iPhone 4 vs 3GS (Signal Issue: Proof it's iOS 4 - as i compare 3.0) - My Video

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by AndyDel, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. AndyDel macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2009
    Thought i'd make a video to illustrate the reception issue is pretty evident on the iPhone 3GS, also showing the differences between 3.0 and iOS 4 as i hadn't updated my iPhone 3GS.

    I honestly believe this is a pure software issue, which is exacerbating a common issue found with all mobile phones.

    Heres my video, see what u think.

  2. AndyDel thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2009
    tbh - i'm still quite shocked that Apple missed this in QA.
  3. BobboZR2 macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2008
    I'm glad you made this video since I've been wondering whether or not it was iOS4 that was mainly to blame. Now it's fairly obvious that it is. It is much more scientific from a testing standpoint. Nice work.

    While I'm not doubting a lot of people are having reception issues, I'm confident that an update to iOS4 will address most of them.
  4. BobboZR2 macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2008
    Perhaps during testing the gorilla-grip wasn't the rage.
  5. AndyDel thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2009
    Cheers bud - i wasn't sure what would happen when i updated it to iOS 4.. But was very surprised how quickly the signal would drop after the update, which is why i kept doing it to show it was consistant.
  6. rye9 macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2005
    New York (not NYC)
    I also believe it's somewhat a software issue... my old iPhone 3G which I gave to my brother, updated with iOS 4.0, is exhibiting a much weaker signal than before... so I'm sure the antenna has some to do with it, but software is definitely playing a part here.
  7. Stangs55 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2007
    The Lone Star State
    Good video, but I you missed a big test that I'd like to see.

    Yes, any iPhone will get degraded signal when you palm the antenna. What makes the iP4 so different is that a single finger on the bottom left black strip will crush your signal, whereas it will not on the 3GS.

    It would be great to see you testing this with a finger...which is actually a bigger issue for me and (I'd imagine) most people as we rarely palm a phone to talk...but when I hold the phone to my ear, the natural position of my pinky is directly over the black stripe.

    Take a look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNmXrVNeGzs&feature=player_embedded
  8. AndyDel thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2009
  9. Modacke macrumors member


    Jan 6, 2009
    Actually no it is not he software I did a test with two iPhone 3GS one with 4.0 and one with 3.1.3 and found that BOTH when gripped tight loose reception I posted the video on YouTube and it is processing. I will post a link when ready! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8wot7o9LHU
  10. jb007clone macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2006
  11. AndyDel thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2009
    You obviously haven't watched my video - it's pretty obvious that 4.0 causes the problem to increase.

    All mobile phones (Some worse than others, Nexus One is an example of one affected) will be affected by your hand - it's just iOS 4 makes it worse.. Becomes a bigger problem.
  12. Modacke macrumors member


    Jan 6, 2009
    Well actually I did, and it was a very good test. However in my video it shows that software wise iOS 4 does no more bad then iOS 3. Both phones loose reception when gripped tightly, because it is interfering with the antenna. However this problem is magnified on the iPhone 4 because the antenna is actually on the surface of the phone and there is direct contact!
  13. kopite19 macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2010
    To be fair, Andy wasn't gripping the phone "tightly"..he seemed to just be holding it as you normally would for web browsing (particularly if you're a lefty).

    I'd be interested in seeing what happens to the signal with your finger placed directly opposite the GSM antenna in the 3GS. I'd try it myself, but don't have any other working sims and no adapter for my micro-sim..
  14. pcorrado macrumors 6502

    May 21, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    I posted this in another thread but it may add to this discussion - here is my assessment, for what its worth - which is probably nothing -

    I have been trying to think about this thing logically - once of I got over the fact that my new "superphone" was dropping nearly every call I made from home - and I have a theory about whats going on (maybe just wishful thinking!)

    First I figure there are at least three truths that I think we can all agree upon:

    1) All cellphones suffer some sort of signal loss when held - the nature of antennas is simple - block it and reception becomes weaker. Although, not all cellphones may show a drop in bars and this could be based upon location and also upon the software the phone uses in determine the bars - my understanding is that signal strength is measured in -dB and the closer to 0 the stronger the signal, however, there is no set rule that says -50 dB equals 5 bars, what measurement equals what number of bars displayed is determined by the cellphone maker. In other words, an LG phone may not show any loss of bars when held but may still be receiving a weaker signal.

    2) Apple designed the iPhone 4 to have part of the case act as the antenna thereby putting the antenna in direct contact with a human being when the phone is held. Logically speaking this would result in an exaggeration of the problem listed in 1 above - of course I would defer to an electrical engineers opinion on this.

