Steve Jobs: There is no iPhone 4 reception issue

Steve Jobs Stay Tuned A new email, allegedly from Steve Jobs about the iPhone 4 antenna band problems -- where touching the stainless steel on the lower left side causes the signal to drop or go away completely -- seems to a offer a response either curtly dismissive or perhaps... encouraging?

rfbandit/Mark wrote:

I love everything about the phone except my signal issues

Steve Jobs supposedly replied:

There are no reception issues. Stay Tuned.

Now as with any and all alleged Steve Jobs customer support email, we have no way of knowing whether any individual one is real or not. But if it is... Jedi mind-trick? Cruel pun? Or a sign that Apple knows what the problem is and has a -- perhaps iOS 4.0.1 powered -- fix in the works?

If so, it could signal a change from Apple's last communication on the matter:

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. 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.

Let's hold to hope.

[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 73 comments. Add yours.

petaf says:

Steve and his cryptic messages! I thought you were going to relax now, Rene?

Chenzo5151 says:

Really steve the why did apple replace my phone already and give me a complementary bumper. Which btw is a piece of carp

Visi says:

@Steve Jobs
There are no liver issues. Is your fantasy.

Kaiser Zosa says:

You don't seriously believe that blatantly fake email right?

Pinny says:

I just got a nice cheap case off amazon that totally fixed my reception problems. Without the case, my phone literally goes to searching. With the case, reception is better than ever. I don't want to post a link on tipb since they sell cases, but maybe try picking one up. It's a pain, but otherwise I would have to return my iphone 4 which I love.

Lex021 says:

That email is mostly likely fake. I don't think Steve would every say "stay tuned". That for him is a big giveaway.

carcustomizer says:

I say we wait for the supposed iOS 4.1 update predicted to come out next week...I have a feeling that it IS a software issue

Haitin apple says:

R u serious waiting for months for this phone and when it came out it was the sickest phone ever and now everybody makes fun of me of how I hold my phone
Relly JOBS that's your best shot. Feel like taking this pice back to apple n leave it on the counter n walk away

Tino72 says:

I say if that was jobs and he said that bs I'd return this pretty brick and never buy another apple product ever again. being ignorant and prideful about your obvious subpar phone with regards to reception is sickening. I will wait it out through next week to see what this horses ass decides to do in regards to a update. Otherwise back to my unlocked htc desire. And my wife will not be getting a iPhone either in July. Oh and btw charging 30.00 for a little plastic bumper is ridiculous.

lolobabes says:

wonder why those who reviewed the phone on tech sites didnt see this? lol

Jamie says:

I'll bet "stay tuned" means a software update is coming out that will address the problem...

h20squirter says:

hahahaha,this is awesome. what a pompous arrogant man so say this. what does he think he is a Jedi or something?

fastlane says:

That email looks like it was received in 1986. That IS bad reception. :shock:

cybertyspn says:

Has anyone else noticed that FaceTime calling doesn't support bluetooth headset? I have the Motorola S9 HD and everytime I switch to FaceTime the audio switches back to the iPhone.

Mr. Copyright says:

Next time he needs an implant, the doc should just say "There are no issues. Stay tuned"

TomOfTx says:

I have the same issue where holding the phone in my left hand will make the signal drop off, however, when I am connected to the microcell at home, the signal does not drop at all. Hmmm.

MojoVersion8 says:

sent from iPhone, received on Exchange webmail.

stldirty says:

Yea my signal drops too when I hold it with my left hand....

Danny says:

I think the answers etc from jobs and apple about the reception are bs , but i really think when people talk about s jobs' health that its totally uncalled for, like i said the " hold it a diffrent way" answer is bs and pisses me off to no extent but thats where it ends for me.

jimbo says:

Encouraging? Let's hold to hope? Umm...much as some would like to believe, Steve Jobs does not define reality, nor do his proclamations alter the laws of physics. If the signal attenuates from skin contact with the lower left corner, it attenuates, and Jobs' mere say-so has no bearing on the matter.
That said, this smells fake, since it contradicts his earlier email, and Jobs is far too intelligent to contradict himself openly, particularly in what is mushrooming into a PR problem for Apple.

