Home  ›  News  ›

Apple Blames iPhone 4 Reception Issue on Faulty Formula

Article Comments  100+  

Jul 2, 2010, 7:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Jul 2, 2010, 8:01 AM

Apple today issued a lengthy statement about the iPhone 4 and its supposed reception problems. Apple said it was surprised to learn of the signal problems, as its own tests showed the iPhone 4 to have the best reception of any iPhone Apple has shipped. Apple reasserts that holding any phone and covering the antenna will result in a drop in signal strength. Apple set about discovering the root of the problem, and was surprised to discover what is going on. Here's what Apple said, "Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don't know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place." Apple says it is going to ditch the formula it uses to calculate signal strength and will instead use the formular created by AT&T. Apple will issue a software update for the iPhone 4 within the next several weeks that uses the new formula. Apple says its formula has been wrong since the beginning, so the software update will apply to all iPhones. Apple says that the iPhone's actual signal strength will remain unchanged, but it will be reported more accurately by the bars displayed at the top of the phone. Apple apologized for the confusion over this issue, and reminds people that they can still return the iPhone 4 if they are not satisfied with its performance.

source: Apple


This forum is closed.

This forum is closed.


Jul 7, 2010, 10:24 AM

ota push question

I am not married to any one phone or company. I have a large family and rely heavily on push email, calendars, and contacts to keep all of our schedules, etc. in "sync." As a consumer, no access or desire to use Exchange, Mobileme is extremely easy to set up and use - yes it has its problems, this is not a Mobileme commercial. The point is that I am not sold on iPhone 4 and feel obliged to look at Android offerings. The real problem is not losing all of the functionality I would give up with Mobileme. I am not looking for mutli tierd work arounds, google only options as these are not push based. Has anyone actually tried Spanning Sync or other such software to "mimic" the functionality of Mobileme or actually improve on it. Again, alt...

Jul 4, 2010, 10:54 AM

Is this correct?

So instead of fixing the problem, they change the way the problem is reported? Does this not seem like a cop out? Instead of actually fixing the problem they are just going to report poor signal. Btw, I have had over 50 some phones and this is the first time outside of the RZR/KRZR line that this is so pronounced.

I had just decided that I was going to get an iPhone...
i think this is all just a matter of how do you feel about that. no one is gonna purchased or not a phone for waht people say. i think everybody was expecting the super 100% perfcet phone, guess what? there's will never be such a perfect thing

Jul 4, 2010, 6:21 AM


Don't Let the Air Rule You!

Apple's "Signal Formula" has been hiding actual crappy AT&T coverage all along! Just another way the 2 companies have been working together to drive revenue streams from the sale of the iPhone from day one, while sacrificing the needs of the customer.
How long has the iPhone been on the Market? 2007!! And, they just figured it out.....
lol thats hilarious, those were exactly my thoughts when I was reading this article and ima go on a whim here and give you the benefit of the doubt, It should have been obvious though with all those customers who said they had full signal but still ha...

Jul 2, 2010, 5:54 PM

I Find It Ironic...

...that Phone Scoop is advertising Cell Boosters on the same page as this forum topic. 🙂
its like facebook, it knows when your single so it recommends dating sites. lol

Jul 5, 2010, 10:26 AM

Face it Folks, The REAL Culprit Here is AT&T

In Consumer Reports recent user surveys, AT&T still scores WELL BELOW other big three.

1. Verizon - All RED Circles across the board.
2. T-Mobile - All RED Circles in EVERY ASPECT of Customer Service.
3. Sprint - All BLACK Circles in EVERY ASPECT of Customer Service.
4. AT&T - ALL BLACK CIRCLES, Rated WELL BELOW Average in the areas of Voice Quality, Signal, and EVERY ASPECT of Customer Service.

Now you know why I'm not an iPhone owner.

Any questions ?!?!?!??
Consumer Reports will be more than a bit biased because they have been pitching Verizon for years. The consumer responses are from their own subscriber base so it is not an objective study.
Their "findings" often contradict real objective network st...

Jul 2, 2010, 11:46 PM

More bars in More Places?

