iPhone 4 experiencing signal drop when antenna band is held?

iPhone 4 noise cancelation

Starting off with a complaint in the MacRumors forums and soliciting other user feedback from there, Gizmodo is compiling a hefty list of people whose brand new iPhone 4 would drop from full bars to next to none -- when they held it by the stainless steel antenna band.

Is it shorting something when both parts are connected by a conductive human hand? Is it a pressure issue? Just some units or all of them?

UPDATE: Engadget says it might happen most frequently when its held in the left hand and skin touches the area where the BT/Wi-Fi/GPS antenna meets the GSM/UMTS antenna.

We don't know yet but if you're having the same problem let us know!

[MacRumors, Gizmodo]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 193 comments. Add yours.

Josh says:

I definitely am experiencing this as I usually get full bars in my house with the 3GS.

phrint says:

Happening to me but it's not really that big of a deal. Design flaw. Hold your hands differently on the phone.

andrew flores says:

its probably a software issue thats affecting the the signal or how many bars its showing or something. wait for update 4.1

t0m says:

Put it into plastic case it came in, full bars. Hold it 2 bars. Hmm...

zeagus says:

I haven't seen this, though I have had weirdly variable bars (doesn't seem to actually prevent calling).

Russ says:

Having the same exact problem...4 bars consistently if I'm not holding it, as soon as I put my hands on it (like holding during a phone call) bars are gone and dropped call
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2475009&tstart=0

Tom says:

Just wear one glove at all times. Problem solved lol

bruce says:

Put on a case, that should solve it. lol

Yes says:

Mine drops at least three bars when I hold around antenna

Tim says:

Yep, happens every time i cover that switch to turn vibrate/ring off and on. Also gets so bad, it won't even send texts sometimes.

Joe McG says:

Does anybody have the bumper Apple is selling? Perhaps the bumper is the answer...

Mike says:

Works fine when I wear a catcher's mitt. Otherwise the reception is really affected. Uggghhh.

be gentle says:

I'm not having this problem. but I'm also not squeezing the life out of my shiny new iphone 4 so I don't see why I would lol.

Noodles says:

How is this a software issue when it happens by touching the hardware? This is hardware related, most folks will not want to use a case. According to Gizmodo, a Danish professor who is an expert on antennas, predicted this would happen. This is a major issue for Apple.

audicy says:

Hmmm…Maybe one of the real world testers of the pre-production device would have noted that issue, had he not lost it in a bar… Just sayin’

Batman78 says:

That's why apple sells the bumpers!!!

falconeight#IM says:

I've been trying my hardest to get my phone to do this but It doesn't work I always have 5 bars

Scoyt says:

Same problem, I drop to no reception when holding the phone. Man, I love this thing but this sucks!

jakej914 says:

Seriously? They're gonna make me pay $29 bucks for some rubber to actually be able to make calls?...-_-

MILE says:

Well, first of all -- the showed bars don't necessarily reflect the actual reception strength…
And secondly -- if that was really an issue, I'm pretty sure Apple would have noticed during their testing period,m wouldn't they…?! Also, how come that none of the testing journalists (Pogue, Ihnatko, Mossberg and many other) even mention anything like that…?!
I don't have my iPhone 4 yet, but I kinda doubt that it will really be affected by how I hold it…

Michael in Maine says:

If that's so, then they should have supplied the bumpers as part of the phone! (Of course, with some Apple fans, the Big A can do nothing wrong. It must be user error!)

thekevinmonster says:

I thought that was really weird that the antennae were on the outside of the phone like that. It seems kind of obvious that it would impact the reception. Go grab the antenna on an FM radio. What happens to the reception? Of course, there is a significant frequency difference between the two...

Carolinamic says:

I'll still be picking mine up tomorrow with a case now. Lol

lazerbyte says:

I noticed it when I went outside to use my phone and was holding it my bars started dropping rapidly!!

Batman78 says:

My iPhone4 arrived at my house a little while ago. While at bestbuy last night I picked up an ifrogz case for it so if it is what people are saying then I am covered.

Paul says:

Really doubt Apple just sold 600k units of a product that breaks when you hold it like 90% of people are going to

Jackie says:

In have been testing my phone since I got it this afternoon. It is storming where I am and signal is bouncing no matter what I do, but it's not going less than 3 bars... No issue

SoCal says:

Anybody with video on this issue?

KP says:

Seems like a really simple thing they should have noticed in testing, if true. Between this and the discolored screens, I'm kinda glad I wasn't able to get a preorder.

JF7FSU says:

Mine has five bars no matter how I hold it.

iphonemilk says:

I'm hoping that this is only for a certain % of units.

zeagus says:

Nevermind... after watching the vids and holding differently I can reproduce this at will :(

Mr. Nelson says:

It's like its a smart phone with no phone. Amazing! Apple is always ahead of the curve

Kevin says:

I'll believe it when I see a video of it. Does nobody realize this site is full of trolljobs? Relax people.

rich says:

both mine have full bars no matter what direction i hold it

bryan says:

i found same thing but seemed to be only when all three "sections" of the frame are being touched. there is a left, right and bottom "section" - if i only touch the left and right side, which seemed to be my natural way of holding it, the problem didn't happen, but if i touch the bottom one at the same time as the other two..signal gone.