Andrea.Richardson says:

Every cell phone I have ever owned has had some quirky reception issues, and I don't expect the iPhone to be any different. While I am able to briefly replicate this particular issue people are reporting (namely, by gripping the phone tightly at the bottom and completely covering those two small black bands on either side), keeping it in a thin case solve the issue. The reception on my iPhone 4 is GREATLY improved over my 3GS, something I had really looked forward to. My only gripe with Apple is that if the reception issue can be solved by simply using the bumper case, why aren't they giving one free to each person who purchases an iPhone 4? Or selling them for less than the $30 they currently run for (a total rip off considering you can get really nice Gelli cases from Case-mate.com for $20 - this is the case I got and I LOVE it!)

Danny says:

No apple store around me even have the bumper cases

Harry Seaward says:

When I hold my phone covering the lower left bar, my phone goes from five bars to searching in about one minute. A free bumper is not too much to ask for this bs.

dlopes90 says:

I have the iPhone 3GS and I noticed today that when I hold the phone in my right hand with the phone deep into my palm that I lose bars just like the iPhone 4. now I'm not sure if it's always been like this or if It just started occurring after the iOS 4 update. but this shows me that this could just be a software issue and might be an easy fix for Apple.

TumnusMr says:

Jobs is his own worst enemy at times. He's probably incredibly busy so he doesn't have time to write long explanatory emails yet he replies all the same, resulting in these very brief quotes.
In any case this issue is likely not due to the antennas being exposed per se. Rather, with the way it behaves and how it only happens when you short the GSM antenna with the WiFi/Bluetooth antenna the radio firmware is probably getting some noise or interference, which is making it to do something wrong and causing the signal to drop off over a period of about 20 seconds (it doesn't show right away, which is possibly why many people don't see it).
Hence it could well be fixable in software. It is inexcusable that this slipped out. But maybe they noticed it too late to do anything about it and have been developing a fix since before the launch. In classic Apple style they wouldn't admit to this though.

Calculus II says:

Learn how to use a telephone. Losers. Every since preorder day there has been nothing but bitching and complaining. Apple store has a 14 day return policy. Take it back and get an Android or some other real crap phone. Bet you'll cry to get your iPhone and all if it's "problems" back.

(Copy of) Dev says:

The FCC Mobile Broadband Test App, which measures speed and latency of your 3G connection, can be instructive here. (iTunes link: http://bit.ly/cstr2p )
I live in a relatively spotty coverage area, where my connection sometimes reaches 5 bars, but most days it hovers around 3 bars. This morning, I am at 3 bars. Here are my average results after 5 test runs in each configuration. WiFi is always off:
iPhone 4 on table, untouched: Download 1.03 Mbs, Upload 0.94 Mbps, Latency 400ms
iPhone 4 on table, finger on lower left: Download 0.01 Mbs, Upload 0.01 Mbps, Latency -- (times out) I actually did this one 9 times, as 4 of them there was no response at all 0 upload, 0 download, but it never went about 0.05 in either direction
iPhone on table, in silicone case, untouched: Download: 1.00 Mbs, Upload 0.95 Mbps, Latency 302ms
iPhone on table, in silicone case, finger on lower left: Download 0.91 Mbps, Upload 0.94, Latency 315ms
It seems from this small sample size that skin contact with the lower left of the iPhone 4 has a huge impact on data speeds. Admittedly, these are not close to scientifically valid results, but those skeptical of me (or of Apple) should try it themselves; the app at the above link is free, and each test takes a few seconds to run.

(Copy of) Dev says:

And yes, you can do the same test with SpeedTest -- it appears to be largely the same application, with the primary difference being who mines the results (the FCC vs SpeedTest.)

