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  • Say What?! iPhone 4 Loses Reception Bars When Held by the Antenna Band?



    Talk about holding one's calls.

    Apparently, if you hold the iPhone 4 by the antenna band, you'll lose your bars, your reception, and maybe even your call. As this video making the rounds showcases, holding the handset with your fingers pressed upon the antenna throws off your cell reception and effectively reduces your bars all the way down, in some cases, to zero.

    Of course, it isn't yet clear if the real issue relates to an inaccurate showing of bars or a significant problem with the actual antenna. But as thousands unbox their iPhone 4s and activate the long awaited updated smartphone, you may want to give your device the finger so to speak and play the home game version of this video demonstration.

    But as Paul noted earlier in his piece "iPhone 4 Screen Defects Reported," in every new product, manufacturing defects are almost inevitable. So as scattered but undocumented complaints similarly surface, there's a good chance we'll know in the coming hours and days if this example is an isolated incident (and let's hope that it is)... or if this is the first real bug and potential nightmare for the 4th generation iPhone and its customers.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Say What?! iPhone 4 Loses Reception Bars When Held by the Antenna Band? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 563 Comments
    1. zturn13's Avatar
      zturn13 -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksti View Post
      How on earth does the iOS 4 software know that you are holding your iPhone "that way"?

      There are people in this thread that are swearing it is a software issue and I am yet to read an explanation as to how on earth the software is registering that you are holding the phone by the metal band? The whole phone is touch sensitive?
      From what i understand when you pick up the phone and hold your had over the ant. you block the signal and the phone should switch to a higher frequency so it can keep contact with the tower. and there is a problem with the code that tells the phone to do this. so it doesn't switch and so you block its signal. now i could be wrong but that what i have been able to understand
    1. JamieLee2k's Avatar
      JamieLee2k -
      What's the difference between my daughter's forthcoming wedding and an iPhone 4?My daughter's wedding is having a good reception.
    1. l0k0's Avatar
      l0k0 -
      Apples excuse for the software being the issue. Is much like Apples excuse that updating the firmware "always" increases the battery life. As we all know, Apple has been full of it since day one on that sorry excuse.

      The outter band of the Iphone is metal (the antenna). Therefor when u contact it directly, u are being a ground. Which is most likely how the phone knows u are holding the antenna and which is most likely what causes it to lose signal.

      Someone (who is having reception problems). Should take their Iphone and put it on the ground. Stand it up on its Antenna side, and see IF it loses reception. If it does, then chances are the grounding theory is right......No u cant NOT lay it flat on the ground either. Because the medal band wouldnt be touching a ground that way. It has to be sitting on its side.
    1. mj0528's Avatar
      mj0528 -
      Mine isn't doing it anymore! Strange! Case has come off, for now at least
    1. Pchild's Avatar
      Pchild -
      Quote Originally Posted by xclusiveiphone View Post

      They implied that a case would fix this problem, so it's quite clear they already admit it's a hardware issue. So your the one that's ignorant and not facing facts. Probably another fanboy defending his superior iPhone.

      Proof: Apple admits iPhone 4 antenna issues - USATODAY.com
      Stating there's a problem with the iphone's reception isn't admitting there's a hardware issue. Software can also cause reception issues.

      Further more, they said that holding the phone can interfere with reception, as with any cellphone. Which is true. I can take my wifes Sprint, my old iPhone (which my kid has) or any cell phone and cover the phone with my hand/body and interfear with reception.

      Apple has admitted there is an issue with the reception. That's it. They also said don't hold the phone that way. Not acceptable. But they didn't say what the issue was other than software at this point. I don't know, You don't know. I'm not saying it's *not* hardware, I'm saying you don't know, and you're ignorance is shining.

      I said link proof that they said it's a hardware issue. Linking a post that USATODAY.com posted is not proof.

      I am an iPhone fanboy. I hate Mac computers, I dislike almost everything apple makes with the exception of the ios software. The iPhone 4 is the best phone on the planet. But it does currently have a serious issue, weather it's hardware or software.

      So to state my point again: It's not confirmed to be hardware. Software evidence they posted makes sense based on the results I'm able to reproduce at home/work. Will the phones reception suffer when holding it in your left hand even after a software fix, yes, I'm sure it will, hopefully not to the extent we can't use the phone.
    1. xclusiveiphone's Avatar
      xclusiveiphone -
      What is antenna? A hardware wrapped around the iPhone right? Apple admit there is an antenna (hardware) issue. I rest my case. As much as I want this to be a software related issue, it sure looks grim on that matter. They don't have to admit it's a hardware issue explicitly. By pointing out that their case can resolve the issue is enough to say they admit it. Why do you think they came out with a case before any other company did?
    1. Pchild's Avatar
      Pchild -
      Link where an apple employee said "there is an antenna issue".

