Apple iPhone 4's signal problem explained

This article contains unofficial information.
Apple iPhone 4's signal problem explained
Why does the iPhone 4 drop signal strength when held a certain way? AnandTech did an exhaustive study of the problem and came up with some interesting things. First, the antenna for the device is the stainless steel strip that runs around the outside of the handset. The smaller part, running from the bottom left to the top, is used for GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The remainder, running around about three quarters of the phone, is used for cellular communications. When you hold the phone in the bottom left, your body becomes a conductor, putting together the two antenna which detunes them. Had Apple insulated the antennas, we would not be hearing about this problem.

A test was set up with the Apple iPhone 4, the 3GS and the Nexus One. Each phone was held in one of 4 different ways. The phones were cupped tightly, held naturally, on an open palm, and in a case held naturally. The results showed that when the phones were cupped tightly, the iPhone 4 had the lowest signal strength with the 3GS out performing the N-One and the iPhone 4. When held naturally or held in the palm of one's hand, the results were the same with the 3GS outperforming the Nexus One by a wide margin. In a rubber case, the results were a bit different. Although the Apple iPhone 3GS again had the best signal, the iPhone 4 slightly outperformed the Nexus One. Further testing revealed that the antenna on the iPhone 4 works better than the one on the 3GS when the signal is low. Areas where a call would drop on the 3GS would find the iPhone 4 able to hold the call. With a bumper case on the new iPhone, places that were previously dead zones were able to host a call and provide data. According to the tester, this proves the superiority of the new antenna. The problem is that while a rubber case would resolve most of the issues, handing them out would be an admission of guilt by Apple and that most likely is not going to happen. iPhone 4 owners might have to reach into their wallet to buy a rubber case-they shelled out enough for the phone that adding $30 to improve reception would be well worth it.

Apple iPhone 4 Specifications | Review
Apple iPhone 3GS Specifications | Review

source: AnandTech via BGR



1. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009


53. matt1q2aw3 unregistered

I love this....Apple goofed on something sooooo simple, this appears to be a design flaw not based upon computer programming or faulty components.... but simply improper design of the antenna as well as improper testing... Then again, how could Apple properly test their products when they can't even keep track of their prototypes. Those all end up in a puddle of spilled beer and redbull-vodkas. It would be an absolute disgrace if the employee who designed the antenna was fired for this and Jobs is still gets to water and fertilize his orchard of I-bitches. Somewhere on the product testing checklist there is a missing box for "does this phone drop more calls then would be expected?" Someone get me a wool shirt.

58. BlackberryUser

Posts: 609; Member since: Jun 26, 2009

"does this phone drop more calls then would be expected?" That's hard to test on the AT&T network. The last 4 AT&T phones I have had dropped 1 / 3 of the calls I have, latest phone is a Blackberry Bold 9000.

59. applesr4eating

Posts: 32; Member since: Jul 01, 2010

Even better they want admit it is a design flaw, now they have been sued by 4 people and 1400 more are going to sue them because Apple want admit that they made a mistake. With alll the money they made on sales already they could give every idiotphone owner a free bumber guard and explain to them they make a mistake and the problem would be solved.

67. mcmkone

Posts: 54; Member since: Mar 24, 2009

Finally one for the Fan Boi's oh i dislike blind people. a Word from Apple

69. wade1968

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 12, 2010

Hello all. I see blame enough to go around to apple and AT&T. see apple gave you more bars. At&T its system can not handle the demands of it customers.At&t needs to put more money in their network,before it burns out.

2. Cali_E

Posts: 196; Member since: Sep 24, 2008

yay, another excuse for a crappy product design...actually, product in general. FAIL

8. ILOVEIPHONE25 unregistered

u fail

15. simplx

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 01, 2010

ILOVEIPHONE25 you are the one who really failed. Shullup!

29. ILOVEIPHONE25 unregistered

good comeback. BUDDY.

32. belve14

Posts: 113; Member since: Mar 31, 2009

I keep seeing your hater comments everywhere it makes me sick...dude you are trash and im going to make sure you exposed for the loser that you are. So stay on your toes and go read jokes for dummies 101 cause im going to trash and make you feel as little as your Iphone lol.

39. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

"great comeback" from the guy that said "u fail". lol a few things that "fail" in this arguement 1- the nexus one has known signal issues, why are you using that phone? Why not use a Droid or Evo or Incredible? Oh yea, because it would make your iphone look even worse. 2- Its sad that the 3gs comes out on top, everyone knows it has a weak antenna to begin with, the 4g was supposed to stop that, not make it worse. 3- $30 FOR A FRICKIN SILICONE PROTECTOR!?!?! YOU IBOTS REALLY SHELL OUT THAT DAMN MUCH!?!?! YOU REALLY ARE RETARDED!!!

41. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

4g?? You mean iphone year it will be iphone 4g....and with a bumper...

42. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

4g= 4th generation Iphone. im quite aware its not 4g on att's inferior network.. LOL.

52. matt1q2aw3 unregistered

Shut your mouth ILOVEIPHONE25.... we all have had enough of your sass!!!!

63. ILOVEIPHONE25 unregistered


3. Flip7

Posts: 31; Member since: Nov 27, 2009

I just couldn't b that stupid to buy a phone knowing all the issues it has who ever does has to b retarded

49. nalu808

Posts: 39; Member since: Jul 14, 2009

the rality is there are 1.7 million retarded people.....

54. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

There's a whole hell of a lot more than 1.7 million....

64. ILOVEIPHONE25 unregistered


4. cadetz unregistered

sigh... so instead of a 7 buck rubber case you need to buy a 30 buck one from apple that's.... sounds like a rip off

26. *HOVA*

Posts: 564; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

OBVIOUSLY third parties are going to make them too and they will be very inexpensive. This happens with all phone and all cases in case you've never seen it before...

34. belve14

Posts: 113; Member since: Mar 31, 2009

Your another one HOVA... you have lingered around for a while now on this site. Your comments and comebacks are weak dude accept what the truth is bro. The Iphone is messed up this time around...think about it you have to buy a cover to get perfect reception everytime lol...joke

46. *HOVA*

Posts: 564; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

I guess I don't hand-fuck my phone so it's not an issue for me. That wasn't a comeback at all just the truth. Anyone who's ever bought a case knows third parties make them and sell them dirt cheap versus what you get through the carrier/manufacturer. That's just a little accessories 101, glad I could take you to class this fine day.

47. belve14

Posts: 113; Member since: Mar 31, 2009

LOL first off I'd like to thank you for complimenting my 101 which I used for ILoveIphone25....take me to class hmmm not really lol. I know that third parties carry them dirt cheap...a comeback is considered when you try and defend something that someone else had said about something you care about. Oh it also has alot of other definitions but Im sorry son thats all daddy has to tell you today lmao

66. *HOVA*

Posts: 564; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

You're reply is a great indication of the level of knowledge people have around here. JE SUS.

71. sirjudson

Posts: 7; Member since: Apr 18, 2010

You both are gay.

5. Phullofphil

Posts: 1823; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

There should be a recall. There is no doubt that there is a problem and people should get a working phone without having to pay extra.

57. luv_droids

Posts: 30; Member since: May 21, 2010

I agree, how do you put out a phone everybody KNOWS is faulty then tell everyone "my bad we fucked up, but to fix it all YOU have to do is PAY an EXTRA $30.00" thats cold, if i was dumb enough to buy an i4 then i would be smart enough to get a refund once i found out i gotta pay to fix a manufactured mistake..

6. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Apple sucks. That's the only explaination you need.

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