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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001


While Apple's iPhone 4 signal loss issues have been receiving significant attention since the device's launch late last month, a number of other problems have been seeing sporadic reports, and one of the most prevalent of late has been problems with the device's proximity sensors designed to sense when the phone is held up to the user's face and deactivate the device's screen, thus preventing unintended activation of buttons on the display.

Noted early on, the topic has received considerable attention on Apple's support discussions and in our own forums (1, 2, 3), with users reporting either that the proximity sensors fail to turn off the display during calls, resulting in unintended hangups and other actions, or that the sensors failed to turn the display back on after a call, resulting in a black screen.

Macworld has summarized the effort of those seeking to address the issue, with some users reporting success with resetting some of their iPhone's settings.
Many affected users report that either a Settings reset or a hard reboot fixes their problem. One Apple support thread recommends that users open the Settings app, then go to General -> Reset, and choose "All Settings" at the top (note: this will not erase your apps, media, or other data -- that's what the "Erase All Content and Settings" button just below this option is for. "Reset All Settings" just reverts any Settings preferences you've customized back to their factory defaults). One Twitter follower, Brian Partridge, reported that AppleCare told him to just use Reset -> Reset Network Settings, not all settings, and it worked.
While many users have reported being unable to replicate the issue, suggesting that it may not be a universal fault, a significant number of users are experiencing proximity sensor-related problems. Apple has yet to comment on the issue, and it is unclear whether it is a hardware or software problem, although the majority of observers are leaning toward the software explanation. If so, users can hold out hope that a simple software update, such as that planned for the signal strength issue in the next few weeks, may be able to fix the issue.

Article Link: Users Continue to Experience Problems With iPhone 4 Proximity Sensors


macrumors 6502
May 20, 2010
Jesus, one gets the feeling Apple really rushed the iPhone 4 out of China's factory without any proper testing.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 25, 2007
In ur GF's bed, Oh no he didn't!
LOL, was playing with the iPhone 4 yesterday at the 14th street Apple store and the thing is a POS. No offense, but I was trying to do facetime and the phone literally crashed in my friends hands immediately.


macrumors member
May 1, 2010
LOL, was playing with the iPhone 4 yesterday at the 14th street Apple store and the thing is a POS. No offense, but I was trying to do facetime and the phone literally crashed in my friends hands immediately.

Yup. And during the keynote Jobs kept saying "I swear, it never freezes up like this...."


macrumors member
Oct 3, 2009
Los Angeles, CA
I was using and playing with my cousins iphone4 yesterday for a lengthy period of time and really had no issues with the sensor...

Still waiting for my white one and hopefully they will have all the "kinks" sorted out soon!



macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2010
Sacramento, CA
had this problem many times to were when i would try to hang up i would be in my address book or trying to activate facetime.. so yeah its a problem..

so now the prox senser is bad, reception issues, wiggly home button...
any body has n e thing else for the list LOl.. :p


macrumors newbie
Jul 5, 2007

I've been having signal issues as well. I had the previous iPhone and didn't have the problems. So that must tell you something.

I hope this problem gets resolved.




macrumors newbie
Jun 19, 2007
Possible explanation-- a case that interferes

I have a customer whose iPhone 3GS's proximity sensor worked in reverse: he'd put the phone up to his head and the phone would light up, meaning his ear would touch the screen and end the call, or mute it, etc. When he pulled the phone back down away from his ear it would go dark! Totally the opposite of how it is supposed to work.

We took the phone out of its case (a leather one) and it worked fine! Put my iPhone 3GS into his case and had the same problem. Put his back into his case and the problem came back. Put his into my case and his problem went away.

We got out the scissors and modified his case up at the top, where the proximity sensor is, and it worked fine.

I know we're talking about the iPhone 4 and not the 3GS but it seems to me that a case that blocks the proximity sensor could be the problem for any iPhone.

Advice: if you're using a case, and you're having problems with the proximity sensor, take the case off and see if it's still a problem.


macrumors member
Apr 14, 2010
never had a problem with the sensor I know 3 people who own a iPhone4 and none of them had the issue.


macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2006
I've had this issue since i've bought it. It hangs up, dials other contacts in my address book, opens apps. It's a huge PITA. I had it hang out 4 times on one friend while was talking to him for like 20 minutes.

I'd just heard about this settings reset. I'll try that and see if it works.


macrumors 68030
Jul 19, 2002
I haven't had the proximity issue. But discussing it with others who have and reading about it, it appears to be a software issue that was caused by backing up from a previous phone/image. The Reset Settings followed by a couple of reboots seems to cure the issue.

Or you could just hold the phone upside down in the right hand and it works properly... j/k


macrumors member
May 23, 2007
Well I definitely have a proximity sensor problem.

About 1/4 of my calls are effected by this... sometimes speakerphone will activate, other times it will start browsing contacts... and best of all - sometimes it just hangs up. I could through it through the wall sometimes.


macrumors regular
Jan 25, 2009
I have lucked out with the suppossed antenna problems in fact I get better reception with my 4 than I ever did with 3GS, HOWEVE, prox. sensor is a different story I have had major issues with turning on speaker phone an hitting numbers while talking, that being said it only happens when I hold the phone between shoulder and face (redneck hands free lol) so I would suspect (and hope) that this is a simple sensitivity issue that can be fixed with a software update. I love my iPhone 4 it has been a major step up from 3GS but I do agree that Apple rushed the production of this phone, with no doubt in my mind because of all the leaked reports of it.


macrumors member
Oct 26, 2007
Western North Carolina
I noticed the problem today during a long call. First I accidentally turned on face time then accidentally hit the end button with my face. Looks like I have both problems. I definitely have the reception problem. I'm going to get a bumper to help protect it/fix the reception issue, but the proximity sensor is a pain. Then again, I had some problems with it on my 1st gen phone too. Maybe my face doesn't know how to properly touch a phone. :rolleyes:


macrumors newbie
Jul 2, 2010
Glad to see I'm not the only person with this problem. Hope it gets fixed soon :mad:


macrumors 603
Feb 3, 2008
Essex (UK)
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2; en-gb; Nexus One Build/FRF91) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1)

dlastmango said:
Advice: if you're using a case, and you're having problems with the proximity sensor, take the case off and see if it's still a problem.
but if you take the case off the signal will drop and you can't make the call???

Just don't hold it like that.....

(Goes in circles)

I jest! :p
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