A says:

What states are you people getting no service or less bars??

Steve says:

Hold the phone at the top. Not a big deal.
-Steve
Sent from my iPhone

DK says:

How come none of the reviews that have come out mention this issue? In fact most say the iPhone 4 has better reception than the 3Gs.
Maybe I should try and get my hands on one of those preview versions just in case haha

Webvex says:

A case will be mandatory. Sometimes touching an antenna helps, sometimes it makes reception worse. But the other problem with an exposed frame/chassis is that if you drop it all the shock is directly transmitted to the internal components. There's a reason, besides appearance, why electronic devices come in cases.
Next up, scratched screens. You can't have hardness and toughness at the same time, despite what the marketers say. They wanted to avoid cracked screens, but it's a comprise and there will be more scratches.

Josh says:

Gizmodo think they are the shot they should just stfu and get a real job and get off Apples nuts

Rob says:

Ugh, this is going to be the same thing as the reports of the 3GS overheating when it first came out. Yes, if I use Att navigator while playing music, all while my phone is on the dashboard in July, it over heats. Just like I'm sure if you hold your iPhone 4 awkwardly in your fist and squeeze the heck out of it, it loses service. These reports will be forgotten in a week.

David says:

Personally, I think this is b.s. Gizmondo was the one to report on AT&T and the account info being leaked during the first day of sales for the iPhone 4. They are the ones leading the report on the antenna. Do you really think this would have left r&d without someone catching this? Really? Gizmondo has an ax to grind with Apple and you are all sheep. I find it hard to believe that this many people have gotten their iPhones early. You're all believing the Gizmondo hype. And shame on TiPb for jumping on the band wagon minus any actual first hand evidence.

Noonan says:

i dont think holding it is making a difference for me.... still depressing. cant the iphone just be perfect for once. it was until i read this.

brandonb6274 says:

I believe this is why apple is pushing the bumper, I'll bet the sales associate at the store will suggest it tomorrow.

Dan says:

mine doesnt do this :/

Adam says:

I have been using my new iPhone 4 like a machine. No dropped bars or calls. Don't believe this stuff if you have not received your phone yet. Like someone else said it is just like the 3GS overheating and that never happened.
I have made and received about 8 calls on my new phone and I actually think the reception is better that my 3GS. Also you will love this thing screen and battery life!

RWD HERO says:

Received my iPhone 4 this morning at 9:30 eastern time. This is the first I have heard of the signal problem. I have had nothing but luck so far with this phone, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot get it to replicate this issue. No dropped calls, and nothing but 5 bars in the Baltimore City area. I'm in love all over again.

Cwells says:

My phone is most deff. Affected by this I just tries it about 30 times and long behold everytime I'm holding the two antennas I go from full service to NONE WTF apple better address this issue soon !!!!

Philip says:

Apperantly the issue is not the antenna of the iphone 4 its the software. This video shows how an iphone 3G has the same issue after being upgraded to IOS4. So no its not the iPhone 4's problem its the new iOS4 update.
heres the iphone 3g with thw same problem running ios 4http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84Lpt2YkF3Q

TumnusMr says:

Looks more like a case of providing the user with too much information, specifically an oversensitive signal display.
In all the investigations so far (and previous reviews) there have been no significant reports of dropped calls. If anything the iPhone 4 has fewer dropped calls (I can make and receive calls on my i4 in a spot in my house that was previously a deadspot)
So if the call quality is good don't worry about it.

Rob says:

@Cwells. Why would anyone believe you. Your not even...........literate.

rich says:

actually am experiencing this issue now that i am using the phones.
also my face time doesn't work. it's not even an option and yes i'm under wi-fi..my wife's phone has it though and we are sitting next to each other

cedric says:

in this video they show how the phone lost signal ...its real Apple better get on this nowhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ixIHyEPO5g&feature=player_embedded#!

Scorp says:

I think the issue may be both software and hardware. Ever since I updated to 4.0 on Monday, my signal has been wacky. At my desk at work I only get 1 bar now but before I got 4-5. And I am using a 3GS. Interestingly, the connection still seems to be strong though but I didn't notice how my bars have been affected since the update. I didn't update my wife's phone and her's show 5 bars in our house. Mine show 3 and they are sitting right next to each other. I don't think this is a conspiracy theory against Apple either. I think the problem is existent but I also think some aren't having the issues. Whatever the case is, it's unfortunate and I'm sure Apple will fix the problem with either replacements or software update because I'm sure they are hearing about this with all the people calling them and AT&T about the problems.

Cwells says:

@rob sorry I'm not an English major...but instead of criticism on other peoples English maybe you should provide us with something usefull about the topic....

