Options please -- iPhone on the Fritz

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by mactastic, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Ok, so here's the deal. I'm still rocking the iPhone 3GS, but yesterday my kid reached into my pocket and managed to drag my phone out and cause it to land on it's corner on asphalt paving. Not good, since I carry my phone naked. A quick check at the time didn't indicate any trouble, the phone works just fine, except for one thing that I didn't discover until later: suddenly my cellular reception is terrible. Note that it's not that it doesn't work at all, just that I seem to need to be basically on top of a cell tower to get service. My guess so far is that an antenna connection was probably broken. I'm heading to a Genius Bar after work today to see if that can be confirmed, and what their repair prognosis is.

    In the meantime, I need a Plan B in case they can't get this phone working again at a reasonable cost. Obviously the simplest option is to exercise my option to get a new phone, since it's now been two years with this phone and I'm eligible for a subsidized upgrade. But I have been holding out for the new phone, which seems to be only a few months away. I have no desire to buy an iPhone 4 less than 3 months before new hardware is released.

    I've been looking around online for used 3g or 3GS hardware, but even those are going for $150+, which seems rather steep for 3 months worth of use. I don't care if it's unlocked, I just want something I can swap SIM cards with if I go this route.

    I could also go with a prepaid dumbphone, but if that's the case, I'd like suggestions on the cheapest route to go there.

    And as a final option, I could potentially even get a short-term or prepaid mifi setup if such a thing even exists. My wifi reception seems to be unaffected, and I could just use skype or icall or even google voice to get by for a while if this is even possible. I suspect the hardware cost alone would negate this as a viable option though.

    And if there are other options I'm not seeing, please let me know. I use my iPhone as both my primary home number, and my work phone, so it's not like I can just sit on this for 3 months and wait.

    Thanks in advance...
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If it's a work phone just replace it. Half-assing a solution is not advisable.
  3. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    I think you've got the idea. The only thing I can add is that Apple will swap your iPhone for $199. When the time comes to upgrade you can most likely sell your 3gs for close to that price making your total cost near zero.
  4. ylerT macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2011
    Las Vegas
    I'm willing to bet your antenna connection just came loose. The #7 (antenna) connection is very easily knocked loose. If they don't replace it at Apple, I'd recommend just popping it open to see if the connection is secure if you feel comfortable doing it. It's fairly easy and the connection is right there to check.
  5. ratzzo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2011
    Go to one of your carrier's retail store and get a provisional phone while you wait for the next gen iPhone would be my best advice. But before doing any of this, wait for the Genius's response on the subject, you might prefer what he'll offer.
  6. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    Agreed. However, if it’s not a work phone, you may have just caused the antenna connector to come loose, which can easily be fixed by reattaching if you’re careful about taking the phone apart. if it’s not that, then I wouldn’t bother trying to fix it, since it could be anything causing it (the mobo, the antenna, etc.).
  7. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Ok, so it was totally the antenna. Went to the Genius Bar last night, they wanted to restore my phone and set up as a new user. I said thanks, but no thanks; I'll take care of that myself. Got home, tried it, it didn't change a thing. Restored back to all my stuff. Considered opening it myself, but it was late by the time my multiple restores were done.

    Went back to the Genius Bar today at lunch, the guy popped the glass off my phone, and said the antenna cable was indeed disconnected. He snapped it back on, and I had my phone back in working order for no charge before my lunch break was even over.

    On a related note, I used the checkin function of the Apple Store app yesterday, and it worked nicely. I made an appointment from my phone at lunch, checked in when I got there, and got an alert to stop drooling on the Mac Pros and come see my Genius when they were ready. The store was otherwise insanely packed, so that was nice. It would have been nice if they had popped the glass right then, but I suppose you have to move through the troubleshooting tree diagram.

    Then today I didn't have a chance to make an appointment, because I didn't know if I was going to actually be free at lunchtime. So I walked in, and the Genius at the counter managed to fit me in while he was dealing with some poor schmuck who was asking him to help him get MobileMe to stop ****ing up his contacts. (When the Genius took my phone to the magic Back Room, I leaned over and told the other guy that his best troubleshooting tip with MobileMe and his contacts would be to wait until fall and cross his fingers that iCloud works the way it's supposed to.) There were like 10 Geniuses, all busy, and he still managed to work me in, and do physical work to my phone while helping the other guy.

    All in all, an excellent experience; and one that not only is rare, but contains components of good customer service that are largely unavailable at other retailers. Kudos to Apple. I've never had to actually USE the Genius Bar before (in large part thanks to these forums BTW), so it was nice to see how well it's been done.
  8. dudeabiding macrumors 6502


    Aug 24, 2009
    I've always had good luck at the Apple Store. They've fixed things, given good advice, replaced my older son's iPad (jailbroken) with no questions when the port went out. Gave me a new display on an iMac iSight Rev 3 one-and-a-half years out of warranty for free. Just all-around good service.

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