This Works - Improving Signal 3GS

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by fjafri, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. fjafri macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2009
    I don't know if this applies to the 3G model as well but I have discovered what appears to be a very fundamental design flaw. Ever since I bought the 3GS I noticed that the signal strength fluctuated, frequently fluctuating between a full 5 bars and a 1 bar or nothing. I tried to find the answer to this problem on various forums with some weird explanations like attaching a USB cable or a scotch tape to the sim. Nothing I tried improved this. I noticed that it seems to drop just when you made a call and recovered immediately after the call.

    This made me wonder if it had anything to do with how the phone was being held. Some users were saying that two identical units would report different signal strengths at the same location in the same network.

    Anyway after a lot of experimenting I discovered that the iPhone 3GS appears to be extremely sensitive to being held on the lower 1/3rd part of the handset. Holding the phone in the top half recovers a full signal within a few seconds (15/20 secs)!!!!

    You can try this yourself. Putting the phone down on the table or picking it ensuring the bottom half remains uncovered seems to work. Covering the bottom half starts to drop the signal.

    The design flaw is that the receiving antenna should be placed at the top of the phone which is least likely to be covered when held. Either way it's a flaw that Apple should recognize and fix. Other handhelds don't seem to suffer from this characteristic.
  2. BullittMustang macrumors 6502a

    Mar 27, 2008
    You are right! If I turn my phone upside down it goes from 0-1 bars to 4! Now if we can figure out a way to use our phones upside down all will be good.
  3. fleeper macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2008
    Easy to do. I do it all the time. I use my earbuds.
  4. MooneyFlyer macrumors 65816


    Nov 18, 2007
    This is actually pretty typical for mobile phones. After all, there are multiple antennas in this phone (3G, edge, Wi-fi, BT, etc.) The analog portions of electronics are one of the features that cannot be shrunk as easily as the digital features. Since they work on different frequencies they need to have multiple antennas (frequency/etc. drives antenna length). And, what ends up being the biggest challenge is having no external antenna at all and packing them in there where a) they fit and b) they still work. So, while I do not question your work around, I wouldn't necessarily call it a design flaw. Many phones have [at least] one antenna at the bottom.
  5. fjafri thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2009
    Is it a design flaw?

    I think the flaw is in that the signal can go between 5 bars and none when the antenna is covered. When calls are made the bottom of the phone is securely held while the top is held close the the ear. If the antenna was therefore at the top things might have been different. I agree that internal antennas would all suffer from this to some extent but the iPhone problem is really excessively bad. The time you need a signal most ie. during a call is when this problem manifests the worse!

    Having said this, it is funny how once we know of a problem we make the necessary minor adjustments. I am getting a good 4/5 bars consistently now just by taking car holding the phone...
  6. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    i dont touch the back of the phone when using my 3gs. i only touch the side area, just like the advertisement shows.

  7. davew22 macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2009
    This all stems back to the cell phone manufacturers trying to get the RF radiation as far away from you brain as possible, putting the antenna at the bottom is the logical choice.

Share This Page