BSmith4832 says:

My friend made a video - he can't reproduce it at this point...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvuoKw2cUBA

behrlover says:

@Rich - Do a restore and start a new iphone.....

t0m says:

When it grip it tight now, nothing changes. Probably just everyone being a Nervous Nelly.

Rob says:

@ cwells I did, 7 comments above your original post. I see you are capable of righting intelligently though. Maybe you should continue paying attention to what you right even when your not defending yourself for being stupid.

Rob says:

God damn autocorrect made me look stupid right = write. You win cwells

jfelipe83 says:

well i did a test and i did not get any loos of bars and i also saw apost in gizmodo about the screen having some yellow spots or lines but i did not get that either

jc222huey says:

@Rob
I believe it is "writing" and "write".

visi says:

@Rob IDIOT. Is this literate?

Noonan says:

iphonemilk.... ty, makes me feel 100x better

iphonemilk says:

Everyone RELAX! call off the hounds! it's a software issue! plain as day!
RELAX! it's a software issue! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84Lpt2YkF3Q

Bob Marley14 says:

Is there any way TIPB can remove the pic of that botox laden brunette on the home page holding up the iPad case?
She looks hideous!

Ashere says:

Hey i just did the same thing on my 3gs. I don't know how but this has to be a software problem.

Paul says:

I almost guarantee it's a software issue. These problems happen all the time when you get a new iphone or when you update the software version IF you RESTORE FROM A BACK-UP. All the people experiencing this issue have you restored from back-up?? I would recommend restoring the phone to ios4 and then not restoring from back-up(save your pics!!)and just sync the phone to itunes. You'll lose all your texts and recent phone calls, but at least your phone will be running better... HOPEFULLY LOL

iphonemilk says:

LOL thanks Paul... im trying to spread your video around :) thanks for making it.

Dwayne says:

I just did it with my 3G, running 3.1.3. Tried it five times in a row, it happened every time. Went from 5 bars to 2. Of course, I would never hold the phone like that when talking. Anyone else seeing this?

paulrkiii says:

iPhoneMIlk.....great minds think alike...just trying to get the word our that it isn't limited to the iphone 4....

Tofi says:

I am unfortunately and undoubtedly experiencing this issue. Holding the phone by the glass will maintain 4-5 bars. Moments after touching the metal side the bars start dropping until it says no service. Going back to holding it touching the glass only or setting it on a table almost immediately th e bars come back one by one. Good news: I have better signal then 3GS when not touching the sides. Bad News: I have worse signal than 3GS when touching the sides. 

Visi says:

This is not a software problem. My 3gs 4.0 is ok.

keynatl says:

It looks like a software problem and not a major one. I'm sure Apple is working on the issue as we speak and will have a update for you guys ready in the morning or by mid-day tomorrow... So chill its not the end of the world! Side note: I'm glade I'm waiting for the white model ;) lol

Scorp says:

Visi, just like everyone's iPhone 4 isn't having problems everyone's 3GS probably wouldn't see the problem either. I know my 3GS is having crazy signal changes when I pick it up and put it down. It was doing it all day at work and I just disregarded and now I see why. I do think there may be hardware issues too but seems to be mostly software.

HockeyMom4 says:

I have a 3G with 4.0 that I did a complete restore to the original settings and its happening on mine too, with or without the protective plastic case.

iphonemilk says:

My theory is this has to do with a certain settings.
For example it could be ANYTHING. anything random like 60% screen brightness, or hell Push turned off.. and brightness on half... or ANYTHING..
and that's why the results are all Sporadic..
but the important thing to note here is that it's not JUST the iPhone 4. Which means it can't be a hardware issue.
Unless someone wants to IMPLY that 3G owners and 3Gs owners have had this problem this WHOLE time and never noticed it until now. which i think is ludacris.
It's software. and based on settings.
~There, problem figured out. Now lets sit back and watch apple Say what i just said. and tell us what the exact setting/bug is.

Visi says:

Scorp. I have 3g and 3gs. Both with 4.0, factory unlocked and complete restore. Maybe is a carrier/software problem.

Andy Kahn says:

I am having the same issue. I get three to four bars at home normally. The phone gets 2-3 when tethered to the computer. One when untethered, no signal when held in my hand. This has created a 2 year contracted ipod touch for me.....I wonder what the fix will be?
Andy

Scorp says:

Visi, yeah that may be true. I know mine only been acting crazy since 4.0. Prior to that everything was golden. I'm not saying the iPhone 4 doesn't have hardware issues but I think the software has something to do with this. I'm sure Apple has done extensive testing with the antenna on the outside so one thing that they may have missed was actually testing the antenna with the new OS. So now we have a bunch of "testers" now who have gotten theirs early who are probably doing something that Apple may not have been able to test extensively. Who knows. But I do know something isn't right with 4.0. Like many others, it had to be set up as a new iPhone rather than restore from back up like any other upgrade or else your data may not work. Now that's just crazy to me. I'm sure an update will be out in the next couple days.

rome1453 says:

Is this why there is the bumper?