I wonder how many other phones have this "flaw"? Those who can should work to keep phone makers honest.
att = less bars in more places 😁

Jul 2, 2010, 12:28 PM

Interesting....Glad I jumped ship to an EVO

This is amazing to me. I actually thought something wasn't quite right with my original iPhone and later my 3GS.

I got the original iPhone in 2007. Then, I got a 3GS in 2009. It did seem that my signal bars were almost always at 4 or 5 bars anywhere I went. I wondered if this was just a great phone with great reception or if it was too good to be true.

Now, having read this news from Apple, it leads me to believe the latter. Apple, how have you just now figured this out? Why would they have chosen to use their own "math" for the signal strength indicator as opposed to the service provider's? Wouldn't the service provider have the most accurate representation of signal strength determination?

It also has me thinking that AT&T could...
This is an Apple issue and not an AT&T issue.
I often go camping all over the Pacific Northwest and with the exception of US Cellular customers AT&T customers are the only ones with consistent coverage. Unless of course you own any iPhone. I have lo...
Not to gloss over the antenna issues, but the Evo makes the iPhone 4 look flawless by these issues .
jumped ship to an EVO
freakin zombie the main reason this country its soo mess up too many followers no leaders
sad sad 😕

Jul 2, 2010, 12:48 PM

Trapped Like A Rat!

Overstating signal strength is an old trick used to by manufacturers to make their phones appear powerful. Sanyo did this about four or five years ago and got a jump on their competitors by doing that same thing. Back then, everyone was saying how great the reception was on their Sanyo phones, but it was all BS. Now, Apple got caught doing the same thing. Apple says that they were surprised to learn that they were overstating their own signal strength! Oh, please....really? lol Every dog has his day!
And Nokia and Ericsson and.. and.. and...
Old trick. People should know that the bars are a relative estimation of signal, not an accurate measurement

Jul 5, 2010, 1:34 PM

Still doesn't excuse poor RF performance

This boondoggle aside, It's a known fact that ALL iPhones have subpar reception when compared many of the phones out their in the market.

Apple isn't an RF company and the have never been known for their abilities to tackle this issue.

Not only that, ATT would have certainly dropped other phones that perform this poorly, but they waived too much for this phone.
Any carrier would have done the same. Apple's brand is beyond hot. It would be foolish to not do so. Most wireless customers are in urban areas that will see no issues with poor rf performance. So far the gamble has paid off for AT&T. It could be that...

Jul 2, 2010, 2:32 PM

Guess iphone will be on Verizon soon

According to a recent Bloomberg report stating this and Apple coming forth and basically saying At&t's network....well....sucks! I think this spike in complaints are from people that just recently signed up with At&t from other carriers to get the iphone 4. Previous customers must have been accustomed to the state of At&t's network...which apparently is over exaggerated. I always hated At&t's stupid dancing bars that fluctuated so much you could barely count the damn bars. All this At&t backlash is quite comforting given all of the crap they gave me over the years....aah 😁
Interesting since AT&T has an exclusive until 2012. Not even Apple can get around that.

Like I have posted elsewhere, Verizon does not have the bandwidth to handle that much iphone traffic. How can 30 mhz be better equipped than 70mhz? Can no one e...
Please, oh, Please put the iPhone on Verizon. That way I can laugh at all the retards that think their network can support such a powerful phone. Couple points to support this is that it has taken AT&T years to keep the network stable with all of th...
"All this At&t backlash is quite comforting given all of the crap they gave me over the years....aah"

Pay your bill on time and they will leave you alone
AT&T has so many problems because voice and data can be used at the same time on 3G, on Verizon you are using data or voice, not both unless you are on WiFi. Verizon also used 4 times the amount of data that AT&T used and had 0 problems. Verizon CEO e...
people 1- contract exp 2012
2- what they going to call it; the verizon iphone the icrap.
3- rumors!!!! it wont happen at least for the next 3 or four years!!!! 🤣
4- verizon freaking sucks anyways bring the iphone to a real network sprint

Jul 2, 2010, 11:13 AM


Has anyone actually confirmed that the $30 rubberbands aka Bumpers fix the death grip signal issue?