    3) It has been stated, and probably is true, that Apple redesigned the modem software in iOS 4 such that the phone favors connection with less noise over a connection that may have a stronger signal. (Walt Mossberg's review discusses this)

    When considering the the three things above - I really begin to think we have both a hardware and software problem. Hardware wise, the antenna is placed in a less than preferable location for left handed holding resulting in a stronger than normal signal loss when holding the phone in the left hand but second Apple designed the phone to favor less congested towers meaning that if there are two towers in range of your phone, towers A and B. If Tower A is 100 feet away with a very strong signal close to 0dB but is 50% more congested than Tower B which is 1000 feet but offers a weaker signal - the iPhone will choose Tower B. So if the phone is already choosing a weaker signal to connect too than holding the phone will only make it more difficult to receive that weaker signal, resulting in signal loss and drop calls/call quality/data performance.

    I feel that when considering the software element, it also explain why the truth explained in 1 above is not nearly as noticeable in other brands of phones (or even some iPhone before iOS4) since those phones likely favor strong signals vs. less congested. In addition, it also explains why in some areas, less congested areas with more towers or more congested areas with even more towers, the phone performs the same if not better than previous models - at least in my experience. It also explains how in testing the problem either wasn't noticed or didn't seem to be a big issue since Apple likely only tested the phone in one region.

    Of course this is not meant to excuse Apple for a problematic design, nor excuse Jobs arrogance, but simply stated if software does come into play with the problem - the extent that the hardware is flawed can only be determined once the software is fixed - then we need to demand a recall, redesign, or some sort of retribution.
  15. realeric macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2009
    United States
    +1. My iPhone 3GS updated with iOS4 has the same issue with OP. I have reproduced it with iPhone 4(4.0), iPhone 3GS(3.1.3), iPhone 3GS(4.0) on the AT&T 3G network. I'm sure iOS 4.0.1 update will fix the iPhone 4 antenna issue. :)
  16. shawntkeating macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2010
    This confirms my tests as well.

    Thank you for taking it back to 3.0 software.

    I have been wondering about that.
  17. ClutchThese macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2010
    Alexandria, VA
    for the guy who still thinks it is hardware...stop posting...youre not an EE.

    You don't understand antenna theory or electrical theory. You are mearly stuck in a make believe world where everything revolves around your thoughts...What makes this unfortunate is...your thoughts are wrong.

  18. P1991 macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2010
    The Nexus One also had reception issues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEIA_lMwqJA when it was launched, the nexus one's reception was also solved by a software update. So I think iOS 4.0.1 update should address the iPhones signal problems.
  19. dagomike macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    OK, but why does the iPhone 4 drop calls while the 3GS doesn't? If it was just a software issue, I'd expect iOS 4 devices to behave similarly.
  20. gloss macrumors 601


    May 9, 2006
    Take a look at the video again. His 3GS on 4.0 drops signal entirely. It loses 3G, EDGE, even GPRS. I'm sure he could have had a call running and it would have dropped in that situation.
  21. ashVID macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2007
    I'm tired of all the posts "proving" things. First off, thanks OP but your test is not really relevant. Different providers in a different country than many. I could post a test that would "prove" just the opposite. I'm happy to but it's not needed. My 3GS running IOS4 is nearly unaffected with a death grip while my iP4, when BARELY TOUCHED on the lower left (normal use the way most people hold it) will drop from 5 bars to 1 and my voice started to drop out within a minute. On long calls (more than 15 minutes) I will get a drop.

    Post whatever video you want, it doesn't "prove" ANYTHING but how the phone(s) are performing for anyone but YOU at YOUR location.

    Firmware, software, hardware or all 3, there is an issue with signal and it's worse than most phones in the class, period, endstop. Can it be fixed? Probably. Let's see.

    ash =o)
  22. aforty macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Good video, thanks for that.

    I think what it comes down to is that every cellphone has certain issues with reception when held in such a way where the antenna is close to your hand. It is obviously a problem on the 3GS and and still is on iPhone 4 as well. The difference is that the iOS4 software probably tweaks the sensitivity of the signal in such a way where it incorrectly drops all the bars when in fact one still has a signal. Apple will fix this soon.
  23. dagomike macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    I've been using the 3GS on iOS 4 for over a month. No problems or change in call quality/service. iPhone 4 is drop call city. I don't care what the bars say. The bars may or may not represent what's happening, but a drop call is a drop call.
  24. Revelation78 macrumors 68000


    Dec 18, 2008
    North Carolina
    According to you everyone posting videos of their iPhone 4 losing signal by holding it are in a similar state are in their own make-believe world. So either your post is worthless or you need to post the exact same thing for all of the people with iPhone 4 signal issues.


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