Martin says:

Isn't the new iPhone
suppose to run on 4g?
Why isn't it say 3g on some phones

Scorp says:

Look at this video. When the covers the black lines the bars drop.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-BR-LgA9Lw

Mav says:

Relax, folks. All radio devices are affected by the human body interference. I just "tested" my wife's Nokia phone and sure as hell bars dropped from 4 to 1 when I hugged the phone. That's why antenna design is important. It all depends on where antenna is located, what materials are used for the casing, how you hold the phone etc. You mileage may vary.
Of course, with an exposed antenna, iPhone 4 is more prone to interference from touch. Then again, it depends how you hold a phone and conductivity of your skin (which is a separate topic in itself). In any case the interference either will not affect the call quality very much in most situations or, if you are really concerned, use a non-metal protective case as a shield.

Max Bloom says:

My bars haven't been affected in the slightest way. I don't know what you all are talking about

Spelchek says:

@ (literate) Rob
your = possessive pronoun
you're = contraction - you are
Noboby's perfect.

Tomas says:

Same here needs a case!:(

Jeff B. says:

I decided to wait on getting a new phone, mainly because I want a white one, but also because I wanted to see what the reception would be like. In Chicago, my iPhone sucks as a phone though data is great. I was hoping that reception would improve with the new design and the big deal about the antenna as the announcement.
Bummer.

Monty 3 says:

Oh snap. My 3GS does it too in Northern Virginia. I thought this was total BS until i watched the link above. Full bars in my house. I took my case off my phone and held the phone lightly from top and sides, all my bars disappeared. WTF?

Edgar says:

I predict a substantial rush of iPhone users adopting Andorid in the near future.
There are a huge list of problems in the new iPhone 4
Signal collapses when you hold it in the most natural way
Yellow color totally missing from many handsets
Running HOT,
Scratching back case cover,
Activation failures,
Loss of Data connection using iOS4 on 3Gs phones
Very slow 3G data, almost approaching EDGE speeds.
iOS4 a total bust on iphone 3G. Don't even go there. SLOOOW.
9 hour upgraded for 3Gs phones in some cases
The whole iPhone 4 launch seems to have been botched by Apple standards.
People still using iPhones 3G will probably abandon them en mass and move to
any number of the recent Android releases, even the ones offered by AT&T.

Captaincane64 says:

I talked to AT&T and they said they are experiencing some issues with the phone service in some areas. That could be the reason for the issue.
Glad I am waiting until the 29th!

Marc says:

Mine drops at least 3 bars when I touch the sides.

Nick says:

It's so beautiful, apple punishes you when your holding the Device :O

martin says:

If the new Iphone is IOS-4
why does the phones still say 3g?
thought it was going to be running 4g speed
please clarify?

Jason says:

Hey guys I don't have my iPhone 4 yet but thought I'd let you know that the 3GS does this too. When first got mine it would do this. Had it replaced and it will still loose bars a signal strength when I hold it in certain areas. Not that big of a deal. Maybe it's different with the iPhone 4. I'll find that out tommarow.

brownat89 says:

@ Martin,
Seriously! IT'S NOT A 4G PHONE!!!
Anyways, I tried this on my 3g, also in Northern Virginia, and nothing changed, still had full bars in my basement. I plan on setting the iPhone 4 up as a new phone tomorrow and not restoring from backup.

Cam says:

Remember how Apple was concealing their test units in cases? It's no wonder they didn't stumble upon this issue when the phone was covered. Anyone think a bumper case could help. My issue is more than just the bars themselves visually displaying fewer, I'm dropping more calls and not getting pages to load in places that worked fine before.

Timber says:

To all the people that can't do it....its easy and I did it on 5 of my friends iphone's.....stop lying, 4 realz.

Turbo says:

I can make my os 3.1.2 3g phone do this by laying it on my palm and wrapping my fingers around the edge... Goes down from full to 2-3 bars on cue. Inever noticed thisbefore because I don't hold my phone this way and it's never out of it's incase case. I can't make my phone do this if the case is on, only when naked.

dloveprod says:

That's messed up, I thought it was gonna be better

JR says:

All iPhones do this now and they have always done it. In fact other phones do this as well.

Thom says:

Martin The iPhone 4 still runs on the 3G network. That's the network you are seeing. There is no 4G network available with ATT

Paul says:

I'm not experiencing any signal drops when I touch the frame...

Nick says:

These iPhone launches bring out the OCD in everybody, and the trolls. The new phone is fine. Enjoy it.

KazM says:

When I saw this, I went to try it out. My iPhone 4 drops bars also. The Nexus One does this also. This is so strange. But my iPhone 3GS doesn't do it.

jugarte says:

$29.00USD for not experiencing signal drop on the iPhone 4... and we give you for free an iPhone 4 rubber Bumper!! (*beautiful colors available)
Always yours,
Apple -always trying to sell you something- staff.

