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Apple says any mobile phone has reception issues when held wrong

post #1 of 444
Thread Starter 
Responding to growing concerns that holding the iPhone 4 in the left hand results in poorer signal performance for some, Apple has said that all cell phones experience a similar issue.

Apple released an official comment on the issue this week, suggesting that users either adjust their hand position on the phone, or buy a case (such as Apple's $29 bumpers) that prevents one's hand from touching the exterior of the device.

"Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas," the company said in a statement to Engadget. "This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases."

Some users have said they can recreate the issue by holding the iPhone 4 in their left hand, making their palm cover the seam that separates the device's two perimeter radio antennas. The metal band around the outside of Apple's new handset has breaks in it that allow the antennas inside the device, including cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, to establish connections.

For some, covering -- or even just touching -- the point where the two antennas meet can result in signal degradation, or cause a dropped call. It is believed that a person's skin can act as a conductive agent, bridging the gap between the two separate antennas.

The issue can be avoided when using Apple's official "bumper protective case, which covers the metal band around the outside of the device.

Supporting Apple's claims that the positioning of one's hand plays a part in cell phone reception, Engadget also posted a video from 2008 in which a user demonstrated loss of signal when adjusting an iPhone 3G.

post #2 of 444
I have issues too because I was held wrong.
post #3 of 444
I can't get mine to do it.

I must be retarded.

When I stand on my head and balance the phone on the bottom of my feet, it will do it though!
post #4 of 444
If it ain't broke, then don't fix it, BUT if it is broke, then please do fix it, and stop coming up with excuses!

Apple … you aren't perfect, that's ok, but be big enough to admit it when you have made a mistake, and fix it.

Skip

PS. Oh yeah, any chance you'll be announcing any new COMPUTERS soon?
post #5 of 444
The point is that this is a issue with all phones and not only with the iphone. Just cuzz the iphone is selling like hot cakes ppl are making a huge deal out of it.

Especially in Europe where the 3.5 coverage is great this is indeed an absolute non-issue.
post #6 of 444
I disagree. Most phones have the antenna encased in plastic,
post #7 of 444
Apple should just start giving away those ugly bumper covers as a workaround for this problem. $29 is way, way too expensive. They can't cost them more than a buck or two in make. Of course, they do ruin the look of the phone.
post #8 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by msantti View Post

I can't get mine to do it.
I must be retarded.
When I stand on my head and balance the phone on the bottom of my feet, it will do it though!

It wont do it if the signal strengh is strong. Need a weak/moderate signal AND bad hand position.

Correction : it looks like you can loose all the signal if you bridge the 2 antennas with your hand. imo this is definitly a design flaw and a pretty bad one. But it can be solved by putting a protection, which also helps held the phone with a better grip and in case the phone falls. China sites will sell you those for 2.99 a piece. Silicone based covers are better than hard case ones in case the phone falls.
post #9 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas,"

Nobody considered that people might want to hold a cell phone while using it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The issue can be avoided when using Apple's official "bumper protective case, which covers the metal band around the outside of the device.

Then bundle the case with the iPhone.

Nothing says snake oil like "Your new product doesn't work right? Here, we also sell something to correct that..."
post #10 of 444
I'd rather encased that with Gmask Skin than the rubber...
post #11 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Apple should just start giving away those ugly bumper covers as a workaround for this problem. $29 is way, way too expensive. They can't cost them more than a buck or two in make. Of course, they do ruin the look of the phone.

And a hell of a lot cheaper then bad press or worst yet, a recall!

Skip
post #12 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Apple should just start giving away those ugly bumper covers as a workaround for this problem. $29 is way, way too expensive. They can't cost them more than a buck or two in make. Of course, they do ruin the look of the phone.

If all you need to do is stop conductive contact between the two antenna sections, a small strip of the invisible Scotch tape over the join should do the trick.

Alan.
post #13 of 444
Defective by design. Imagine that idea that someone might actually want to normally hold a phone to place a call! How absurd of that person.

