More potential iPhone 4 proximity sensor fixes

Still suffering from iPhone 4 proximity sensor problems? Face dialing a family member while on the phone for business? Hanging up or muting with the brush of a cheek? Macworld has a list of things that could help fix it up:

  • Reset "Network Settings"
  • Reset "All Settings"
  • Soft reboot (hold down sleep button)
  • Hard reboot (hold down sleep + home)

Like the clean re-install we mentioned previously, some of these seem to work for some people with the problem some of the time. Hey, it's problem solving in complete darkness, it'll be hit and miss. Macworld's "hunch" is that it's not as widespread as the antenna attenuation problem and that it's most likely a software glitch that will get fixed in the next firmware updated. That doesn't mean, however, that it won't drive afflicted users crazy in the meantime.

Are you still suffering from iPhone 4 proximity sensor problems? Let us know in the comments, and let us know what -- if any -- solutions have worked for you as well.


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Quick Review: for the iPad

Next up →

XGear Folio Carbon Fiber Case for iPad - accessory review

Reader comments

More potential iPhone 4 proximity sensor fixes


I just nuked my phone and did a restore as new yesterday. I had previously restored from my 3G, and while it killed me to lose so much, the 3 short calls I've made so far haven't had a problem. In one 20 min call earlier yesterday, I'd hung up on my friend 4 times in 20 mins, while holding the phone "properly" (I often hold it w/ my shoulder). If this doesn't fix it, I don't know what I'll do... I have a case, so signal strength was never a prob, but the prox sensor has made me crazy since 6/24... Otherwise, this is the best phone I've ever had :)

I'm not suffering from this but the fact that it troubles us iPhone users amuses me. My mom has an HTC hero without a prox sensor and she cheek dials, mutes, or presses numbers (causing a loud tone) while talking to people all the time. Thank goodness most of the time, the iPhone eliminates such aggravating issues!

What is all that complaining about? There are 3 easy solutions for this:
1. Use a loud speaker at all times.
2. Dial a number and then put the phone inside the case that is not supporting touch functionality.
3. Just hold the damn phone differently, will you!

I have been going crazy with this problem. My wife hung up on me the other day and later told me her face hung up on me and said it is happening to her all the time. I told her it is happening to me too and is a known problem.
I sure hope Apple fixes this in the upcoming update. This is the only problem I have had with the new phone.

The proximity sensor issue has got to be the worst issue I've ever had to deal with on a cell phone. It is making me wish I had purchased a 'droid.

Had this issue on my 3GS. Apple ended up replacing the entire front glass assembly to fix the issue.

The good news is that this should be much easier to correct with a software fix than the antenna issue. As long as the sensors themself aren't defective, they should be able to be tweaked by an update.

This site seriously sucks....stop being such f'in fanboys tipb.....did you see how many posts there are in the apple support forums for this issue?
I'd be willing to bet $$$$ that I can reproduce the issue on ANYONES phone, period.

"’s not as widespread as the antenna attenuation problem and that it’s most likely a software glitch that will get fixed in the next firmware updated." <----There will NOT be update fix for the antenna problem. Steve Jobs said so himself. SJ said that the update will fix the antenna bars and set them with the correct forumla. As for the Proximity Sensor issue, none of the above "fixes" worked for me so wheres the update? Hopefully that will work...smfh, apple, im losing faith in u :-/

I've tried it all, but [whenever I'm on a call] on my iPhone 4 my cheek always activates FaceTime or mutes my call or brings me to random contacts. This needs to be addressed ASAP!

I'm with @Mephisto - mine works completely fine as well. Works identically just as well as my 2G and 3GS did.
Now dropping calls when I cover the bottom left of my phone... now that's an entirely different issue that has driven me thoroughly insane.

@BSmith4832 - Do you even know how people are holding the phone to get the issue to occur? If you always hold the phone up to your face, you probably WONT experience it....its when you need your hands free to maybe type on a keyboard, carry something, etc and put the phone between your shoulder and face when it occurs....

The replacement iPhone 4 I got on sunday had proxy sensor problems. I restored as new and it seems fine now.

I'm having the same issues but I'm hesitant to do any big changing resets for fear of losing all my settings and time spent making folders and moving them around. I'm hopeful this will get fixed along with other bugs with a software/firmware update/s.