Drake says:

Mine just goes down to 2 bars. I believe it's a long-running problem with how the OS interprets the amount of bars and not the actual signal strength itself.

Edgar says:

@Nick
How can you say it is fine with this problem, and the yellow splotches?

Jay says:

So does it not happen if you hold it by the front/back glass? I have a hard time thinking Apple wouldn't have figured this out during testing...

Danny says:

Just tryed it on my 3gs on 4.0 bars do drop

Daniel says:

I hate that in the iphone 4 its suddenly drops all signal to no service :@

BSmith4832 says:

Another video of my friends iPhone 4. He couldn't replicate it at home but we were able to do it at the bar. Not as extensive and quick as others - but it definitely changed (sort of sporadic though, sometimes fine, sometimes completely lost signal). Please read description in YouTube video. Feel free to contact me at my username @gmail.com.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ174Dh4dv4&feature=youtube_gdata

Andrew says:

My iPhone is also doing the same thing. This sucks.
Is there any way to fix this?

Jaymes says:

I noticed this as soon as I activated my iPhone 4. I haven't lost service completely, but the signal indicator drops all bars. I'm very concerned!

whsingleton says:

Bridge the gap on the lower left side of the stainless steel band. That's what does it.

Richard says:

Yup mine is doing this as well, will drop from 4 bars all the way down to searching for signal when holding the iPhone.

nuflat says:

Not the case I have a rubber cover on the phone and it still does the same thing. It has to be a software issue. I updated my wife's 3GS to iOS 4 and it is doing the same thing now. Riddle me that one Batman!

whsingleton says:

I should correct what I said above (to clarify)... Bridge the gap on the lower left side of the stainless steel band with the same finger and wait and the bars will drop. Then, take your finger away and the bars come back. You can even do this with the phone on a table and without touching the phone anywhere else.

jimmy t says:

how can this be a software issue if you PHYSICALLY hold the ANTENNA BAND with your HAND. its not like theres a button that tells the software to lose the signal

Geometro says:

Upgraded my 3G to ios4, can't for the life of me get the signal to drop from full bars... I'm no longer feeding the trolls and I suggest you do the same. On Rogers in Canada btw

Macboy74 says:

No problems here. And I have held it all over the phone and it stays at 4-5 bars. Wth is going on here are there bad phones and good phones?

Macboy74 says:

Also I find that I have better reception on this phone then my 3GS in the house and at home. No problems at all been playing with it since 3:30 when it showed up at my door. Emailing texting 20 calls. Battery os great too. Awesome.

theogt says:

And it's doing it to mine. What a major disaster for Apple. It's hard to believe they'd release the product without realizing this.

theogt says:

Okay, I've run speed test after speed test after speed test, and there's virtually no correlation to win I have bars or not. I can cover the bottom of the phone and it will go down to no bars and I will test at 1400+ kbps. Or I can only hold it by the glass and it will have full 3G service and will test at around 800 kbps. Extremely odd. But it doesn't really concern me now after testing the service.

Martin says:

Seems to be a whole lot of issues with my iPhone. So Really frustrating when you dish out huge bucks for something that wont work.Thinking of just returning this sucks balls noway am waiting a week or 2 plan on going to verizon droid x looks good to me now

Peter says:

Just to chime in, been using my phone for twelve hours and testing all different ways to hold the phone. Have found zero change in bars, and zero change in reception.

Fraydog says:

I have the Black 16GB iPhone 3GS and I was able to replicate the same issue with my phone... however, when I held it normally, in both right and left hands, I experienced zero signal degradation. Only when I wrapped my hands and/or fingers all the way around the exterior metal band was I able to get the signal to drop.
Note, when I hold the phone normally, I usually do not wrap my hand all the way around the metal band I hold it in the fingers with the fleshy pad of my hand lightly touching the iPhone. I think it may be a hardware issue but I think the fix might be to just handle the phone and not claw it. I will be very interested to see if I can replicate the issue on an iPhone 4 when I can get to an Apple Store and try this.

OmariJames says:

Thank god I didn't buy one. I thought it was a break through and that I was going to get significantly better service , less dropped calls , faster data etc.
I think it's always been the phone that caused bad phone service. I don't hear blackberry users complaining about the amount of dropped calls.
Guess that's why they invented the bumpers too.

