Clearing up the main iPhone 4 issues

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by andy9l, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    There's been thread after thread here each day asking the same questions; so I thought I'd post a topic which clears up and clearly explains the iPhone (i4) problems in hope that people can refer to this instead of posting another. It'll be blunt and to the point; well, you came here for honesty, right? If you feel I've posted anything misleading, please mention it - politely! :)

    The 3 'most complained about' problems:
    1. The infamous antenna
    2. The 'green blob'
    3. Proximity sensor issues

    The answers, and the truth about each:

    Problem 1 - The infamous antenna:
    Undoubtedly the most complained about 'problem' the new i4 suffers from. Very briefly, holding the bottom left corner of the phone causes a dramatic signal loss - sometimes taking full 3G signal to 'No service'. Yes, it's as bad as 'they say it is', and yes (almost?) everyone suffers from it. Now, when I say everyone, I'm including those people who don't believe that they suffer from it. Supposedly less than 7% of iPhones do not suffer from it. I for one do not experience the issue purely because I don't hold the phone (naturally) in the left corner. Experiencing the issue during normal use and your i4 suffering from the issue are completely separate things - a lot of people don't seem to understand this. I am personally yet to see first-hand, solid evidence that there are i4's out there which do not suffer from this problem. Different geographical areas/original signal strengths have an effect on how badly the signal drop occurs; but it exists - it's a fundamental design flaw.

    The 'upcoming software update';
    The upcoming software update will not, I repeat will not fix the problem. This update is to adjust the way the iPhone displays bars, which may make the signal appear to drop less significantly under certain conditions. The actual issue is caused by a design flaw which cannot be fixed by software updates.

    The solution;
    You could try waiting a few weeks/months to see if Apple slyly apply some form of non-conductive layer over the problematic area on new batches of i4's. As it currently stands, your choices are; a £25/$29 Apple bumper (or any similar case), an iPhone 3GS or an alternative phone altogether. End of.

    Problem 2 - The 'green blob'(!):
    Strange as this may sound, it's one of the most complained about 'problems' with the i4. If your phone suffers from this issue, in the centre(er) of any photos you've taken with the phone, you will notice a fairly obvious green tint.

    The solution;
    Take it back to an Apple store, explain the problem and test the replacement i4(s) in the store to avoid repeated journeys. Problem solved! Fortunately, this is an issue I haven't (yet?!) experienced.

    Problem 3 - Proximity Sensor issue
    A fairly self explanatory problem. The proximity sensors on the i4 seem to enable the screen when moved even slightly away from one's face. The user is then likely to inadvertently press buttons with their cheek/ear causing very random actions to be carried out on the phone mid-call - sometimes with the user completely unaware. An annoyance more than anything.

    The solution;
    Try to keep it close to your face. I have faith in this being fixed within a software update since it's the software deciding to enable the phone; the sensors just provide the software with data to decide from upon request. I've not personally experienced this issue either, but I naturally push the phone to my face with my index and middle fingers on the back of the phone when talking.

    A quick conclusion:
    The i4 has suffered a lot of abuse from huge media corporations and, perhaps more importantly, the public. Regardless of whether or not Apple should've stuck with an internal antenna, what's done is done, and the i4 is on the shelves in this state. They've admitted to the problem, and AppleCare have admitted that they can't fix it. You can either live with it, or you buy a different mobile. It really is that simple at present. I'm sure in the near future, someone somewhere will come up with a viable solution (maybe even Apple) - but it's going to be a physical component, not a software update. It's disappointing from Apple, but they're even getting good at that now.

    The i4 has its flaws, but in my honest opinion (owner of one for 4 days), it's one of the best pieces of kit I've ever used. If you're lucky enough to naturally avoid holding the antenna (bottom left corner specifically), I would strongly suggest getting yourself one of these new toys. You have 30 days grace upon purchase, so bare that in mind if you want to give one a try. If you don't like it, return it, or perhaps check out eBay for a nice profit.

    Best of luck to all of you suffering from any issues.

    Kindest regards,
  2. quagmire macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    A problem which the Nexus One has, Evo 4G has, older iPhones have, my moms dumbphone has, etc when you cover the antenna.

    As to the software update, all the update will do is show you what your actual signal strength is. The current formula Apple uses artificially tells you that you have 5 bars when you are in an area where you don't really have 5 bars.
  3. blazer deli macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2006
    Way too many compromises.