So, if you can't use the device as your normally would to enjoy its functionality - it is defective by design. Apple should either change hardware design, or include the bumpers. Apple itself is now saying that you need the Apple Bumpers to make the best phone calls.
post #14 of 444
Apples explanation is wrong. My iPhone 4 (on which I'm typing this) will rapidly go from 5 bars to zero (10-15 seconds) as soon as your hand bridges the gap in the lower left-hand corner. The bars will rapidly reappear when you shift your hand. My house has it's own MicroCell 5 feet away from me so we're not talking about marginal signal strength. It appears to be a hardware flaw to me, althoughwho knows if it's a design or manufacturing problem.
post #15 of 444
Notice that when the 3G was held in the low-signal condition, it was rotated relative to the high-signal condition. The polarization of an RF signal can have significant effects on reception so this test is very incomplete. The test needs to be redone so that the phone is not moved or rotated when held in different ways. Otherwise the test says nothing about the way it is held.
post #16 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by magari View Post

The point is that this is a issue with all phones and not only with the iphone. Just cuzz the iphone is selling like hot cakes ppl are making a huge deal out of it.

Especially in Europe where the 3.5 coverage is great this is indeed an absolute non-issue.

ISTM that there are two separate issues here.

1. Apple is correct that all phones have issues with how they're held. I've seen variations in signal intensity on my 3G and there are lots of reports with the same problem on other phones from all vendors. If you hold the phone in your hand, there will be some attenuation of signal intensity. Apple can't change the laws of physics.

2. However, there seems to be a specific problem related to the iPhone 4's antenna configuration. If you touch the black line where the two antennae almost touch, it can reduce signal intensity under some conditions. That this is specific to this antenna configuration and not simply absorption of radio waves by your hand is demonstrated by the fact that when I put a piece of electrical tape over that line, the problem is significantly improved. There is still SOME drop in signal intensity when I cup it in my hand, but no where near as bad. This part of the problem will be addressed by use of a case, but the part mentioned in (1) won't.

I found a Belkin case at Best Buy that I think I'll like better than the bumpers. The bumpers are just a bit gaudy for my taste. I'm optimistic that it will make a big improvement, but I won't know until I receive it.

Given that at least some of the problem is due to the specific antenna configuration and the ability to short the two antennas, I think it would be appropriate for Apple to find a solution and repair phones that are already in service. If that's not possible, they should offer the choice of a credit to cover the cost of a case or a full refund.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

I disagree. Most phones have the antenna encased in plastic,

Even phones with the antenna encased in plastic can have the problem-at some level.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #17 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbapou View Post

It wont do it if the signal strengh is strong. Need a weak/moderate signal AND bad hand position.

Not really. Signal strength doesn't affect it. And to tell right-handed people not to hold a touch-only phone in their left hand is absurd.
post #18 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by aedwards View Post

If all you need to do is stop conductive contact between the two antenna sections, a small strip of the invisible Scotch tape over the join should do the trick.

Alan.

That just crossed my mind. Well, actually I was thinking electrical tape.
post #19 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by aedwards View Post

If all you need to do is stop conductive contact between the two antenna sections, a small strip of the invisible Scotch tape over the join should do the trick.

Alan.

The conductivity of you hand does not matter.

One can put a thin scotch tape over the bridge and effect will be the same. Obviously, it's a capacitive coupling. The bumper (or a case) just physically separates your hand from the antenna, thus decreasing the coupling. During the design process the presence and interference with the human body is accounted for. It's one of the major ingredients in the antenna design process.

Besides, anybody with a handheld multimeter can measure the resistance between the parts of the antenna. Guess what! It's less than 0.5 Ohm! Apparently it's already shorted through the electronics inside. Your hand, with its several kOhms of resistance, is not going to do anything. Also you can physically short it from the outside with any metal object. A screwdriver would do it! No changes in the behavior at all.

I could drop the bars from 5 to 3 by holding the phone for 3 min. However, the SpeedTest data does not get worse, in several instances it even increases. It's about 2Mb for downploading and 1Mb uploading. Not bad for 3G.
post #20 of 444
At this point I am extremely happy I havent ordered the new iPhone.

I used a 2G until I moved to an area that had very poor Edge coverage, now I use a 3G with a large case made of some type of Rubber. (Oakley)
Where is the antenna on the 3G?
I rarely have a droped call but Im wondering now if Im causing them.

Out of all the phones I have used i have never been told I am holding it wrong.
I would expect more from Apple , but it appears they just wanted to get the phone to market. It's a good looking phone, but I guess I will wait till they fix this issue.
If not then Its back to Blackberry.

2010 MacBook Pro 13, 2.66
Dell XPS 420 - Gaming PC
iPhone 3G 8GB
iPhone 4 on StraightTalk

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2010 MacBook Pro 13, 2.66
Dell XPS 420 - Gaming PC
iPhone 3G 8GB
iPhone 4 on StraightTalk

Reply
post #21 of 444
Yeap a fundamental problem when cell phone went away form your tradition antenna. This has been a problem some the very first cell phone which uses a resident cavity as the antenna, ie, the case itself. Depend on the phone which has not formal antenna covering parts of section of the phone will cause the reception to drop.

