1. JustinSaneV2's Avatar
    Apple responds to iPhone 4 reception issues: you're holding the phone the wrong way



    So, we just spoke with Apple and got the straight dirt on the reception issues that have been plaguing users today... and it's a little surprising. In essence, Apple cops to the fact there are reception issues with the new iPhone -- namely, that if you cover the bottom-left corner of the phone and bridge the gap between the notch there with your naked flesh, you could see some signal degradation. Yes, you read that right: it's not a software or production issue, simply a matter of the physical location of your hand in regards to the phone's antenna. The company's suggested fix? Move your hand position, or get a case which covers that part of the phone, thus breaking contact. As you can see in the email above which just arrived in our tip box, this is a sentiment which runs pretty high at the company. Here's the official statement:
    Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.
    We know what you're thinking, and we're thinking it too: this sounds crazy. Essentially, Apple is saying that the problem is how you hold your phone, and that the solution is to change that habit, or buy one of their cases. Admittedly, this isn't a problem that exists only for the iPhone 4 -- we've seen reports of the same behavior on previous generations (the 3G and 3GS), and there is a running thread about this problem with the Nexus One. While it is definitely true that interference is an unavoidable problem, we can't help feeling like this is really a bit of bad design. If the only answer is to move your hand, why didn't Apple just move the antenna position? What we can say without question is that in our testing of the phone, we had improved reception and fewer dropped calls than we experienced with the last generation, and we never noticed this issue. Additionally, when using a bumper we can't recreate the signal loss. So, now we have an answer... all we're wondering is whether or not the company will start handing out bumpers pro-bono to those who are experiencing problems. It certainly seems like the right thing to do.

    Update: To add a little perspective, check out a video from 2008 after the break showing the same issue with the now-ancient iPhone 3G (thanks Inge).

    Apple responds over iPhone 4 reception issues: you're holding the phone the wrong way -- Engadget
    06-24-2010 09:03 PM
  2. california_matthew's Avatar
    I don't know about all these iPhone 4 connection problems. I used every single one in the apple store and held it covering both sides of the band and almost all the way around the 3G band and the signal didn't drop. I hope when I take my iPhone 4 home that I don't have any of the problems.
    06-24-2010 09:58 PM
  3. OTACORB's Avatar
    I don't know about all these iPhone 4 connection problems. I used every single one in the apple store and held it covering both sides of the band and almost all the way around the 3G band and the signal didn't drop. I hope when I take my iPhone 4 home that I don't have any of the problems.
    Again not a legit test due to the signal repeaters in the store. I and others have said if you are close to a tower it is hard to replicate this. But when you are somewhere out between towers you can replicate this very easily.

    Using bumpers or a case does fix the issue, but is that going to be an acceptable fix for everyone? I had already ordered a bumper for mine and have been using it all day in an old 3GS case today. I've had great reception and absolutely no issues. However, if I take it out of that case... and hold it as indicated.. I will lose my signal and in some cases all the way till it says NO Service. I also believe this is absolutely wide spread and those that have not been able to replicate it is because they are in a very strong signal area.
    06-24-2010 10:15 PM
  4. Mustang5Oh's Avatar
    I am not sure what to think about this. Fingers/a hand really shouldnt block the signal. I mean come on the signal goes through walls of a house and buildings. I seriously think this is iOS4 causing the issue. I watched a 3G with iOS4 do the exact same thing. I dont know but I am not sure if I accept Apple's statement to just simply hold it different. Yesterday my signal was fine and today in class I went from full 3G to 1 bar of 3G from simply holding the phone in my hands. I did NOT want a bumper and now I have to wait and hope I can find one soon so I can avois this issue. Apple IMO should be giving us FREE bumpers for their screw up OR fix the OS if its just an indication issue.
    06-24-2010 10:51 PM
  5. rijc99's Avatar
    I don't know about all these iPhone 4 connection problems. I used every single one in the apple store and held it covering both sides of the band and almost all the way around the 3G band and the signal didn't drop. I hope when I take my iPhone 4 home that I don't have any of the problems.
    Apple says there is an issue with reception being affected by touching the band. They refuse to call it a problem but their solution is to avoid contact with the lower left point by moving your hand or buy a case.

    The fact reception can be affected by touching the band should no longer be an issue.
    06-25-2010 03:40 AM
  6. OTACORB's Avatar
    Apple says there is an issue with reception being affected by touching the band. They refuse to call it a problem but their solution is to avoid contact with the lower left point by moving your hand or buy a case.

    The fact reception can be affected by touching the band should no longer be an issue.
    LOL "Apple Said"
    06-25-2010 03:44 AM
  7. iVenom's Avatar
    I hold mine with chop sticks I'm getting full bars what's you guys problem
    06-25-2010 04:20 AM
  8. John T's Avatar
    Fingers/a hand really shouldnt block the signal.
    It's nothing to do with blocking the signal!

    It's basic electronics. Touching the Phone's aerial (antenna) can effectively short it to ground and/or decrease it's efficiency. Touching the insulator between the two aerials can short circuit them, again reducing their efficiency.

    The above is also dependant on signal strength - the larger the signal, the less the effect is noticed and vice versa.
    06-25-2010 05:52 AM
  9. skew's Avatar
    I bet if Steve asked his engineer if I hold my phone in my left hand it drops calls. His engineer says don't hold it in your left hand. Do you really think Steve would accept that answer for a solution?

    Also there has to be something different in the towers. Because i drove for 4 hours yesturday and tested mine. Some areas it didnt effect it at all be touching some it would only drop 3bars and my luck at my home town it will goto no service everytime. So I dont think its a hardware issue on the phone but either software on the phone or something in the tower.
    06-25-2010 06:36 AM
  10. nmoreman's Avatar
    Mine is going back today for this reason.

    I jumped ship from Sprint to get better service (allegedly) in outlying areas.
    At home, I have 5 bars. When I hold the phone normally, it drops to 2, -3. I can tell on calls, they are scratchy.

    Where I purchased this to use has 3 bars, if I get same results (most likely), that means 0 or worse than I currently have.

    Not quite enough service improvement to justify an additional $1000 a year that depends on when I can get a case (non local) or how I hold the phone.
    Not impressed with this issue.
    06-25-2010 06:41 AM
  11. wkr08's Avatar
    Hmmmmm....you mean you all didn't watch Apple's "iPhone Holding 101" video?
    06-25-2010 09:15 AM
  12. jameslaz's Avatar
    What about when youre not even touching the phone? My wife has an iphone 3GS and I just got the new iphone 4. I noticed my reception was greatly varying from no signal to full signal. I asked my wife to see her iphone and she had full signal strength. I set the phone on the coffee table and hers had all bars and mine had one. I am going to look into this further and maybe take a picture or two later when I get home. I thought the new antenna band was going to increase reception. I love the iphone 4 but I need better reception.

    Thank you,
    06-25-2010 09:31 AM
  13. cjvitek's Avatar
    Okay, so I am left handed. Does that mean I am in the only group that is holding the phone correctly? Did they finally make a left handed iPhone?
    06-25-2010 10:03 AM
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