Clean install, network reset, pagan chanting... None of it has worked for me.
It seems to be a timing issue with the proximity sensor. With the 3GS, proximity sensing was instantaneous. With the 4, it seems to take a second to go dark. So if your phone is moving while you're talking, that extra lag let's your cheek touch the buttons. Same for ending a call. When I pull the phone away from my face, the phone takes another second to light up. I just can't shake the idea that this is related.

Finally brought black bumper for iphone4 really
Makes he phone stand out from all the others. No reception issues at all. I guess I live in a loction where there is service

@ Dan J. "pagan chanting" lmfao
Yea, I reset everything as well, still giving me issues... Other than that, the phone works great for me

Yes, I have been noticing it. It is sort of frustrating since this is the 4th generation iPhone. You'd think that Apple would get this right. Since I guess I can't be sure they take security of my account information in the Appstore seriously why should I expect it with this?

My family has two Iphone 4's and both have the proximity sensor issue real bad. We cannot complete a call without placing someone on hold, ending the call, starting Face Time or etc. Apple has to fix this problem. The problem the proximity sensor is growing.

So far, my best option is to hit the sleep button while on a call before putting up to my face... That works good.

This was a big time problem for me anytime the phone was held between shoulder and ear going "handsfree". Hard reset appears to have fixed it. Thanks for the tip.

The iphone 4 I got on 6/23 was running me nuts with the screen going on-off-on-off constantly during calls. After trying all the resets, restores, etc, I gave up and called Apple. Then sent me a replacement iphone a few days ago, and it has the same problem. Called them again, and they wanted to replace IT too. I'm waiting for a fix instead of another phone.
My son got his new 4 day before yesterday and his is doing exactly like both of mine do. At least in our family, the problem is VERY widespread.

Yes, still having the proximity sensor problem after trying all these fixes. Very aggravating. The phone is hardly usable unless I plug in the ear plugs and use the mic. The screen lights up when right next to my ear and then my cheek starts pressing the keys. Very annoying, but because I think the phone is so incredibly beautiful, I am going to try to give Apple time to fix this and other issues before I bail. I can't believe I even said that... "bail" but if it can't be fixed, I will have to give something else a try. I have had nothing but iPhones since it's debut. Whah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Definitely having the problem (even after trying all the fixes!) I'm hoping they fix it soon, because it's driving me insane. Haven't had any other issues with the phone.

Nothing has worked for me. I called AT&T a few days ago and talked to an iPhone agent and she said that Apple was working on a fix and it would be out "in around two weeks".

Yes!!! I had to call my friend back 13 times last night during our conversation. This is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one with the proximity sensor issue. At first I thought it was my issue but I've learned that I'm not alone. I've hit the mute, hold, speaker, end call, called other people, listened to ring tones ALL while I was on a call. I had the iPhone 3GS before and never once had a problem with anything. This phone is a whole other story. I wish I had just stayed with my old iPhone. I hear that it can be fixed in a software update so I hope that's true.

I have the issue, can't make a call without wanting to throw the stupid phone out the window. This is not acceptable from a company as big as apple.

Ihaven't had many calls yet, as my phone just came on July 12. But today, while listening to music thru backbeat headphone, it kept cutting out. I bought the Bluetooth headphones, thinking my iPhone 3G had bad earphone jack. Was using Bose headphones. The Bluetooth seemed to help. Now I'm wondering if this proximity sensor has been a problem on both phones. Funny, my problems on my IPhone 3G started about January 2010, about the time testing for new iPhone 4g would have been happening, lots of dropped calls & trouble with listening to music.

YES!!!!!!!! I have NO OTHER ISSUES BUT THIS IS DRIVING ME NUTS!!! I keep muting or hanging up or putting on speaker!!!! My friends want to kill me and don't want the Iphone now because of it!

Just got my iphone 4 last night at 9:45pm – Today I have had the following problems.
1 – several calls cut off
2 – The phone attempted face to face call – while discussing important business
3 – A conference call accidentally started with a Spanish estate agent while on to another business colleague. This could have been both costly and embarrassing.
All of these faults seam to be the proximity sensor issues that I have just found while trying to get to the bottom of the situation.
4 – when inside my car with the engine running a constant clicking is heard throughout the call, this is so bad my wife put the phone down on me in the middle of an important discussion….although I suppose that could have been the proximity sensor again??????
This would seem to be an interference issue but I’m not sure, as I was on the call to iphone technical (via o2) while being driven home and the representative said he couldn’t hear me with the clicking noise. YCNMIU
I queued & waited 2 hours in the Trafford centre last night for this phone and I’m not happy, because o2 just told me to take it back which means another 2 hour queue, “the shop is very busy, due to the recent launch of the ipad and iphone 4” I was told after complaining last night.
I loved the iphone 3 but I’m not sure if to give this another go or cancel and go back to my iphone3, my daughter won’t be best pleased after being very excited receiving my cast off and then having it snatched back.