If so does it completely fix the issue or does it help but not 100% fixed?
what every it does shouldn't be called a fix.....it would be more liken to a mask, but from what i've hear there are no issues after using the bumper.
If you have any sort of case on the phone the issue disappears entirely.

(You may see a minimal drop in signal performance if you try to faraday-cage it with your hands, but that's to be expected.)
Daniel Dc5

Jul 2, 2010, 11:02 AM

What a piece of %$#@

How many idiots out there are going to believe that Apple the power house of revolutionizing the cell phone game with the Iphone, has had 3 iphones out and all had ****ty service. All of a sudden they make this out date iphone 4 and because you hold it it drops signal and its not their fault. You can kiss my A&& apple, they just can nto admit what they have done and your telling me when you hold the phone and it has two bars will actually have no signal at all? I cant stand this any more. Its so ridiculousness that this is even happening, this phone was all hype and not is all crap. Take a Androud phone any day after this, all the customization that you want, all the free apps that you want and guess what it can make phone calls. This is so ...
Don't have antenna / reception issues. 🤣

Jul 3, 2010, 10:54 PM


I received my iPhone 4 in the box and have not taken it out. I have all sorts of apple stuff from the MAC to the iTV to the Power Book and this I have to say is a real let down. Steve JObs really did a number on this issue and ended up losing allot of loyal apple fans. Why he listened to his RND dept and not fire them all I can only wonder. Since it is the RND dept that is responsible for testing and insuring quality before market launch. I purchased 2 of these phones to grade them from the 3Gs and YUP when you touch the antenna; signal drops like a ROCK 👿. Steve Jobs really has become a corporate greedy SNOB.

Does any one DROID works on MACs?
😈 😢
It's ok to be mad, just don't beat yourself up over this. Welcome to the Droid club. If you'r still on ATT they will be getting that new Samsung, hopefully not too crippled. Otherwise port your number on over to one of the other providers. Vz is o...
Yes I have a Droid and it works wonderfully with my Macbook Pro. I've had the first gen iPhone and once I got the Droid....I never looked back. No more dropped calls...not even ONCE on Verizon.

Jul 4, 2010, 9:11 AM

Face It, The REAL Culprit Here is AT&T Folks

In Consumer Reports recent user surveys, AT&T still scores WELL BELOW the other three.

1. Verizon - All RED Circles across the board.
2. T-Mobile - All RED Circles in EVERY ASPECT of Customer Service.
3. Sprint - All BLACK Circles in EVERY ASPECT of Customer Service.
4. AT&T - ALL BLACK Circles, Rated WELL BELOW Average in the areas of Voice Quality, Signal, and EVERY ASPECT of Customer Service.

Now you know why I'm not an iPhone owner.

Any questions ?!?!?!??
You're a very smart individual. It's easier to hate on the carrier than the manufacturer. Chances are you hold to this belief cause like so many haters from other carriers out there, as soon as the iPhone is available for the carrier you are on you ...

Jul 2, 2010, 8:43 AM

Apple reminds everyone they can return the phone if not satisfied.

Thats pretty much all their is to it.

If you're not satisfied with the performance of your iPhone, bring it back to the store.

I wonder how many people are going to put their money where their mouth is and return their iPhone based on performance? Chances are, a few will. And rightfully so, if it doesn't work for you return it.

Re-stocking fee's?
Expect to pay those with any phone you return, or exchange not just the iPhone. (or any electronic device btw)

Has anyone here changed their mind about purchasing their iPhone, or has anyone here purchased the iPhone and plans on returning it based on performance?* **

*not being sarcastic, I'm just wondering

**This question doesn't apply to those who already hate the i...
Yeah, actually I've owned every model so far and was waiting for the white one to come out - but I am definitely hesitating now. If they don't do something by the time the white comes out, I'm not sure I'm buying it anymore.

The 3GS is a better ...
I'm sorry, you have officially been sheeped, Steve Jobs, just sat there and said we are going to send you an update that lowers your bars, so it wont look like you lost coverage when you cover the antenna. Whats even more sad, is you fail to even ackn...
Yet they are giving people false hope in that this "magical" update which will be released in a few weeks will fix it. Well in three weeks it will be 7-23 and anyone that purchased a launch day phone has one day to see if it really fixes it.

