If you are the proud owner of a brand new iPhone 4 and have been disheartened by all the news on the internet about the iPhone 4 losing reception when you hold it in a particular way, there may be some good news for you. If you read our previous post on the features of the new iPhone 4, then you will have noticed that the stainless steel framework of the new iPhone 4, which is broken into 3 parts – each of which acts as an external antenna for Bluetooth, Wifi, GPS, UMTS, GSM.
The cause of the problem is still somewhat ambiguous, but the most widely agreed upon cause until now is that the reception drops when you place your hand on the bottom left corner of the iPhone 4. This causes the break in the steel framework to be "bridged" by your hand, thereby establishing a weak contact between the 2 separate parts of the antenna. This ‘contact’ causes the 2 different signals/circuits to mix up, breaking the reception. You see this as the indicator bars going down on your screen. To support this theory, here is an excellent example video where the problem is demonstrated by using a metallic key (rather than your hand) to touch the two parts of the antenna, and it shows the signal going down.
iPhone 4 Antenna Problem Demonstration
Some reports have also turned up claiming that this problem is related to iOS4 rather than the design of the iPhone 4. This claim has been backed up with evidence that an iPhone 3G running iOS4 loses reception in the same way as an iPhone 4 on being clutched. This problem was absent when the iPhone 3G was running iOS 3.
A lot of solutions have been proposed to this problem and have been tested as working.
- Don’t hold the phone from the bottom left corner – This is probably the most obvious and the most ridiculous of all the proposed solutions. Especially for people who are left handed and are uncomfortable holding in it their right hands. You can also adjust your palm, or use just your fingers to hold the phone, but that isn’t a particularly comfortable position to hold your phone in. Engadget sent out an email to Steve Jobs, asking for an explanation about this issue. His reply : "Just avoid holding it in that way".
- Get a Bumper for your iPhone 4 – Apple launched Bumpers for the iPhone 4 along with the phone, and people who have bought them have reported that using a Bumper fixes the problem of breaking reception. This also points towards the fact that the speculation over the cause being related to "bridging" of the circuit by human touch is true.
- Insulate the break – Some people have also solved the problem without spending any extra cash on cases by applying a little scotch tape over the area so as to insulate the 2 parts from getting in contact with each other while holding it in your hand.
Surprisingly, some people have also reported that their iPhone does not have this problem. However, the number of such users are few.
Are you facing the reception problem with your iPhone 4? Have a solution that we haven’t mentioned in this post? Please leave a comment below.