Some iPhone 4 launch units lose signal when held with left hand

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Some users have experienced poor signal and dropped calls when holding Apple's new iPhone 4 in their left hand, which makes their palm cover a seam that separates the device's two perimeter radio antennas.



When Apple announced the iPhone 4 earlier this month, the company revealed that the metal band around the outside of the device has breaks in it to allow the multiple antennas inside the device -- for cellular service, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and more -- to establish connections. The larger metal piece on the right side of the phone serves as the GSM/UMTS cellular antenna, and the smaller portion on the left side is responsible for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS.



For some, covering -- or even just touching -- the point where the two antennas meet on the left side of the phone can cause loss of signal (via Insanely Great Mac) and even dropped calls. The reports suggest that the issue is worse than the problem described by Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal.



In his review of the iPhone 4, Mossberg said that the device sometimes registers no bars, or fewer bars than the iPhone 3GS, even though a call can still be placed. He spoke with Apple about the issue, and the company said they are aware and are working on a patch to resolve it.



But as noted by Engadget, some users actually do lose reception and experience dropped calls when covering the antenna seam on the left side of the device, naturally done when holding the phone in one's left hand.



"One iPhone 4 demonstrated the issue every time it was held in our left hand (as a right-handed person is apt to do) so that our palm was essentially bridging the two antennas)," the report said.



It continued: "Bridging the two with a finger tip, however, didn't cause any issues with the reported reception. If we had to guess, we'd say that our conductive skin was acting to detune the antenna -- in fact, we've already managed to slowly kill two calls that way so it's not just an issue with software erroneously reporting an incorrect signal strength."







Others, however, have experienced the issue simply by touching the seam where the two antennas meet with a fingertip. However, the review unit given to the tech blog before the release of the iPhone 4 did not experience any of these issues, suggesting it does not apply to all handsets.



The report went on to note that the problems disappeared when the official rubber "bumper" protective case, sold by Apple for $29, is attached to the handset.
«13456723

Comments

  • irelandireland Posts: 16,090member
    Thank you for repoting this. Won't be forgotten.



    Let's see what "solipsism" says now.
  • gescomgescom Posts: 69member
    Why is everybody complaining so much about it?

    It's a feature !!!
  • formerarsgmformerarsgm Posts: 191member
    Is this not a problem when iPhone 4 is held in the right hand?



    Maybe that's the fix - hold iPhone 4 in the right hand for the best possible reception.



    That Apple... so darn innovative.



    (yes, this post was in jest)
  • cubertcubert Posts: 728member
    Ummmm....I'm right handed so I hold the phone in my right hand as most right handed people do. It's the unfortunate 11% of us who are left handed who are going to have issues.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Let's see what "solipsism" says now.



    "However, the review unit given to the tech blog before the release of the iPhone 4 did not experience any of these issues, suggesting it does not apply to all handsets."



    Let's see what irrational argument you create from that comment. Next time you might want to read the entire article before posting.
  • aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,555member
    I have this problem and I am a left handed phone user!



    However, it does it on both my hands.
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    Ummmm....I'm right handed so I hold the phone in my right hand as most right handed people do. It's the unfortunate 11% of us who are left handed who are going to have issues.



    Well, I'm right handed, and I hold the phone in my left hand when I make a call, preferring to have my right hand free to do things with. So it's a problem for more than just lefties, or maybe it's less of a problem for lefties if my way is not unusual. I'm guessing this didn't show up in field tests because they had them in those special cases to make it look like a 3GS. If this turns out to actually be the problem, they need to modify the design immediately to fix it. (Seems unlikely it could be fixed in software, but, if so, all the better.) For those who already own an iPhone 4, they should offer free Bumper cases to mitigate the problem.
  • rob55rob55 Posts: 1,204member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    Ummmm....I'm right handed so I hold the phone in my right hand as most right handed people do. It's the unfortunate 11% of us who are left handed who are going to have issues.



    Don't ask me why, but I'm a lefty and I almost always hold my iPhone in my right hand. Even when I switch to my left hand, it feels less comfortable to me and I end up switching back to my right hand before too long. I'm sure the fact that I use me left hand to actually operate the touchscreen plays a small role in the reason why I hold my phone with my right hand.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    It's the unfortunate 11% of us who are left handed who are going to have issues.



    Now you're' jumping on the BS wagon?
  • irelandireland Posts: 16,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    "However, the review unit given to the tech blog before the release of the iPhone 4 did not experience any of these issues, suggesting it does not apply to all handsets."



    Are you still going to say it's a design flaw affecting all units despite evidence to the contrary?



    Proof? Show me the proof. From what I can see the cases - when even demonstrated in videos - that were not affect were the people just missing the black band connection in the slot. Engadget will no doubt retest this specific issue, so we'll see what happens.



    I'm not a troll. You're just overly defensive when it comes to criticisms of Apple. This is a MAJOR issue, you just don't want to face it.
  • irelandireland Posts: 16,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Now you're' jumping on the BS wagon?



    No he's not.
  • nickcjrnickcjr Posts: 3member
    It appears that the problem may be when you bridge a connection between the UMTS and GPS/Bluetooth/WiFi antennas. I wonder if there is even a software fix for that?
  • realitycheckrealitycheck Posts: 23member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    Ummmm....I'm right handed so I hold the phone in my right hand as most right handed people do. It's the unfortunate 11% of us who are left handed who are going to have issues.



    Actually if you are right-handed, you would hold the phone with your left hand so that you can use it with your right hand. In which case you might see the problem.



    I am seeing it with my iPhone 4 about half the time when I deliberately try to reproduce it. However after hours natural usage I have only seen it happen once.
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    "However, the review unit given to the tech blog before the release of the iPhone 4 did not experience any of these issues, suggesting it does not apply to all handsets."



    It's probable that it is affected by exactly how you hold your phone. I don't have an iPhone 4, but, using my iPhone 3GS, it does seem that the way I hold it while on a call would not "short" the antennas, assuming that is what is happening.
  • irelandireland Posts: 16,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nickcjr View Post


    It appears that the problem may be when you bridge a connection between the UMTS and GPS/Bluetooth/WiFi antennas. I wonder if there is even a software fix for that?



    That's the worry. We'll have to wait a day or two to see what Apple officially says.
  • mariomario Posts: 332member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cubert View Post


    Ummmm....I'm right handed so I hold the phone in my right hand as most right handed people do. It's the unfortunate 11% of us who are left handed who are going to have issues.



    I'm right handed, so I hold my phone in the left hand so I can use the right hand to type and touch icons etc (i.e. to drive it).
  • noexpectationsnoexpectations Posts: 481member
    ....like any other cell phone manufacturer, I'm sure Apple has field tested this device for several months. Maybe these are just a few isolated manufacturing defects on the first batch?
  • ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    I've been trying to do this all morning and it only did it on the road while driving to my office in an area with a lot of trees. The signal is already finicky in that area anyways, so maybe it was just that. Plus it was rainy too. I've been in my office all morning and can't duplicate it.
  • irelandireland Posts: 16,090member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mario View Post


    I'm right handed, so I hold my phone in the left hand so I can use the right hand to type and touch icons etc (i.e. to drive it).



    That's a good point too. I'm saddened by this revelation. I was looking forward to getting an iPhone 4, but now I'm left in limbo.
  • binks1283binks1283 Posts: 2member
    One way to avoid this problem. Use a bluetooth headset so you don't have to hold your phone.
Sign In or Register to comment.