    Just cancelled my order.
  4. pcguru83 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    This is pretty much the exact opposite of the conclusion reached in the thread discussing this issue. Quite a few have tested multiple units (or even had multiple iPhone 4 units replaced, only to see the same problem in every single one.

    This seems to be a common problem with a lot of cellphone cameras. Pictures showing the problem in the Nexus One and a Samsung phone (Omnia?) were posted and/or linked to.
  5. UCLAKoolman macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    You never had an order. If you did, you're pretty stupid to cancel it. Even with these so called "compromises" the iPhone 4 is rated better than any other smartphone on the market.
  6. andy9l thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    Indeed, only nowhere near as extreme in almost all cases I think you'll find. The i4 has attenuation levels up to 10 times that of other phones. It's a real problem, face it.

    Thanks for re-iterating in more depth :)
  7. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Especially when you have Apple waiving the restocking fee, so you get 30 days to try it at no risk.
  8. quagmire macrumors 603


    Apr 19, 2004
    This video seems to disagree with the Nexus One. The only phone I could find to show db. This Nexus One is showing a drop from -77 db to -101 db and then drops to EDGE. That is roughly in line of the 24 db( at worst) drop that anandtech shown on the iPhone 4. Even Anandtech's Nexus One was close to the iPhone 4.
  9. insidmal macrumors 6502


    Jun 24, 2010
    what's the point of this thread? it's like the first 6 pages of threads all rolled into one with fancy formatting.. not sure what the point is.. can anyone inform me? thx
  10. brayhite macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    N. Kentucky
    Ah, internet sarcasm at it's finest.

    Anyway, nice post OP. Not sure if it's worth being stickied or if anyone will actually take note, but it's nice to have all major discussions/concerns explained and generally answered here.

    My only qualm would be that I was under the impression that the green blob came from use under fluorescent lighting? I have a greenish/blue blob on a picture that I took at work where we have fluorescent lighting, but not a picture taken of my closet with the flash on.
  11. Torq macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    There may be broader white-balance issues on the iPhone 4 camera software, but the green spot is related to flourescent lighting. I can reproduce it under flourescent/CFL and and FL-lit LCD situations. Any other form of lighting there might be a color-cast, but there is no spot.

    And I can reproduce the same effect on other phones (some far worse/whole frame), all the way back to an HTC Tilt and it was evident on my Evo 4G as well.

    I've tried to reproduce the issues with the proximity sensor and can't. I'm not suggesting it isn't an issue, but it isn't for me. Whether that's down to a hardware defect or some processing in software I have no idea. Could be either, but it works fine for me.

    On the antenna, I've designed RF antenna systems in the past and can easily see that there is an issue here. I can make my bars drop ... but even if I only start with one bar I cannot get the phone to drop a call (so far).

    In fact the iPhone 4 is holding calls in places that my prior 3GS and the Evo 4G consistently and instantly dropped calls. Hell, my 3Gs would drop calls walking out of my office and into the next room. The iP4? No dropped calls so far.


    If I'd designed the iPhone 4 antenna system I'd have had a vari-cap in the tuning circuit to compensate for various detuning effects. And either by simple analog feedback, or under software control (not exactly hard), had it compensate for detuning.

    No idea if the iPhone 4 antenna has such a compensatory circuit but if it does, and if it is software controlled, you'd be surprised what a software fix can do. You know, assuming it also has the range of adjustment necessary.
  12. xmtgx macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2010

    Two issues here, while software updates will never entirely fix the attenuation there is no proof that they can not help with the issues people are having, no one besides the people who work on there BB code truly know if there is anything that can be done to help. Anything else is pure speculation.

    The other being that the "green blob" is caused by the lighting in the area and the camera's inability to process it correctly. This is an issue on most mobile phone cameras.
  13. Sean4123 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2009
    Well that was stupid of you. If you regularly use cases on your phones for protection, it was even stupider. I love it when I talk to people about the reception issue, and see that they have a case on their current iPhone. I then mention that with a case, the problem is literally non-existant, and that the iP4 gets BETTER reception with a case then any other iPhone. People are nuts.
  14. andy9l thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    To answer you with my original post:

    Apparently so but, whilst writing the topic, I took about 15-20 photos in completely different lighting conditions to try to replicate it. I couldn't. You may well be correct but I, myself, could not find solid evidence that lighting is to blame, so I didn't post it. Well worth mentioning though, thanks :)

    Works well for me too, as mentioned in the original post. It's still one of the most complained about problems here and at Apple discussions.