If Ap...
I just don't like the squared off style and the fact that there is glass on the back of the phone. As far as reception issues goes... seriously, you just spent $300 on a phone and you're going to quibble about a $30 case that you can pick up on Ebay ...
I don't know what all the fuss is about. The version 4 runs better than my version 1 iPhone. I get download speeds on 3G over 1 MB and reception has been great (not a dropped call yet). Some people...

Jul 2, 2010, 9:57 AM

So what is the solution?

What do people propose Apple to do about it?

If it is a software issue, a simple update will fix it.

If it is a true antenna placement problem, do they go back to the drawing board and redesign the device and stop sales on the millions of devices already ordered?

What are people's thoughts on how to fix it?
crApple already told you, just 'buy' a $30 rubber band to cover the antenna. Such arrogance but considering the source...I don't think Sir Steve has had training in crisis management. Look look look, all new high performance phones seem to have some ...

Jul 2, 2010, 6:26 PM

New "fix" not out until after 30-day return.

All the iPhone4 preorders are pretty much SOL if they want to wait for this "fix" which is due out "in the next few weeks". By the time the "fix" is issued out, they'll already be past their 30-day period.

Rather than admitting there is a defect in the iPhone's hardware causing faulty reception, they're blaming it on a software defect in how the bars are shown. In other words, in the upcoming weeks, your iPhone4s will still have the exact same reception issues, and your bars will be low enough to reflect that.

Genius on Apple's part, at the expense of their loyal customers.
Don't you just hate how only Apple can get away with this? I don't hate it.. personally... I hate when people blame a manufacturer for an issue, yet many of the public still go out the buy that product. Kinda like how EVO 4G loyalists hate on the iP...

Jul 5, 2010, 7:07 PM


I ordered mine on line and based on the apple letter that was posted on the APPLE site it stated the following: As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund". 🙂
Hey great so I go to the store and NOW they tell me that they do not except on line returns even though the website stated the complete opposite. So I showed them the apple letter and they got tongue tied and still said that it was their policy that they can only take in store purchases.
Not only did they screw up on the reception issue for the phone they cant even communicate the fact that the stores should be taking the phones even if ordered o...

Jul 2, 2010, 8:08 AM

So let me get this straight...

Yes, I understand that if you hold any phone near the bottom, it will kill service. That's been proven and is all well and good. I stuck a case on mine, no more drop in service...blah blah blah.

I know this software update will give a more accurate display of signal strength, but how exactly is that effecting my service now? Is it when my phone has 5 bars, it really could have 3 or more instead? So people who have dropped calls are actually in a place of low service, but they don't know that because their phone reads 2 bars extra... right?

I mean, it kind of makes sense, but that'd only be if I dropped a call with 2 or 3 bars left. But that doesn't really seem to address the death grip issue any further than previously. Not that I am u...
You would be correct. It does not change the reception issue. It only alerts the users more accurately that they will be dropping their call when gripped in the wrong place.
Well guess what, I can wrap both my hands around my Moto Droid and !!STILL!! have 4 bars.
The issue isn't whether you can death grip any phone. The issue is whether or not the iPhone 4 is any more susceptible to a death grip than other phones.

This appears to be the case since despite this being a possibility on all phones, I've never ...

Jul 2, 2010, 7:54 AM

Very Eloquent Response...

...for a problem amazingly overlooked by Apple. This makes it worse technically.

This will be fixed by a software upgrade. However; If I am correct, this will only bring realistic signal strength to the display while not solving the dropped call issue. The reception will remain the same.

Not only that, but it'll tale "several weeks"! WoW!
Your phone was on a subpar network all along. In case you didn't already know, we'll officially inform you in a few weeks.
Exactly, so it's like a double backhand to the face. Problem still exists and signal strength will appear worse than your used to.

un f'ing real.
Page  1 2

Subscribe to news & reviews with RSS Follow @phonescoop on Threads Follow @phonescoop on Mastodon Phone Scoop on Facebook Follow on Instagram



All content Copyright 2001-2024 Phone Factor, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content on this site may not be copied or republished without formal permission.