Edy says:

Best solution, go for the 3gs 16gb os 3.1.2/3.1.3 , it s like xp for windows.. All other version after it suckksss

andrewnmartinez says:

I never liked him, he does make my phone but doesnt let me use it how i please so i have to jailbreak. Just sell me it and leave me alone when i have a problem i will google first then come to you other than that stay out of my life. Apple fan boys dont comment if your gonna defend him cause you know the way the iphone is handled is rediculous.
So in conclusion
F:U:C:K: you steve jobs

ThisBrian says:

No problems with my iPhone 4, I haven't had one of the issues that have plagued the iPhone 4 release. I think news spreads like crazy now with blogs and it seem worse than it is. Not once has my phone went to searching, I have tried to get it to drop with the left hand complaint issue and even tried covering my phone with both hands completely. Other issues that I've read haven't effected me either, the camera works great, no spots on the screen and no scratches. You have to think they sold 1.5 million phones in one day, if 2% was bad that would equal up to 3o,ooo phones. So I have a feeling the problem is over exaggerated. In no way I'm I saying it's not a problem but Apple is very good about exchanging phones if there is a problem it may just take a little time because of the demand of the phone.
Yes you shouldn't have to rig your iPhone to get it to work but why not put invisishield on the metal parts of the phone, you won't even notice it and it will save it from being scratched and solve the reception issue. I would also cover the back, I can understand people not wanting the front glass covered.
Anyway I will just say I absolutely love the new iPhone, you can call me a fanboy or whatever but the screen is beautiful. The video simply amazed me for a phone, looks great on my 1080P TV. The iPhone 4 is smaller and feels solid. At first I was like the 3GS was good and maybe it wasn't worth the upgrade but after looking at the screen a few time and seeing the video I knew it was worth it and more. Reading on the iPhone 4 is so much easier, most of the time you don't even need to zoom in on small type, the type is so crisp.
So hopefully I'm not the only one enjoying the new iPhone.

Jab says:

It's funny that I couldn't load this page from my iPhone 4 unless I held it in my right hand.

thepedigree says:

I ran copy of devs test multiple times.
Each result is the average of ten tests in a row.
In an ifrogz case on table: 1.109
No case, on table: .771
Cased, held in right hand: .99
Cased, held in left hand: .002
No case, held in left hand: All ten tests returned ZERO
No case, held in right hand: not tested. IPhone was toasty after 50 consecutive tests.
Conclusion: There is an issue.
New conclusion: ifrogz case doesn't seem to help

Allex says:

These aren't the droids you're looking for...

Angel says:

I don't have this problem and can't replicate it either =\ I am sorry to everyone who does though. Hope it is software! Most point to no though..

Steve.Tate says:

I could not recreate this with my 3GS on iOS4. I cannot recreate this on my new iPhone4 either and I do not any of the other issues that others are complaining about.
Not saying that there are some phones affected by something strange and I have full confidence that apple will fix it.
Just saying that this is not across that board.

ppennza@gmail.com says:

No issue.... That's why why 3GS next to it on the table has 5 bars while the iPhone 4 has barely 1

deadp1xel says:

I have a iPhone 4 and haven't had any issues at all

Unchewable says:

I know no one will believe me because of the antenna thing but it is a ios4 issue my 3gs does it with ios4 but my wife's 3g running ios3 is not doing it. believe me i am as surprised as you but after being in a area that does it and being able to reproduce it i am a believer.

longcat says:

Doesn't surprise me. I've had problems with every apple product I've owned. First MacBook had discoloration issue and the genius gave me a hard time. Second MacBook was warped. Third was fine. Now this with the iPhone. This thing is going back and I bet the idiot working at the apple store will give me crap.

icebike says:

@Andrea:
Quote:

Every cell phone I have ever owned has had some quirky reception issues, and I don’t expect the iPhone to be any different

Stop being an enabler and making excuses.
Showing a few less bars might be common, but dropping calls and going to No Service is unheard of.

Crunch says:

Thanks to AnotherBrian and icebike, I do not have to do anything other than to agree with them. If you have reception issues with your iPhone 4, the issue is with you, not the iPhone 4.

Patrick says:

Hey Steve why don't see for your self on how the signal is terriable go walk around like the verizon. Guy can you here me now can you here me now so go get youre hands dirty and walk the whole u.s. And see how it's bad the signal and for you at&t needs to improve signal strength inside of buildings your technology is so so far behind

Fonzman1984 says:

Steve is trying to pull a Jedi mind trick on us!