(Copy of) Dev says:

I can confirm whsingleton's observations. Here is one way I have been able consistently to cut two bars.
1) Place your phone face up on a table and take note of your number of bars.
2) Press the index finger of each hand up against the gaps in the aluminum band on each side of the phone. You do not have to press hard, but make sure your fingers firmly cover both gaps.
3) Count slowly. Usually by 8, but always by 15, one or two bars will drop off the signal strength indicator. Removing the fingers will restore the bars after a similar delay.
Will this be a problem for "normal" users? I do not know. The way I hold my phone, I do not cover both gaps at the same time, and results have been inconclusive for me when I only cover one gap or the other. If coverage of one gap, or the coverage provided by typical silicon cases, cause similar loss of reception, Apple could have an embarrassing (if not costly) problem on their hands.

bvonscott says:

Hahahhahahahahhahahhaahhahahhahahhahahhahah. Ok i had to get that out. This is the most ridiculous blog post ive ever seen. Whats next... Omfg my iphone shocked me and caught my hand on fire... aaaahhh! Lol. Hey, listen, this is basic electronics stuff. Have you ever held a tv antenna to get better reception? Its because you have a super small electromagnetic field, that can affect electronics. Now then, any device that uses radio frequecies can have its signal blocked or affected by physical objects, such as my iphone 3G.. When i cover it with my hands it loses a few bars, when i sit it down it gets them back. Thats because my hands are slightly blocking the signal. Duh.

Ermmurray says:

Could it not be a network issue? Imagin how many apps are being downloaded/phones activated/iPhone queue pics are being sent.. It's only just out people...

Uska#IM says:

Antennas usually are sucky of you touch em. Anyone wanna try touching the atenna with one hand and touching metal with the other? Maling ground should drop the signal to zero, but I dunno if apples engineers made it so it doesn't happen

Buffdaddydeluxe says:

Am I the only person that iOS 4 when it comes to multitasking that their 3GS isn’t remembering saved states?! WTF?! This is happening for all my 3rd party apps including the ones 4.0 tested.

Fraydog says:

Copy of Dev,
What happens when you make a telephone call holding the phone normally? See if it happens when you make a call gripping the phone lightly with your fingertips in your left hand with the fleshy palm not cutting off all the antenna band. Try this out for us and see if it isn't an issue of gripping the phone with a death grip versus holding it normally.

Roulette says:

Perhaps it's a good thing Canada isn't getting the iPhone 4 until next month. Hmmm

Jason says:

same thing is happing to me plus its showing the ughy yellow that alots of ppls are reporting this sucks and they wanna charge me a restocking fee this is a bs am just gonna return it.The moto droid X I may check it out even better being on verizon

Fraydog says:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuTgEfsGOXA&annotationid=annotation40365&feature=iv
Holy crap, check out Chilla Frilla's review at 3:12. See where he's holding the phone and see the signal go from 5 bars to almost none! I'd say that confirms there's an issue.

(Copy of) Dev says:

@Fraydog
I did not notice any problems at all during "normal" call usage. No calls dropped, and no reception issues, either. (My wife did comment that I sounded much clearer on this phone than on my old 3G, but that is likely more a function of the dual mics than the antenna.)
Of course, I only made about 8 calls, none of any significant duration, so that is hardly a conclusive test. You'll have to excuse me that I don't really have anybody I feel comfortable calling repeatedly to test reception at 3 in the morning :) Perhaps over the next couple of days, I will try more, but something tells me the engagets, gizmodos, and ars (not to mention tipb) out there will beat me to it, if there is anything to this story.

Fraydog says:

I tested using Weatherline out of St. Louis and couldn't get calls to actually drop.
I may be in a reception area that is too strong to actually get a call to drop.

Fraydog says:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XazA4No73gE&feature=related
Also, this is a white model iPhone tested by Slashgear at WWDC... he holds the phone not that differently than Chilla Frilla, and the white model shows no signal degradation.

John says:

I am an Amateur radio operator and I work with a lot of transceivers. So when I tell you this it's from experience. If you hold any antenna you will attenuate the signal both in transmission and receive modes. People who see no effect are most likely people in strong signal areas or they have naturaly dry or low conductivity skin!
Using a case should solve the problem but then again isn't that like putting a bag over Megan Foxes face before having sex?
Also another issue becomes the extra exposure to RF energy when making physical contact with a powered antenna,, this cannot be good. It's a practice all radio operators avoid

John says:

Oh! thats why noone has put an exposed metal antennae on a small electronic device right where you hold it!
Jonny Ives doe it again. First the unserviceable Mighty mouse scroll ball, then the uncomfortable to hold Magic mouse, and the mic port on the mac mini that wont work with an unpowered mic, or the ear buds shipped with every iPod that don't actually seem to be constructed to stay in normal human ears, and cables from keyboards and mice that ALWAYS seems to be about 30cm too short to get them where you need them without an extension, and why no full width wireless keyboard?. Oh well, atleast it all has some character!
My favorite car is My MR2, which has not been the most reliable of motors, the rear end can get quite twitchy (like most mid engined cars if you are too ham-fisted) and it costs a packet to keep running, but I like it way more than my wife bland Ford Mondeo.

fk says:

Hit and miss with the reception issue. I am in a VERY low reception area, no 3G, rarely data, never more than four bars.
It has dropped bars on a few occasions when I have touched the bottom corner/side at the same time, but not each time - so far I put it down to co-incidence, reception wavers here, even if you're in the same place. Good news is, I don't hold my phone when I use it in a way that connects the two parts of aerial....will have to experiment in the field before I can tell for sure if it's going to affect me.

bergman says:

I live in a fringe location. I have signal boosters in my home (to overcome signal loss of metal roof) as well in my car and office. This optimizes my coverage to 5 bars most of the time. Based on the visual indicator, I'm seeing less coverage with the 4 than the 3GS.

bergman says:

No correlation with hand held or hand placement. Come on folks- there is just no way that Apple could possibly miss such an issue during testing. On the other hand others (Walt Mossberg among others) have observed that the signal bars displayed may not be accurately reflecting the actual signal strength. This could easily be a software related issue that should be easy enough to fix.