The face switch is far more serious than the antenna issue and needs to be addressed imediately.My new iphone 4 drops call at will and its lost me jobs already.Should have never been marketed with these problems.Classic case of take the money and try to fix it later

This is my worst experience with iphone. I loved 3gs. The proximity sensor update was promised by Steve Jobs but nothing has been done. This phone loses calls and is not at all dependable as a phone, better for email and internet on wifi.

New to iPhone altogether and until about 2 hours ago I thought I was just holding the iPhone wrong! every call I make is interrupted by accidental muting, placing on hold, face time etc etc. Kinda glad it's not just me, but mega frustrated that the phone I have waited patiently for for 3 years and finally decided to buy does not seem capable of it's fundamental function - AS A PHONE!!!! sort it out Apple or I want my hard earned money back!!

My iphone 4 proxmity sensor problems did not get resolved with any of the above solutions. contacted apple and they are offering replacement handset and I could understand from staff that the problem might be software one or hardware likely. They could almost guarantee a replacement will not have the same issues.

I've been having this problem since day one. I'm on my 3rd iPhone4 and still have this problem. Was promised by Apple that the one I received from them was tested, NOT!

None of the solutions have worked for me. They have provided me with a new iphone but the problem is still there. If this isn'r fixed soon I will be demanding a full refund. My phone is almost useless.

Setting Up Your iPhone 4 (Tips & Tricks)

  1. OS 4.0.x. Setup – Use restore (factory setting) not restoring from back-up.
  2. Sync all your media.
  3. Battery. Drain it to 0% and charge to 100% afterwards.
  4. Antenna. It is not an issue with me (i’m getting a good reception with O2 uk). However, use the bumper supplied free by Apple, not that bad, I got the transparent one – it’s neat! It also solves the so-called ‘death grip’.
  5. Proximity Sensor. If you’re using a phone case, make sure you get one that doesn’t cover the front camera area, that’s where the proximity sensor is. The sensor is very sensitive. Some phone case interferes with the proximity sensor.
  6. Yellowish indoor picture. This was once an issue with me. Not anymore! Keep using the camera (break in process). It took me almost hundred pictures before it correct itself. Now the yellowish background is gone!
  7. Keep using all the phone features heavily – Call it SCREAM TEST!

Bought mine on the 4th week of July. I am happy with it (so far so good). Good Luck!

is that what the proximity sensior issue is? Hell honestly my palm pre does that all the time. still sucks but it's an issue with lots of phones.

Eleanor is soooo cute! I love how your fam always looks so happy plniayg together:) She's going to have the best photo album to look at when she gets older! Happy Halloween!

This is really the #1 issue that I have with this phone...... I really do not get dropped calls and such..... However it is so frustrating to be talking to someone and have them saying "Are you still there" because you have activated the mute button with your cheek..... please do not tell me I am holding the phone incorrectly..... Apple please correct this serious issue..... Please!!!!!!!

We are members of the Sterling Historical Society and untserdand that you will be discussing our house, the Ha Ha, located at 14672 Fancher Ave. during your next meeting on October 24, 2011. We will be sorry to miss that! We have owned the cottage since 2005 and have thoroughly enjoyed our place, many wonderful neighbors, Little Sodus Bay and the Village of Fair Haven. So much to do and so much history-there is no place like it. In three words-we love it! Keep up the good work; we look forward to visiting the museum soon! Chuck and Daria Bour

OMG! "Hammer Smith" was right! My fancy schmancy $80 tank-like case was blocking the sensor. Unbeliveable.

If you are still having this problem it is usually caused by the phone case...I had the trident case and found if I cut out the small velt piece by the speaker for the ear then the sensor would turn the phone back off. Hope this helps.

I just picked up a new iphone 4 from att last week. I tried re-installing the OS, im on 4.3.3 and my proximity sensor still does not work. How annoying!

I try to remember to press the button to go to the home screen when making a phone call. I might delete icons , but it's better than pressing the mute button or face-dialing random contacts.