Who is really having iPhone 4 reception issues due to hand placement?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by apockalipse, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. apockalipse macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2008
    Who is actually having real reception issues (dropped calls or unable to access the network) and who is just seeing a decrease in the number of bars with no actual decrease in performance?

    I am trying to determine if the media is blowing this out of proportion as they often do on things like this.

    I have read many of the articles and seen many of the videos demonstrating this issue, but I am not convinced one way or the other that it is having a widespread impact on the actual performance of the phone.

    I live in an area with strong 3G coverage. I can reproduce the issue if I tightly wrap my left hand completely around the bottom of my phone. After about a minute 1 bar will drop. After another minute a second bar will drop. This continues until about 1-2 bars and after a let go, it restores to full strength. However, I experience no degraded performance or call quality in this situation even with 1 bar. I have run speed tests with full bars and one bar on the 3G network with pretty much the same results (sometimes it's even faster with 1 bar).

    To me, if the performance is good either way, I don't really care how many bars are displaying, so this is not an issue to me. I don't normally hold my phone with a death grip for minutes on end while using it so I don't expect this to be an issue in day to day normal use.

    All this makes me wonder if this is really as much of an issue as the media would have you believe or if people are just seeing the bars drop and freaking out.

    All that being said, Apple's first offical statement on the topic was incredibly stupid no matter what the problem or actual effect of this issue is. They shouldn't have just blown it off in such a flippant manner or used it as an opportunity to push one of their own accessories.
  2. apockalipse thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2008
    For people voting "Decreased bars and performance," I'd be curious to know if you had performance issues with previous phones as well.
  3. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A293 Safari/6531.22.7)

    A poll! What a novel idea.
  4. takufu01 macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2009
    No Big Issues

    I went out today with my new phone....I have a bumper on it....I got 5 bars most of the day....used my phone at lunch to browse the internet with no issues...I did notice the bars drop slightly...but over all maintained a solid to very good signal most of the day....not sure if the bumper is the reason or ATT strong signal in Philly area....but over all....very very happy with the signal strength....
  5. woosah macrumors regular


    Dec 27, 2007
    I voted for no issues, because up to now, I haven't had any. I did read another thread where it may depend on strength of service, so I'll pay more attention when out and about, but maybe the signal strength is strong in my area.
  6. lilmitchmitch macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2008
    My reception has been fine. At my house the bars typically fluctuate, but I've noticed that in past phones. I did notice today though that when I left work (in which I get no service) my phone had a hard time re-establishing the signal. I ended up having to restart my phone and then it was just fine.
  7. apockalipse thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2008
    I'll be travelling next week so I'll be curious to see if my reception experience remains positive while I'm on the road.
  8. Kavier macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    My husband and I both upgraded from the 3G to the 4, and we are both experiencing the antenna issue; however, my signal goes down a small amount but I am still able to use my phone while my husband's phone goes to "no service" and he can't do anything at all. This has happened on multiple occasions since we received our phones Wednesday, and it has occurred in multiple locations. My husband did not have a case on his 3G and had upgraded it to iOS4 without experiencing this issue. My 3G also never had this issue, but I always used a case anyway. As a side note, we both went out to buy cases last night, and they have NOT helped much. The signal still goes down, but it seems to take longer.
  9. apockalipse thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2008
  10. AJerman macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2009
    I'd have to give it a couple more days and phone calls to be able to tell for sure, but the signal definitely drops when you hold the bottom left. If you have great signal, then it doesn't affect it as much, but at my friends house it would literally go from 5 bars to 1 bar depending on how it was held.

    I don't really care all that much though because I'm planning on getting a bumper case when they are back in stock at the Apple Store.

    Still, it's an issue that definitely does exist. My 3G didn't do that with any OS version.
  11. cmoski macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2010
    Being a southpaw (left hander), I find that holding the phone the way I've become accustomed since the iPhone 2g is impossible.

    Calls frequently just degrade in quality to the point where they abjectly drop (I'd say 40-60 seconds), and it's impossible to browse the internet with the phone in my left hand.

    It's quite damaging for me, but perhaps the thing which makes me the most angry is that if a bumper could fix the problem, Apple is unwilling to provide one at a reduced price or for free to fix an issue that is entirely on their side.

    The bandwidth tests I performed were very telling, they would go from around 0.2mbps up/down to 0mbps up/down (unmeasurable) and latency would increase from around 2000ms to 24k+ ms.

    It's just.. insane. Apple needs to fix this one.
  12. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    I carry two AT&T phones everyday, & use them constantly. My work phone is a BlackBerry Bold, & my personal iPhone 4. The BlackBerry works very well, the iPhone? Epic Fail.
  13. Affe macrumors member

    May 12, 2007
    So it really only affects me when I'm holding with my left hand, but sometimes (to a lesser degree) with my right. With my left is on the bottom, it goes from 5 steady bars, down to 2 then if you continue holding it for a minute, down to 1 and it stays at 1. Holding with my right hand on the bottom, it simply goes down to 4 bars.

