Does a Replacement iPhone 4 Metal Back Cover disrupt service?!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by kdesign7, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. kdesign7 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 1, 2010
    earth, for now.
    The title pretty much asks the question I am wondering.

    NewYearsEve...sad night. Dropped my iPhone 4, shattered the back glass. Tears were present.

    I went to and purchased 3 replacement backs, at a wonderful price. I purchased this back case - and also in Blue.



    The cases themselves are great! They look great, they feel solid and they really do fit amazingly on the back of the iPhone 4.

    What I've noticed is this - when I replaced the back with the Metal backing, my service bars dropped and don't really change much. When I take the back off, the service comes back?! But the strange thing is... When I use another back, the CarbonFiber back case, everything works well!


    I've done several 'tests' to determine if I'm going crazy or not. I have the SpeedTest.Net app on my iPhone, and it's always worked accordingly.

    When I place either the Silver or Blue Metal back, it doesn't detect a network connection. When I use the Carbon Fiber, it detects and begins the test without issue.

    I thought... that.... the Cellular antenna was built into the band of the phone?! And doesn't need to penetrate the back of the phone?! Am I missing something....

    Could someone...anyone.. shed some light on this matter for me... because.. Im losing my cookies.
  2. DirtySocks85 macrumors 65816


    Mar 12, 2009
    Wichita, KS
    From everything I've read it should not (in theory) affect the signal. As you said, the antenna is in the band, so there shouldn't be any issues. The only thing I could theorize might be an issue is that somehow the metal on the back is altering the signal coming into the antenna either via direct contact or via your hand, but that sounds like a crackpot theory to me. I do believe there are companies that sell glass or plastic backs instead, you could give that a shot if you really think it's the metal back causing this.
  3. xavierpunkreno macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2010
    I had an aluminum back plate for awhile. No loss in signal. Coincidentally I also had no antennagate while it was on either. :D

    I had to remove it because after tampering it for a bit taking it on and off to try to clean my stuck power button, the plastic parts that hold the screws in got wider, and don't hold the screws in anymore. If/When you get this in the mail check to see if the part holding the screws in is metal like the stock plate or plastic. If it's plastic DO NOT mess around with it after you put it on. Also let me know if it's metal too because I may want to buy the blue one.

    EDIT: Didn't read all the way through to see that you actually have the case. But anyway, yeah are those parts plastic or metal? lol
  4. charlie.winston macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2011
    Did the test

    So I went ahead and tested reception with the standard black glass back, with the tungsten back, and with no back at all. Results were conclusive; the difference between the backs makes no difference for wifi reception, (within a standard deviation of each other), and for the cell data speed, the tungsten back showed significant improvement over the others.

    average over 32 tests* at each configuration:
    Tungsten back average speed (wifi/cell) :1350 kbps / 105 kbps
    Black** Glass back average speed (wifi/cell) : 1406 kbps/ 83 kbps
    No back average speed (wifi/cell) : 1302 kbps/ 59 kbps

    so obviously, message here is, metal backs do not hamper your data connection, they may actually increase it.

    *tests conducted in a basement laboratory at my university to establish a consistent signal. Also attests for the slow speed.
    **I'd love to run this test with a white iPhone 4. I get the feeling that the hold up for the white model was caused by signal attenuation.

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