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Original poster
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Quite a few users have reported experiencing an issue with cellular signals appearing to degrade when holding the lower left portion of their iPhone 4s. While not all users have been able to reproduce the problem, it does seem to be fairly widespread, and can be easily visualized as users watch their bars indicating signal strength drop all the way down over a period of a few seconds while the lower left portion of the device is cupped in the hand.

In his iPhone 4 review for The Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg did note the device's tendency to show a lower number of signal strength bars than the iPhone 3GS, but that calls did continue to go through and Apple reported that the issue is simply a software issue with the display of the bars rather than an actual signal strength issue.

The cupping issue, however, may be more significant than just a software presentation issue, as several users have reported dropping calls as they place their hand over the lower left portion of the phone.

One user has posted a YouTube video demonstrating the issue and the use of a slide-on iPhone 3GS case to eliminate it.



Article Link: iPhone 4 Signal Strength Indicator Issue Alleviated by Use of Bumper or Case?
 

rockstarjoe

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2006
858
62
washington dc
I received my iPhone last night, and read about this issue this morning. I can easily reproduce it on my phone. I hope Apple makes some kind of statement about this today... hopefully there is a software fix available. Seems like a pretty dumb mistake if it is a design flaw.
 
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Microcuts

macrumors member
Aug 12, 2009
33
0
Can't this problem have something to do with statical electricity in your body intervening with the antenna?
 
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aelalfy

macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2010
563
0
Berlin, Germany
Can't this problem have something to do with statical electricity in your body intervening with the antenna?

Thats probably it and someone had already predicted this, when they introduced the new design. Its similar to what use to happen with external antennas.
 
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mainstreetmark

macrumors 68020
May 7, 2003
2,228
293
Saint Augustine, FL
This wasn't caught since Apple undoubtedly field-tested this iphone in cases, so that no one would spill the beans (which wound up being spilled all over the place anyways).

This same effect is what turns on and off those touchless lamps.
 
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Lord Vader

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2010
518
0
Death Star
Just buy a cheap bumper (who said you can buy only from Apple at 30$) and problem solved. You also will save back of a phone from scratching, because bumper will be touching the surface not the phone. If only all problems could be solved so easy ...
 
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CalebF

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2010
127
0
Boutvet Island
If this were a non-Apple phone, you'd be calling for the tar and feathers. lol

Glad I'm holding off a month or two (besides being in Canada) to buy one.
 
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CalebF

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2010
127
0
Boutvet Island
Just buy a cheap bumper (who said you can buy only from Apple at 30$) and problem solved. You also will save back of a phone from scratching, because bumper will be touching the surface not the phone. If only all problems could be solved so easy ...

But doesn't that also concede a design fail on Apple's part? And this additional $30 cost as "cheap"? Not to me.
 
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Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,216
1,607
My reception is 1-2 bars better than my 3GS on o2.

I have a bumper and it solves the issue.

Talking about the issue though I have found if my hands are dry it's fine it's when there clammy.
 
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tempusfugit

macrumors 65816
May 21, 2009
1,112
1
Chicago
Can't this problem have something to do with statical electricity in your body intervening with the antenna?

I've been thinking the same thing. Hopefully putting a bumper on so you don't touch the metal with your flesh it will help. Mine definitely has this problem and I'm not too worried. If it proves to be a huge non solvable issue apple and AT&T will basically have to give us new ones or refurbs. I'll be getting a white one if so.
 
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mobilehavoc

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2007
377
12
I've always carried all my phones without cases of any type with no issues - it feels good to hold the phone the ways the designers/engineers meant it to be. If the solution to this is you have to have a case, IMHO that's a huge blow against the iPhone.
 
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END3R

macrumors member
Jan 27, 2009
64
0
Can't this problem have something to do with statical electricity in your body intervening with the antenna?

My thoughts are similar to this. I wonder if it has to do with touching the two antennas on each side, being that our bodies are conductive and making a connection between the two antennas would cause this interference.

Just my thoughts.
 
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xtend

macrumors regular
Oct 14, 2009
169
0
thats ludicrous :mad:

i'm mots probably getting a bumper but i wanna use the phone also without at times...

unprotected just... feels better! why the nice steel then? would be useless (visually) buried under a bumper!

:apple:
 
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ouimetnick

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2008
3,099
4,294
Beverly, Massachusetts
Thats what must happen to Apple. Besides having AT&T towers at their HQ, they put the iPhone 4 in a case making it look like an iPhone 3GS, so they didn't detect that fault.
 
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Robbadore64

macrumors regular
Jan 7, 2008
242
0
Jacksonville, Florida
I don't have the problem (yet anyway) but I'll take a free bumper just in case. Would be crazy if they actually gave them away in response to the issue; would be admitting major FAIL. My guess is a software "fix" that if anything, made the bars disappear on the screen at a much slower rate ie. if it takes 3 minutes for a bar to vanish it will be much less noticeable to the average consumer.
 
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brand

macrumors 601
Oct 3, 2006
4,371
431
127.0.0.1
This same effect is what turns on and off those touchless lamps.

Wouldn't it be switchless lamp and not a touchless lamp? If it was a touchless lamp how would you turn it on without touching it? Maybe if I stare at it really hard the lamp will turn on.
 
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Lord Vader

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2010
518
0
Death Star
But doesn't that also concede a design fail on Apple's part? And this additional $30 cost as "cheap"? Not to me.

In my opinion it's a design flaw if all units are effected and that's not the case here. It simply could be a problem with assembly or some faulty materials. Time will tell i guess.
 
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teemast

macrumors newbie
Mar 6, 2008
23
0
Need to see more...

That You Tube vid is interesting...but it cuts off awfully fast at the end. In all the other YT vids you have to give it a few seconds to see if the bars go down. Still, even if a case -- or bumper -- is a "fix" Apple would have to give a lifetime supply on demand...or a $20 credit toward any other brand of case that comes out down the road. I can't believe though that they weren't more thorough in their pre-release testing. But the non-evaporated glue (staining issue) isn't too encouraging either, is it? Glad to hear the staining may not be an issue...but the fact that they didn't let the phones "cure" before packing them off is a bit -- make that MORE than a bit -- disconcerting. What next?
 
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