iPhone 3GS constantly loses network registration (picture)


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 12, 2011
I've searched and read countless threads about similar problems, but none seem to be quite what I'm experiencing, so I'm hoping someone else has seen the same thing and can help me out.

My phone (3GS, ios4.3.3) willl go from 4 or 5 bars down to one tiny bar and lose the network registration altogether ("AT&T 3G" descriptor goes away - see pics). Then eventually it goes into signal search mode, and then (usually) finds it and connects back to the 4 or 5 bars.

This happens dozens of times a day - with no consistent pattern. Happens at work (downtown seattle), at home (suburb of seattle), on work trips (San Francisco, Chicago), while holding it, and while it's sitting on my desk, on 3G or EDGE only.

I can't pinpoint when it started, but it seems to be around the time I upgraded to 4.3.3. I haven't dropped it or anything, and I don't think it's a network issue since my wife's 3GS works fine in the same places. Took it to an Apple store, and despite being out of warranty, the genius tried all forms of resetting, but nothing has helped.

Any thoughts?? Thanks in advance. -Mike


Last edited:


macrumors 68030
Dec 24, 2010
Winnipeg, MB

I'm going to revive your thread because I'm having the exact same issue with my 2-month-old White iPhone 4. I've tried to reset network settings, a restore from backup, restore without backup, and even a DFU restore without backup.

I'm running the latest 4.3.5 with no jailbreaks. Anecdotally, I think this issue is what might be causing my battery to drain from full to empty in under 12 hours. (Or maybe battery issue is causing signal attenutation?)

Does anyone have any ideas? I'm going to try the Apple Store this weekend, but was hoping for other remedies before making the over-hour drive to it.


macrumors P6
Jun 19, 2009
Where bunnies are welcome.
Searching for a signal is one of the biggest battery drainers, so that is definitely why your battery is draining fast.

Since you’re done all that you can, it sounds like a hardware issue (e.g., bad antenna). I’d just take it back and get a new one.

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