    I ran some speedtests over 3G with the Speedtest.net app. I did 5 consecutive tests with the phone resting on the desk (5 bars) and then 5 holding it with my left hand (the first 2 tests were at 2 bars and the last 3 were at 1 bar). The results were quite bizarre.

    (I listed the tests in reverse chronological order for each set)

    Resting on desk:
    Download Speed / Upload Speed in kbps
    - 561 / 802
    - 991 / 508
    - 612 / 360
    - 1344 / 743
    - 707 / 181
    Average: 843 / 518.8

    Holding w/ left hand:
    Download Speed / Upload Speed in kbps
    - 1556 / 344
    - 1556 / 356
    - 893 / 89
    - 1222 / 142
    - 1448 / 72
    Average: 1,335 / 200.6

    The download speeds were pretty much consistently higher when showing lower signal strength. However, the upload speeds were the exact opposite. I really don't have an explanation for it. Also, I don't use it as a phone enough to say if it affects dropped calls. Though in the 5 or so calls I've made, I haven't dropped any calls.
  14. macfan881 macrumors 68020

    Feb 22, 2006
    how can the iphone be a epic fail when you only had it for 2-3 days geeze..
  15. caligurl macrumors 68030


    Jun 8, 2009
    i don't have an issue with dropped calls so far but i hold the phone with my right hand when i talk on it... however i noticed the not connecting to data before i even knew that was an issue! i hold the phone with my left hand (right handed) and kept getting the can't connect popup... so i came here to report and... low an behold it was already a huge storey!

    i continually have to move my hand to keep reception for data....
  16. engelke2010 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2010
    I upgraded to an i4 from a 3G. Before the 3G I had a Tilt as a prepaid customer. I did not have the problems I am having with the i4 when I was using either the 3G or Tilt. My bars would decrease to 2, but I was always able to make a call and didn't break up to either myself or to whomever I was calling. It doesn't matter whether the area I am in has a strong signal or weak.
  17. nick@gt macrumors newbie


    Jul 29, 2007
    Santa Rosa Beach FL
    Reception at my home is intolerable

    I just switched to AT&T from T-Mobile to get the new iPhone and I get very weak reception at my house (T-Mobile was just fine). 2-3 bars sitting on the table, when I hold it in my hand it's 1 bar or less. I have both a 16GB and 32GB version and the problem seems to be worse in the 16GB phone than the 32GB phone. Unless I can find a solution for the reception problem I am going to have to return the phones and go back to a carrier that I can rely on. This switch has been a disaster.
  18. bacsig macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    I tried out the ip4 yesterday while driving around and in a couple of buildings to compare with the reception on the 3GS. I found consistently better reception inside and out with the ip4. In one case I could make calls from a spot that never had reception before. I don't know if it's AT&T, ios4 or the phone but it just works better and that is despite getting a 1 bar drop holding onto the bottom of the phone...if I just hold it on the lower left there's no change.
  19. tagy macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2003
    I have big problems, touching the lower left band kills the data connection for me. I can live with it for now and I was going to get a case anyway, but I think Apple needs to do something fast about this.

    Here is a video I made showing the problem, posted it in the 'non-issue' thread earlier:

  20. drew0020 macrumors 68000


    Nov 10, 2006
    No previous issues with iPhone, 3G or 3GS.
  21. California King macrumors 65816

    Sep 20, 2007
    Sometimes the bars will go down when I hold it a certain way, sometimes it won't. It has never affected call quality or data speed from what I can tell. Might be as simple as a software fix?
  22. drjac macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2010
    Very bad Iphone 4 experience

    I love my new Iphone 4, being waiting for it for months, while using my 3G with plenty of drop calls and lack of signal. With my new phone in 24 hrs of use, I have been practically unable to receive a call or make one, without a drop signal or lousy reception of my voice.
    As far as telephony is concern this new Iphone 4, is performing worst than the previous 3G iphone. I hope is ATT and not apple the party responsible.
  23. Macjames macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2007
    Yorkshire, England
    I can watch the bars drop from 5 3G to edge by holding it 'wrong'. Except for when I am outside in my city centre when I get full 3G regardless.
  24. apockalipse thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2008
    I'm in pretty much in the same boat. I can reproduce the bar dropping at home more consistently than I can at work, but regardless of the bars I don't seem to be having any issues with calls or data. Hopefully, it is just a software fix.
  25. unicorngoddess macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2010
    Just got mine and I've only made a couple of calls...but I was on the phone with my mom for about 15 minutes when I realized I was holding the phone with my left hand. I instinctively stopped my conversation and asked her if she was still there...I'm known to talk for a bit before I realize a call has dropped. But she was still there! I mean, I was expecting the worst because A) I know I hold my phone with my left hand; and B) I have naturally sweaty palms.

    But then again, this is at home where I have really good reception anyway...I have HORRIBLE reception at work, so I guess we'll see how it goes when I get back to work next week. For now I voted no issues.

Share This Page