principals of sound design.”

    Perhaps Mr Brownlee has been testing our command of English all along.