Why does my iPhone 5 have 1 bar when sitting next to my 4 with 3 bars?

Nicklaus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 19, 2010
263
3
Winter Park
Consistently I have two more bars on my iPhone 4 when next to my 5. Anybody know why this is? I think the call quality is equal or maybe a little better on the 5. Both are Verizon.
 

Nicklaus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 19, 2010
263
3
Winter Park
Yes I remember when AT&T adjusted their bars, to have more bars in more places. But if they are both the same carrier wouldn't it be more comparable?:)
 

Radiating

macrumors 65816
Dec 29, 2011
1,018
7
Consistently I have two more bars on my iPhone 4 when next to my 5. Anybody know why this is? I think the call quality is equal or maybe a little better on the 5. Both are Verizon.
When Apple released the iPhone 4, they had issues with users creating attenuation with the antenas by holding the phone a certain way. i.e. Antennagate.

To "fix" this issue Apple released a software "patch" to "recalculate" how the number of bars were calculated on the iPhone 4 (which carried over to the 4S) so for example it would display 4 bars when it actually had what everyone else says is two bars. To make a long story short they made the phone display more bars than it was getting and they averaged out the number of bars you got so people wouldn't notice that when they held the phone a certain way their bars would instantly drop.


Further reading:

http://www.informationweek.com/storage/portable/iphone-4-update-wont-fix-antenna-glitch/225702779

For the iPhone 5 there is no issue with holding it wrong so the phone displays the correct number of bars.

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Also honestly I preffer the old way of calculating bars because it let you use Siri when the phone now says "no service" (but there is still some limited service when it says no service)
 

Nicklaus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 19, 2010
263
3
Winter Park
WOW thanks guys for the quick responses! Radiating that makes sense I thought the adjustment was just for the AT&T phones.
 

Blorzoga

macrumors 68030
May 21, 2010
2,557
65
Because you're using LTE on the 5 and 3G on the 4? Or am I missing something?
Exactly. They're two different signals. My phone regularly bounces back and forth between a strong 4g signal in the 65-90 range to a weak LTE signal that's usually over 100.
 

darster

Suspended
Aug 25, 2011
1,703
1
The difference is there because the iphone 5 shows the strength of LTE, the iPhone 4 shows the strength of 1x on Verizon.
 

Nicklaus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 19, 2010
263
3
Winter Park
Oh, I thought the bars were something separate for voice calls and the LTE or 3G icons just referenced data speeds.
 

Nicklaus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 19, 2010
263
3
Winter Park
Okay you have to cut me some slack. I have only had a LTE phone for a few days and it switches between 3G and LTE often but the bars seems to stay about the same. :)

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I bet you always want your phone at 100% too, huh?

:rolleyes:
No not really, I am the first on the literal block to get the iPhone 5 and as the early adopter in the neighborhood the neighbors are wondering if they should get one and if they should use AT&T or Verizon and its marginal where I live, so I just want to help my friends and understand whats going on. :)
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,531
At the iPhone hacks section.
Okay you have to cut me some slack. I have only had a LTE phone for a few days and it switches between 3G and LTE often but the bars seems to stay about the same. :)

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I see.
3G and LTE are 2 different systems that will display different bars and have different speeds when connected using them.
On Verizon 3G you will get around 1mbps up to 3mbps typical CDMA 3G speeds. With their LTE you can get a up to 60mbps according to some peoples speedtest results posted. Not every place is the same. Depending on your location, network traffic, time, signal strength and many other variables your speeds may vary.
So your 3G bars and LTE signal bars are not the same. They might be similar sometimes but they are different frequencies and celltowers might be in different locations. The 3G tower close and the LTE tower further away and so on.
 

Nicklaus

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 19, 2010
263
3
Winter Park
Thanks Applejuiced! Thats the best explanation I have heard of how it works. I am mostly a mac fan and the cellular part seems like mostly voodoo and black magic.
 
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