    Once again (read my original post again); experiencing the problem and your i4 suffering from the problem are separate things. I mentioned in my original post that my i4 has never dropped a call; but this is purely due to the way I naturally hold it. Death gripping my i4 has a clear, extreme effect to the signal which cannot be shrugged off with 'all phones do this, hold it different'.

    As I said in my first post, the update will give the i4 a more accurate signal display - which may, in some circumstances/conditions, make the problem appear to have been fixed. The problem will always exist on naked i4's.

    Regarding your camera comment. Why is it relevant that other phones suffer from the problem? Does that mean that the i4 doesn't? That would be like designing a car with square wheels then you (a fanboy of the company) fighting for its design purely because you heard that an Aston Martin got a puncture once.

    I'm a web designer & developer. My apologies if my formatting offends you, I do it naturally.
  15. myuserid08 macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    I disagree, the iPhone software isn't switching between frequencies correctly (if at all), the update is supposedly going to fix this bug - hence why some experience the signal drop and some don't.
  16. JD914 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    Dutchess County NY
    apple and thier puppet reviewers like Walt Mossberg gave it those exagerrated "ratings".
  17. -A-P-M- macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2010
    B.S... N1 or Evo don't lost reception that much. I haven't seen any phone which would loose half as much as iPhone 4 when you cover the antenna.
  18. BigGarb macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2004
    The "green blob" wasn't on my iPhone 3G (nor do I think it was present on any other version of the iPhone) so it makes no sense why a phone from the same company would have such an issue. Plus, I expect better from Apple.

    Having said that, this looks to be more of a software issue in the imaging process since the both the front and back cameras are affected.
  19. TroyBoy30 macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2009
    Atlanta GA
    thanks, you said everything for me!

    bars do not drop more than 1 bar for me no matter what signal area I am in, so I must be in that 7%

    I also hold calls in places where I used to drop them every time!

    green blob is a fluorescent/CFL lighting issue. quit taking pics of white paper under fluorescence and you will never see it!

    prox sensor works great for me.
  20. Sir Ruben macrumors 65816

    Sir Ruben

    Jul 3, 2010
    Thanks for an informed post OP but this will do little to stem the flow of repeat posts that the modes seem to do very little to control by simply creating a sub forum for problems.

    In fact by creating to this topic you have just added another one :D
  21. WhySoSerious macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    LOL.....i agree.

    Some people just want to try and act/look like an authoritative figure and compose message posts to garnish multiple replies and bump their thread to the top of the pile in an attempt to gain forum "popularity". That's his real objective. Because quite frankly....everything stated in the OP has already been posted, and i kid you not, more than 50 time for each issue by other people.

    He just wants attention. 'nuff said
  22. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    geewhiz, a master thread that is as hilarious as it is informative and factual, with bits of lulz interspersed as if it were some sort of concoction one could conjure up from the limitless "mix-ins" at cold stone creamery.
  23. UCF-ENG macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2010
    How do you figure? Apple didn't mention this at all in their press release, is this just your hope? Are you hoping that the software update will also magically redesign your phone? Fixing the signal display algorithm should be relatively easy, and since they have know about this since before the phone was released (meantioned in Mossbergs review), the should have had an update out by now. To the observer it appears that Apple is in over their head, is undermanned, overwhelmed, or a combination thereof. As a user that is frustrating. I see that they are hiring new people (new atenna engineers, iTunes security specialist,etc.) but these people should be in place already. Apple needs to hire more software engineers too. They are taking way too long to add fundamental features to the OS and the platform is really starting to fall back into the pack.

    BTW, OP, great post summarizes everything quite nice...
  24. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    Weill unfortunately for the OP (and keeping in mind that I'm not objecting to you creating a new thread per se) - this thread won't solve the "message board issue" as it's now just another thread. But in my mind a little worse. Because now you have people discussing all three "issues" going back and forth. If I was a person looking for information about my camera - or sensor or antenna - I would go to a thread specific to that problem. To wade through several posts to gleam off what I could here and there would be frustrating - and more so when the thread gets long

    my .02
  25. andy9l thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    Brilliant. People complain about the number of threads - I make a thread to try to narrow it down, and then some abusive, batman obsessed child comes along with a dictionary.

    Oh, and if I wanted forum popularity do you not think I would have posted more in my year of membership? It's not as important to others as it is you, we have other things to live for my friend.

    The number of people accepting the thread and participating in a decent discussion outweighs the younger, more obnoxious members. Just leave, put a batman DVD on or something.

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