The issue people uncovered with the iphone 4 is the fact the device the antenna in two one for cell and one for local network and putting it in your left hand cause you to couple the two antennas together and really messing with the signal. I guess Apple forgot to hire lefthanded engineers and testers.
post #22 of 444
I'm willing to bet that this has been blown waaaaay out of proportion.

http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/commen...xplained_by_a/

The iPhone's biggest reception problem in the USA is still AT&T. They need to get the iPhone on as many carriers as they can... And soon. This is where Android is going to do the most damage.
post #23 of 444
The WWDC presentation made much of how the antennas of the iPhone4 were configured and at the time I wondered what shorting the separator would do to call quality. I am a fan of most things Apple but pretty glad to have held back for this release to wait until the cacophony of hardcore fans and haters has subsided.
post #24 of 444


Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #25 of 444
Now, Apple is going to tell customers how to hold a phone? You have to be kidding???


Quote:
Originally Posted by jrandersoniii View Post

Defective by design. Imagine that idea that someone might actually want to normally hold a phone to place a call! How absurd of that person.

So, if you can't use the device as your normally would to enjoy its functionality - it is defective by design. Apple should either change hardware design, or include the bumpers. Apple itself is now saying that you need the Apple Bumpers to make the best phone calls.

Of course, give them another $29 right...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

I disagree. Most phones have the antenna encased in plastic,

I agree with your disagree

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

ISTM that there are two separate issues here.

1. Apple is correct that all phones have issues with how they're held. I've seen variations in signal intensity on my 3G and there are lots of reports with the same problem on other phones from all vendors. If you hold the phone in your hand, there will be some attenuation of signal intensity. Apple can't change the laws of physics.

2. However, there seems to be a specific problem related to the iPhone 4's antenna configuration. If you touch the black line where the two antennae almost touch, it can reduce signal intensity under some conditions. That this is specific to this antenna configuration and not simply absorption of radio waves by your hand is demonstrated by the fact that when I put a piece of electrical tape over that line, the problem is significantly improved. There is still SOME drop in signal intensity when I cup it in my hand, but no where near as bad. This part of the problem will be addressed by use of a case, but the part mentioned in (1) won't.

I found a Belkin case at Best Buy that I think I'll like better than the bumpers. The bumpers are just a bit gaudy for my taste. I'm optimistic that it will make a big improvement, but I won't know until I receive it.

Given that at least some of the problem is due to the specific antenna configuration and the ability to short the two antennas, I think it would be appropriate for Apple to find a solution and repair phones that are already in service. If that's not possible, they should offer the choice of a credit to cover the cost of a case or a full refund.



Even phones with the antenna encased in plastic can have the problem-at some level.

Lord, do I have to quote all of this....
I handle various devices everyday of the week and have never seen anything close to what we see with the iPhone 4.
So, all of the various other iPhones had this issue at some level and it was just not posted?
post #26 of 444
Great, So I spend two or three hundred dollars on an iphone, then I am told I am holding the phone wrong. Oh, but it can be fixed by putting tape on this two or three hundred dollar phone. I didn't buy the iphone yet as my current cell phone (6 years old) does not have this reception problem and the phone does not care how I hold it!!! Oops, I am on that other network though!!
post #27 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

EVERY cellphone does that! "Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance"

The iPhone works the same as every other cellphone. It has NO reception problems.


I mean, yeah, if you contort yourself in some bizarre manner, yeah, there may be the same slight loss of signal, but with a normal grip on the device, it works exactly the same as every other cellphone on the planet. They ALL have an attenuated antenna performance when you stupidly hold them in your hand like a normal person.

Have you no experience with cellphones? Everyone who has ever used a cellphone knows that the iPhone 4 has NO unusual problem. It is a non-problem. It is perfectly normal that if you hold a cellphone in your hand, it will drop your call.

You are wrong. I've owned a lot of cellphones over the years and this is different. It is not sensitive to precise positioning and it will go from a perfect 5 bars to zero in seconds. I understand there is signal attenuation based on all sorts of things, but a rapid and complete loss of a strong signal if your left palm touches the lower left corner is orders of magnitude different.
post #28 of 444
I call foul on that Apple! RED CARD RED CARD!!! No way in the world you can get away with that! If i buy the most expensive phone in the market, it better be working any way i hold it!!! The phone had design flaws and Apple better redesign this issue otherwise people will abandon it.
post #29 of 444
Bad Apple!
post #30 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

If you hold the phone properly, with on finger on each piece of glass, you will not have any problems.