      Take yours back if you have one since you *KNOW* it's a hardware issue. Save the people who actually have patience from your know it all ignorance.

      Your generlized claims are just as full of self claimed no proof knowledge as the article you linked which isn't from a creditable apple source.
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Quote Originally Posted by l0k0 View Post
      Apples excuse for the software being the issue. Is much like Apples excuse that updating the firmware "always" increases the battery life. As we all know, Apple has been full of it since day one on that sorry excuse.

      The outter band of the Iphone is metal (the antenna). Therefor when u contact it directly, u are being a ground. Which is most likely how the phone knows u are holding the antenna and which is most likely what causes it to lose signal.

      Someone (who is having reception problems). Should take their Iphone and put it on the ground. Stand it up on its Antenna side, and see IF it loses reception. If it does, then chances are the grounding theory is right......No u cant NOT lay it flat on the ground either. Because the medal band wouldnt be touching a ground that way. It has to be sitting on its side.
      You have NO idea how antennas work, do you?
    1. bobright's Avatar
      bobright -
      Let alone this member l0k0 doesn't even have a iPhone 4, why even clutter this thread with useless ramblings when people who own the phone are looking for legitimate info.
    1. zmanforever's Avatar
      zmanforever -
      Quote Originally Posted by bobright View Post
      Let alone this member l0k0 doesn't even have a iPhone 4, why even clutter this thread with useless ramblings when people who own the phone are looking for legitimate info.

      Quoted for the truth, amen brother!

      Lets keep the personal feelings to oneself, and knowledge based info in the threads!
    1. robertr1's Avatar
      robertr1 -
      I wish I could think of a way that some software can be affected by touching the outside surface of the phone but sadly I can't. It is true that if you try to cover an antenna on any phone you'll lose signal only the iphone 4 seems to have this problem worse then others. People are swearing it's a software problem because apple didn't tell you it was a hardware problem(even though their response in the article was mainly telling you to hold your phone a certain way to avoid interference with the antenna). Now just stop and think, do you really think apple would tell you it's a hardware problem and they can't fix it with an update and it would more then likely cost them a ton of money to either recall(seriously doubt they'd ever do or consider that btw) or come up with another solution. I don't remember apple being that honest. All that article tells me is apple doesn't have a solution yet(at the time they wrote the article) because they were so vague in there explanation and basically said just don't hold it like that(lol). I'm not saying it is or isn't a hardware problem because I'm not an apple employee that works on iphones but I do think that it is hardware.
    1. sekazi's Avatar
      sekazi -
      Getting your hand near or touching an antenna will cause attenuation to the cell signal. When this happens the phone is suppose to switch to another frequency for a stronger signal. If it does not then the signal quality will drop until there is no more. From what I heard is there is a glitch in the baseband code that is not telling the phone to switch when it starts to loose signal so it just drops to nothing.

      This whole loss of signal can be produced without touching the metal. It can be reproduced using a case. It can be reproduced using something to cover the metal (I do this and it still happens to me). As long as your hand is far enough away you will not loose signal or as much signal.
    1. nicksti's Avatar
      nicksti -
      I think most of us are intelligent enough to know that many companies will do what they need to do to protect their image so we need to look at the evidence.

      1. GSM phones operate on the following bands for voice calls: 850/900/1800/1900.
      2. One method of talking on a cellphone is to hold it in your hand.
      3. The human hand will cause signal attenuation.

      Now here is where things get dodgy to me:

      1. Apple claims that several phones have the issue of signal attentuation when the phone is held. What they are not really admitting is that this problem is more severe with the design of the new iPhone. I have owned many phones, including the original iPhone and never had this issue.

      2. The software, in my opinion, is supposed to make up for a glaring design deficiency. The iPhone 4 is more prone to signal interruption so the phone will switch to a higher frequency. Now the bad part is if you are in certain areas where you can only communicate on a lower frequency then you will have issues.

      To me it is a hardware design flaw that software is supposed to compensate for, hence Apple is calling it a software issue.

      True?
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksti View Post
      I think most of us are intelligent enough to know that many companies will do what they need to do to protect their image so we need to look at the evidence.

      1. GSM phones operate on the following bands for voice calls: 850/900/1800/1900.
      2. One method of talking on a cellphone is to hold it in your hand.
      3. The human hand will cause signal attenuation.

      Now here is where things get dodgy to me:

      1. Apple claims that several phones have the issue of signal attentuation when the phone is held. What they are not really admitting is that this problem is more severe with the design of the new iPhone. I have owned many phones, including the original iPhone and never had this issue.

      2. The software, in my opinion, is supposed to make up for a glaring design deficiency. The iPhone 4 is more prone to signal interruption so the phone will switch to a higher frequency. Now the bad part is if you are in certain areas where you can only communicate on a lower frequency then you will have issues.