Lando says:

Layola apple store number 73 in line since 10pm not too bad less than 200 people at 5am

jfelipe83 says:

not me. but i do have and issue that when you hold the phone from the side of the phone which is the only way. the signal bars go down and if you make a call or if you are in a call you get either a drop call or you can connect. now i know why apple came out with the so call bumper. i am going to go to an apple store today and i am going to make them give me that damn bumper for free cuz of this issue which i know that every one is having. i advise everyone to make apple give you a bumper for free cuz this is and issue with the hardware and not with at&t this time

Allen Gibson says:

The HTC EVO 4G has HORRIBLE HD video recording compared to the iPhone 4 & the audio is more horrible at 8khz compared to the iPhone 4's 44khz. Check it out for yourself on YouTube. Makes you realize HTC hopes you'll never use this "True HD" feature they tout on their website!

derk says:

I setup my iphone4 when I got it as a restore from backup. (iphone 3g 312). I took all last night to download from Apple servers the iphone 4 iOS4 ipsw to setup my iphone4 as a new phone. The antenna reception issues are significantly better (not fixed)when iphone4 is setup as a new phone. I notice my 3g signal doesn't go from 4 bars to searching when I hold the iphone4 without a case. It goes from 4 bars to 2 bars.

Myprecious says:

Just spoke to an apple employee about this and he said it's a software issue. The bars disappear, but it does not affect reception. Probably will have a fix for it soon.

redeyerev says:

Might want to check out this video. Reception looks to definitely be affected.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03PQyWp0mWE&feature=player_embedded

mark says:

I have tried many ways to duplicate the issue and have isolated the issue to one instance. It only happens when you hold the phone on both sides and your finger has to be over the slit on the bottom left corner where the two antenna bands join. other wise you can hold anywhere. it is only when you hold over that little slit.

impaler says:

So glad I didn't jump on this phone. Gonna hang with my 3GS for a long time.

Richard Kloc says:

Software issue my --!, check this out, with the phone sitting on my desk I have 4 bars. I dial a call and then hold the phone in my left hand the bars drop down one by one to zero until the call is dropped after about 20 seconds. Looks like Apple has some serious issues with the iPhone 4!

FlapiPhone says:

Yes I have been experiencing the signal fade issue when the iPhone 4 is hand held by the antenna band. It doesn't seem to matter in which hand, for me both left and right hand initiate the same cascading signal bars issue. However when the phone is not being held the signal strength is fantastic (I get 2 to 3 bars of signal where I used to only get at max 1 bar).

Joe McG says:

Just get a bumper and stop crying. I just tested my iPhone 4 with a bumper and it completely eliminates the issue. God this phone is sweet!!!

Macboy74 says:

For those who have a 3GS if you hold the phone in your hands the same way people are holding the iPhone 4 the signal drops the same way. So this is not a iPhone 4 problem.

jimbo says:

@Joe McG
So everybody should give Apple $29 to cover up a design flaw they should never have made in the first place?
No wonder their stock is so high.

Macboy74 says:

This signal dropping issue is not a iPhone 4 problem. If you have a 3GS and hold it the same way as people are holding the iPhone 4 you will see the signal drop to no bars. And when you put it down on a table without touching it all the bars come back. If you don't believe me try it yourself. So all this bad press for nothing.

Joe McG says:

@jimbo
My time and the potential for dropped calls and bad service is worth more than whining about $29. Pretty much everybody is going to put their phone in a case, and actually, the bumper I got is pretty nice.
BTW, I'm not giving Apple a free pass, but it is very difficult to get a new product 100% right, and Apple has acknowledged this issue and are issuing a fix soon.

Noodles says:

@Macboy15, so this major hardware flaw is due to the 3GS?? LOL, Don't be naive, the iphone 4 has a serious problem. For those saying it's software related, pull your heads out of Apples butt, it's hardware. No software update can correct a hardware related issue. That's like saying a software update can fix a cracked screen. Gizmodo reported that a Danish Professor who is an expert on antenna's, predicted the iphone 4 would have this problem.

Noodles says:

@Joe McG, sugar coating this major issue will not help, this is the 4th version of the iphone. Apple changed the case a little and stupidly put the antenna's on the outside. As I've previously said, a Danish Professor warned Apple about the potential issue. The only fix Apple can do is redesigning the iphone 4. Software cannot fix a hardware design flaw.

