iPhone 4 Reception Problems Could be Fixed in iOS 4.0.1 – Rumour

Many reports have come out since the launch of the iPhone 4 the other day saying that the device loses or drops most of the signal when holding the phone in a particular way. This is something we have seen ourselves and simply happens when bridging the gap on the bottom left of the device.

The response Apple [AAPL] has provided in the last couple of days ranges from advice to hold your iPhone 4 differently to blaming it on the network carriers side.

Rumours are now indicating that the problem could actually be fixed with a software update that could arrive as early as Monday. Around the internet, the reports seem to blame it on the construction of the antennae which basically use your body to bridge the gap between the two. This bridging the gap might not be the real cause of the problem and more of a symptom of a problem within the software that handles connectivity to networks.

Reasons to believe this are partially due to the iPhone 3GS inheriting the problem when users upgrade to iOS 4 which hints towards a software issue.

The Apple Tech Support Forum indicated that iOS 4.0.1 could contain a fix for the issue and actually be shipped early next week (possibly Monday). The thread(s) have now been removed but Apple indicated that the issues is due to lag when switching frequencies on the phone. By calibrating them correctly it can apparently do away with the problem allowing you to hold the iPhone 4 as you wish.

The fix is expected to address a issue in iOS 4 related to radio frequency calibration of the baseband. Readers who saw the original forum discussions say that the issue is believed to occur when switching frequencies; because the lag is allegedly not calibrated correctly, it results in the device reporting “no service” rather than switching to the frequency with the best signal to noise ratio.

iOS 4 introduced some enhancements to how the baseband selects which frequencies to use, so it makes sense that the error may have crept into those changes. Additionally, this explains why iOS 4 has also caused similar problems for iPhone 3GS users.

Apple Insider has more details on a WiFi test, 3G tests and other more technical details. But in summary, it could be just a slight issue with the baseband which can be fixed in the next few days if the rumours are true.

On a positive side, I noticed today that I am actually using my phone and able to make full phone calls in a location where my 3GS and any other phone never got a signal. I only get 1 bar here, but the call quality was just fine. This indicates that although there is a problem with holding the phone the right way (at the moment), on the whole, Apple seem to have got it right with the antennae configuration. Lets just hope it’s a software fix to keep everyone happy.


  1. This is not a software fix but a design flaw. There is no way a software upgrade will fix this issue. Check out Walt Mossberg’s in his WSJ review of iPhone 4 as he states that his 3GS holds signal much better than iPhone 4. He goes as far as to say if you plan on making calls, you will need to purchase another phone and then use your iPhone 4 for gaming and apps. So if you must have an Apple product, just buy iPod Touch and then get Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G if you want a great smartphone that can also make calls. Look at all YouTube videos which show EVO 4G is faster than iPhone 4 and gets much better reception and call quality and is the clear winner in nearly every review. Most of these reviewers are iPhone owners, so they are biased towards iPhone but still say EVO 4G better overall phone. Also, you will save several hundred dollars over the high AT&T contracts that are capped at 2GB of data and Sprint’s plans are unlimited data.

  2. Its not true, i think it coud be a software problem preatty much, Evo is a cool phone, but its not better then iPhone 4, lats be serius, apple will fix this problem, if not, than costumers will complain.

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