If you want to hold the phone like a normal phone, just wear a glove. Problem solved.

It sounds like you can drink wine from your phone. Oh, I need to get a glove to use the phone also. Apple needs to address the problem!!!!!!!!!!!
post #31 of 444
You guys think you have it tough trying to hold the iPhone4 just right so that your signal doesn't degrade? Not so! Try teaching your 3 year old that he can't hold the phone in a natural ergonomic manner! His calls were dropping like flies! <- Mostly kidding, but I did let my 3 year old call his mom last night and the call dropped

"It just works."
post #32 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilbo63 View Post

I'm willing to bet that this has been blown waaaaay out of proportion.

http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/commen...xplained_by_a/

The iPhone's biggest reception problem in the USA is still AT&T. They need to get the iPhone on as many carriers as they can... And soon. This is where Android is going to do the most damage.

The guy says Apple make a trade off. But they didn't, they actually made a product with a design failure. Getting a case so you don't drop calls is absolute bullshit. Apple overlook this one, and it's a big one, and they aren't going to admit it. I won't be buying an iPhone 4, and I'm going to be tell everyone I know not to buy it. This is unacceptable, and Apple are full of shit on this one.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #33 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

That just crossed my mind. Well, actually I was thinking electrical tape.

Oh no. Use duct tape. You can fix anything with duct tape.
post #34 of 444
This is turning into a very ugly product introduction and it really exposes a fundamental flaw at Apple concerning real-world testing... they simply don't know how to do it!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #35 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

It is a cosmetic display issue only. We established that yesterday.

And if it is not a cosmetic display issue only, then it is the same as what every other cellphone does.

And if it is not the same as what every other cellphone does, then you can wrap the phone in a thick layer to keep your hand a proper distance form the antenna.

And if that doesn't work, just lay the phone on a table and use the speakerphone.

See? No problem here. Move along.

There are NO reception problems with the iPhone 4.

Uhmm... It's exactly what I'm saying
post #36 of 444
I would imagine every cell phone might have a reception issue, depending on how it's held...maybe loose a bar or two of reception. Makes sense to me...

But is it normal to have it drop, one by one, all five bars and then drop the call as my new iPhone will do on a constant basis right now?

At first, I was holding out hope there might be an easy fix for this via firmware but based on the comments I'm seeing from Apple, I think that hope is fading away...Now I'm sort of trying to decide what to do? I really like this phone and honestly, I put all my phones in some sort of case anyways but...Something about Apple's tone on this issue is rubbing me the wrong way. A phone should just work, just like any other phone. I or anyone else shouldn't have to change something as basic as how you hold a phone, because of how that phone was designed. And as has been shown, Apple's own marketing stuff shows the phone being held in the same way that causes the current problem.

I noticed on my AT&T bill that the phone can be returned by July 8th. Think I will give this until then to see if this issue sees any resolution and then make a decision. Something as basic as reception just makes me wonder now if there might be other "features" that may show up between now and then...
post #37 of 444
Sounds like a delay tactic to me until they figure out what is really going on and what it will take to fix it.

Why would tape not work if rubber does? Is the scotch tape not resistance to capacitance? maybe electrical tape?

Maybe apple should release the iCondom for safe use of your cell phone.

If touching the area can "short out" the signal - does that mean that well design case can boost the signal?

should be easy enough to experiment with various resistive materials to see what works.

If in fact the true problem is that you cannot touch that spot - it sounds like a serious design flaw to me - regardless of what the other kids in the sandbox have to play with.
post #38 of 444
I like how they use the word "gripping" as opposed to holding or touching. Nice spin Apple. It's true, I can get my RAZR to do the same thing... but I have to put it in a two-handed full coverage death grip to get it to drop from 5 to 3 bars. In the iPhone 4 videos, it seems that just holding the phone normally can make it drop from 5 bars to 0. Kind of a big deal Apple. There's "attenuation" from "gripping" and then there is complete loss of signal from holding the thing normally.
post #39 of 444
iPhone4 = the game of Operation. You can use the device just don't touch the sides.
post #40 of 444
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

Yeah - according to Steve, every cellphone does the same thing when held in your hand.

Steve also says that the iPad is magical.
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