Noodles says:

Well look at this, apparently Wifi is affected when using the bunper: http://tinyurl.com/29ydo9q

Macboy74 says:

@noodles. Boy you people kill me either you have selective reading. Or your just dumb as hell. If you hold the 3GS the same way it drops the signals the same way the iPhone 4 does. If you have one do it and see for yourself if you don't believe me. I have both phones and when you hold the whole phone in the palm or you hand and grasp the bars slowly go down. Do you really think apple would send this out to the masses with a huge problem like this? If you do your a fool. Every new phone that has come out in the past year is having problems. The evo, incredible,bb storm iPhone 3GS. I'm 99.9% sure there's a simple fix for all this as usual.

Matthew Johnson says:

YES! What a disappointment from Apple. Don't they test these things??
My signal EVERYWHERE I go is WORSE than my 3GS.
I do notice a small improvement in functionality when I hold this thing by the glass, but who wants to have to do that??
What a waste of a gorgeous display and a great feeling phone!
By the way, on 3 calls to my wife she said that my old phone SOUNDS BETTER too, and on 2 of those calls she thought I had her on speaker phone!
Why did I wait in line 2 hours today?? Again, i am very frustrated and disappointed with what was supposed to be a better PHONE.

68Stang says:

Macboy15 is spot on. 3GS does it as well.

Austin Reader says:

The number of "bars" is a terrible measure of phone performance. It's an ATTEMPT to signify call quality, but has a long history, across phone providers, of being buggy/misleading.
The new iPhone may have a call quality problem, or may not, but it's too soon to tell.
Here's one link, do a little research and you can find many more:
http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cell-bars-reception.ars
@Noodles: The Danish Professor said,correctly, that the characteristics of the antenna could be changed by contact with a human hand -- he did not say what affect that would have on call quality. I have no direct knowledge of what the iPhones internal RF section looks like, neither do you, neither does the professor; it would therefore be foolish to insist that any of us know what the affect will be.

Matthew Johnson says:

Furthermore, the MobiTV i pay for to watch the world cup and the news? Worked great on my 3GS, now on iphone4 the signal drops and the tv stops working every couple minutes, even when I am not holding the phone!
This s;?&t reminds my how tv watching was on my old AT@T Tilt!!
What gives Apple?

johnniem2nd says:

I am having issues as well.My store ran out of bumpers.Hopefully apple will fix this issue either by replacing the phones or if this is a software issue.

Jeffdc5 says:

That's Why I never buy iPhones early always wait a few months

patcom8 says:

the service is horrible... my 3G got better service then this... to make one phone call i had to call back the person 5 times. I dont knwo if its the antenna thing because i specifically was trying to avoid placing my hand in that location, but my phone does get VERY hot along the right side of the phone.

Fraydog says:

I was able to replicate the problem with two in-store units. This isn't a software issue. Wake up!

Amanda says:

I am deff having this issue as well. Whenever I am not using it I have full bars but as soon as I call someone I drop down to one and no one can hear me

Chase andrews says:

Yes, dropping bars and calls all day long when holding it there, then it comes back when I move my hand! Absurd! Also losing signal when I put it up to my ear!

Kelvin says:

Yeah I am having this same problem with my phone...is apple going to do anything to correct this problem?

Dave Hatch says:

I've been using my new iPhone4 extensively for two days now and have had no problems what so ever with anything. It's wonderful. I swore by my last iPhone(s) and this one puts them to shame. As far as reception, I had known reception holes that frustrated me on my last phone and am now getting good signal with this phone in the same spots. If you hunt you can find something bad to say about anything or anyone but 1st hand this fone outclasses in so many ways. Other fones may appeal to their fan base but, touch my i4 and I'll have 2 kill ya. That good.

Collin says:

If you want a trouble free SmartPhone, stick with any blackberry. Great Vid, Excellent Cam, email, wifi, web, apps, sms, mms, all Gs etc.. It goes on and on!

Mitch says:

Same problem here. VERY noticeable. I'm going to try a video demonstration this weekend. I'm very unhappy.

Allan says:

@Joe McG. You cant dock your iphone 4 with that bumper on. Good luck.

Tom says:

I bought an iPhone 4 on the release day and my service is HORRIBLE! When I wrap my hand around the phone my signal drops significantly. I'm really disappointed with the performance of the phone. I thought apple was fixing the iPhone signal issues not making them worse!!

Jon says:

My signal dops also then goes back up to dull bar

manuel says:

My phone only drops the signal in certain locations when held with my left hand.

Xonikkiakashaq32 says:

I have had the iphone4 for a couple of month and i have the worst service and my drops are always dropping and i can barely send out text messages.

Sreenivas Chandu says:

Apple never solve signal antenna problem
BUT I GIVE SOLUTIONS
1) buy plastic Cover Case(100% solution)
2) talk with right hand(60%)
3) ATTACH TAPE LOVER LEFT CORNER (35%)