      To me it is a hardware design flaw that software is supposed to compensate for, hence Apple is calling it a software issue.

      True?
      Each frequency band has multiple specific frequencies available... a whole range actually. It's kinda why we call it a "band." The "broader" the band the more frequencies within it we can utilize... hence "broadband" is equated with higher "bandwidth" which is equated with higher "throughput."

      Also, higher frequencies are not always better for signal strength. They are blocked/obstructed more readily. There could also be more interference on another, normally better, frequency. It is for these reasons that software or hardware (logic, regardless) must evaluate the specific situation and the one with the best SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) is the one that should be selected.

      Wow. I actually sound like I know what I'm talking about.

      As for what I said to l0k0 earlier...
      Quote Originally Posted by l0k0 View Post
      [Quoted earlier.]
      "Ground" doesn't always mean "conducted to the ground," as you'd know with the schematic of nearly any battery-operated device. If anything, your body would be a better ground than the likely unconductive materials placed on the ground.

      Antennas need to be carefully designed for the frequencies they are meant to pick up on. It's why older TV antennas had both UHF and VHF parts. One conductor wouldn't work for both frequencies. Length is a factor. In an old crystal radio, you were effectively changing the length of the antenna to tune to a different frequency when you slid the conductor up and down the coil of wire. By shorting one antenna to the other, you are doing something similar when it is not desirable. Adding length to an antenna only helps if it is a certaing specific distance. I don't know if this is accurrate mathematically but, for example, you may have to exactly double the length of an antenna for it to continue working for the same fequencies (I do not know the math but the concept of multiple specific lengths for a target frequency is correct).

      Grounding it to your body is the same as grounding it to the other antenna: the specs and frequency response changes. "Grounded" or not, your body acts as an antenna... just not the right kind.
    1. ATTILA THE HUN's Avatar
      ATTILA THE HUN -
      I know this problem for 40 yeard now, my old volksvagen buggy 1971 any time I tuched the antena when the radio was on the signal was interapted,Apple stuff is probbly yungers then me.
    1. l0k0's Avatar
      l0k0 -
      Let me guess, IF u hold an antenna in ur hand and lightning strikes that antenna. Your not the ground, LoL. I guess that means u live. LoL

      Quote Originally Posted by ATTILA THE HUN View Post
      I know this problem for 40 yeard now, my old volksvagen buggy 1971 any time I tuched the antena when the radio was on the signal was interapted,Apple stuff is probbly yungers then me.
      Some people arent as old as us old guys, LoL
    1. realjaja's Avatar
      realjaja -
      I know the majority of us are in the US, but are we positive that this is limited to here? I mean what about Europe and Asia? They reporting the same problems?
    1. jmel42's Avatar
      jmel42 -
      I almost always keep my iPhone on the Edge connection to save battery life. Today I tried holding my phone the way everyone does to see if I lose bars. When in Edge this doesn't happen on my phone. If I go into 3G it happens. Has anyone else noticed this?

      I think the Edge antenna is on the right side so I tried holding it in my right hand the same way. No matter which hand it's in I don't lose any bars. It's only in 3G that it happens.
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Quote Originally Posted by l0k0 View Post
      Let me guess, IF u hold an antenna in ur hand and lightning strikes that antenna. Your not the ground, LoL. I guess that means u live. LoL



      Some people arent as old as us old guys, LoL
      Air is an insulator, just like the rubber in your shoes, and lightning obviously jumps through air. Your body is conductive and the electricity wants to take the path of least resistance. Lightning is such a powerful charge that it can jump right through a non-cunductive insulator (air), unlike the small electrical induction created inside an antenna when exposed to electromagnetic waves. Instead of having to jump though 6' of air, lighting is more likely to cruise through 6" of YOU and then jump through the 0.5" of cotton/air (socks) and fabric/rubber (shoes). Jumping through 0.5" of insulator is much easier than jumping through 6' of insulator. A radio wave either penetrates youor it doesn't. The antenna picks it up and a charge is generated. If you conduct with the antenna, you change the length and it will not properly resonate with that frequency and the charge will not be significant enough to use. The charge didn't jump through your shoes and into the ground like lightning, so why are you comparing them?
    1. sekazi's Avatar
      sekazi -
      Quote Originally Posted by jmel42 View Post
      I almost always keep my iPhone on the Edge connection to save battery life. Today I tried holding my phone the way everyone does to see if I lose bars. When in Edge this doesn't happen on my phone. If I go into 3G it happens. Has anyone else noticed this?

      I think the Edge antenna is on the right side so I tried holding it in my right hand the same way. No matter which hand it's in I don't lose any bars. It's only in 3G that it happens.
      I tried it at home and I think you are right but I will try somewhere else to be completely sure. The Edge network around here has some poor signal no matter the phone you use. The 3G would drop 2-3 bars while Edge did nothing here.