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  • iPhone 4 Proximity Sensor Malfunctions Reported


    Increasing numbers of iPhone 4 users are reporting the touchscreen becoming active during phone calls when the proximity sensor would normally shut it off, leading to inadvertent button-presses. The reports are coming in with enough frequency and consistency to suspect a hardware or calibration issue with at least a particular subset of iPhones. No word from Apple yet.

    The iPhone's proximity sensor uses a small infrared LED and uses the reflection from nearby objects to deactivate the touchscreen when it's close to your head. If you hold it up to an iSight or other camera that can read near infrared light, you can usually just see the glow. The problem may be in how sensitive the detector is set to be on some phones or an actual problem with the detector. So far I haven't noticed it with my own phone, if I make a call and hold a finger in front of the sensor with my finger the screen deactivates out to about an inch away.

    An email from a MMi member this morning reported hearing keypress tones during calls, and in one instance his phone tried to initiate a FaceTime call while he had the iPhone to his head. There's an Apple Support thread with forty-one posts as of the time of this writing, most with similar reports. One user says the display activates when he rocks it from side to side.

    Anyone out there seeing this?
    This article was originally published in forum thread: iPhone 4 Proximity Sensor Malfunctions Reported started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 159 Comments
    1. neenyrules's Avatar
      neenyrules -
      Quote Originally Posted by irbe9 View Post
      i think it's just because people restore it from their old iPhone backups...
      when i went from my 2G to 3GS i also had random problems when i restored from the old backup but a fresh restore with setting it up as a new phone fixed everything :P
      But you lose all your app data and SMS database doing it that way dont you?

      I wouldnt be happy if i lost my Angry Birds progress lol
    1. Lprox5's Avatar
      Lprox5 -
      There is also a discussion going on at the Apple forums about the iPhone 4 battery.

      Apple - Support - Discussions - iP4 battery ...
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      I never knew it was supposed to turn off
    1. funkymillah's Avatar
      funkymillah -
      I have hung up on people on several occasions because of the faulty proximity sensor. It appears, they put the sensor right above the ear piece in this phone unlike (correct me if I am wrong) the iPhones where it was adjacent to the ear piece. Now you really have to press the phone's ear piece to your face for the screen to turn off.
    1. NArush's Avatar
      NArush -
      All the problems that are being reported, I'm experiencing:

      Same short battery life
      Antenna/reception problems when holding it "improperly" (what a joke)
      and the LED issue (this one gives me the biggest headache)

      Did they test the damn phone at all? That's freakin' embarrasing on Apple.
    1. Wez's Avatar
      Wez -
      Its an iOS4 with restore from backup problem. I had it on my 3Gs using iOS4 GM firmware... Start as a fresh iPhone then sync as normal youll be fine. :-) Took me a couple restores to figure out tho!! ha ha
    1. jibaro3's Avatar
      jibaro3 -
      I have the same problem two mute or facetime will try to activate
    1. kalel0607's Avatar
      kalel0607 -
      Not got my iPhone yet and glad I waited. Rather find out about the glitches before spending 600 on it.
    1. eortizr's Avatar
      eortizr -
      thats what you get for been the first to get the phone... you people are the guinea pigs.... the same happened with the EVO a lot of complaints... I 'll wait a couple of months...
    1. Cee3Pee0's Avatar
      Cee3Pee0 -
      I'm on a 3GS and as soon as I installed 4.0 with jb, my screen would go blank every time i held it to my face and it would not come back easily. I read here to reset all my setting and it WORKED! I tried resetting network settings and nothing, reset all settings worked great!

      anyone else having this problem go to settings>general>reset> reset all settings. Worked for me
    1. DeviantGeek's Avatar
      DeviantGeek -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cee3Pee0 View Post
      I'm on a 3GS and as soon as I installed 4.0 with jb, my screen would go blank every time i held it to my face and it would not come back easily. I read here to reset all my setting and it WORKED! I tried resetting network settings and nothing, reset all settings worked great!

      anyone else having this problem go to settings>general>reset> reset all settings. Worked for me
      i tried with limited success. It doesn't seem to ba as sensitive as before but the issue persists.
    1. pm_kennedy's Avatar
      pm_kennedy -
      Well, today I just got my 32gb i4. Was in and out of the store in 7 minutes. I'm fortunate enough to live near the largest Apple store in the U.S. So far no reception issues while holding it, and no yellow spots. Hope this proximity sensor issue stays away as well. This screen is frickin' amazing
    1. DJM AutoWerkz's Avatar
      DJM AutoWerkz -
      Same here my screen doesn't shutoff when on a call.
    1. gbarielmoreno's Avatar
      gbarielmoreno -
      My iPhone 4 works great. I'm lucky
    1. neenyrules's Avatar
      neenyrules -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wez View Post
      Its an iOS4 with restore from backup problem. I had it on my 3Gs using iOS4 GM firmware... Start as a fresh iPhone then sync as normal youll be fine. :-) Took me a couple restores to figure out tho!! ha ha
      Like i said in another post, dont you lose app data and SMSs by restoring as new and then syncing?
    1. logikfive's Avatar
      logikfive -
      I had this happen to me once when I made my first call w/ my iPhone 4. It actually hung up because I must have pressed "End Call" with my cheek. Haven't had it happen since though.
    1. NiteStar's Avatar
      NiteStar -
      To me this is good... I've had my phone off a full charge for 8 1/2 hours now. I've talked on the phone for about 2 1/2 hours and "played" around on the Internet for maybe 3 1/2 hours total during that time. Brightness at 50%. I'm at 12% battery life left. Seems good to me compared to my 3GS.

      But I guess none of that matters since apple is sending me another phone. Even after a fresh restore my screen would turn on and off while talking.
    1. l0k0's Avatar
      l0k0 -
      Wow and the Iphone 4 problems just keep on coming. Those of u that are holding off, u might wanna keep holding off until next June. Something tells me there will be alot of things fixed in the next release. And well of course as always, alot of things screwed up in the next release haha

      3GS 32GB unlocked, jailbroken on iOS4 and mine works perfect. So for sure its not the iOS4 causing it. As for the ole ladies Iphone 4, she put it on ebay and decided to use her other phone. Thats the first time i ever heard her cus over an Apple product. And its even funnier because i told her from the beginning that it wasnt worth getting until later.
    1. AlexCrammer's Avatar
      AlexCrammer -
      What's a proximity sensor?
    1. Imsorussian's Avatar
      Imsorussian -
      I agree with the sensor problem, speaker turns on but it doesnt bother me yet. Im sure apple will be patching that soon. Now does any one experiencing that iphone gets a little warmer than 3gs? Im using iphone 4 32gb. I think mine feels a little warmer than usual whether on the phone or surfing. I mean its not like im getting 2 degree burns here i dont thing there is any worries all thoug i wouldnt mind having an iphone 4 blow up in my face and maybe causing mild to moderate injury, then i would be almost as rich as great Mr Steve Jobs