Jon - Ambient Rings says:

Is he accessing a webmail from Netscape Navigator on Windows 98? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that picture isn't real.

ThisBrian says:

@Crunch I don't know where I said you need to agree with me, I said my iPhone 4 is working perfect and that's the truth. Also I said there is a definitely going to be problems with 1.5 million being sold in one day, 2% being bad would equal to 30,000 iPhones and that's probable a low estimate of bad phones. I'm sorry you have issues but I have read where plenty don't, but I definitely think more will report problems than ones that aren't having problems. Apple is good about replacing iPhones on the spot with problems, I'm sure it sucks to get a bum iPhone but you will need to return it if you have a problem. Hopefully your situation will be fixed and you can go back to normal use and enjoy a great phone. The internet is just a easy breeding ground for bashing when all isn't bad.

Sean says:

Is anyone else having problems reciving Data on the iphone 4? I keep getting time outs and really long loading times???

Tim says:

Just talked to Apple. Not very helpfull. Then, as I was saying thank you, good bye, he comes up with the idea to switch 3G on and off a few times and eject and reinsert the SIM. I think it helped.
Also, I noticed if I lost signal but kept holding my phone without changing the position of my hand the signal would eventually return on it's own.
Just my observation.

jjb70 says:

Just held my phone in my left hand the entire time I read all these posts. Zero bars, searching, no service. Held it in my right hand for 5 minutes while I set up my calendar. 4 bars the entire time. All without moving from my spot on the couch. This made me happy because I realize it isn't the reception and will be fixed. All those saying there isn't an issue are simply wrong.

TumnusMr says:

@Sean: I had a problem when I first tried to use 3G data where the data connection didn't seem to be working, so I powered the phone off completely and turned it back on. After that I haven't had any issues (so long as I'm not touching the bottom left corner of course).
If anything, compared to my iPhone 3G, the i4 seems to be markedly faster at 3G browsing and it appears to be more than just rendering speed to me.

test says:

I have similar reports to (Copy of) Dev and Jared. iPhone untouched, 0.8-1.1 download. Skin on the lower left, 0.0 - NOTHING getting through.
This really does not seem like an occurrence with an occasional bum phone -- this seems like something fundamental with the placement of the antenna. For @AnotherBrian and those who report nothing wrong, what happens when you try this test?

TK says:

I have a feeling that Steve Jobs is going to patent the way to hold a cell phone after this.

Crawdaddct says:

Little fairies carry my signal and have majical powers, so my hand never gets in the way. I love Apple.

xusxmarinesx says:

It's not a software issue if it was then Apple would fix it as for HTC and the evo HTC is actually fixing the problem with the evo unlike Apple

iVenom says:

The people who are not having this problem please stop saying it's not real. You can only say it's not happening to you. My signal drops like 2or 3 bars but it has not gone down to none. And the 2% failure defense sounds great Toyota should use that one. All jokes aside there is a little problem let's hope they fix it.

ThisBrian says:

@Jeff I don't think anyone is saying there's not a issue, just some of us don't have that issue. Like I said before more people will report problems than people that don't. People with problems are looking for answers, like I would if I was having problems.

steve jobs says:

Look guys what I really meant to say in that email was you are all my sheep .. You will hold the phone as master has taught you.. Now shut your mouths before I shove your iphone 4 so far up your a-s-s that every time you fart you'll send a text

fk says:

I don't know how many times it needs to be said that a software update will not fix a hardware issue.
If they release a software fix, it will be cosmetic, basically putting a plaster/band aid over the cut and asking you to ignore it.

test says:

@AnotherBrian
Can you try that simple test and report your results?

Ted says:

I wanted to check if it was a fluke but i went to the apple store and tried a demo unit. I was able to get the bars to go down on the three i tried. Talk about junk desgin, and testing.

yoda says:

@stevejobs strong with the force, your people are not. Spelling, they are not good at. A threat to the republic, they are. Hmm.

TulioAdriano says:

Apple's negligence over the subject is disgusting. I had more than one calls dropped because it's just impossible to get a good grip on the iPhone 4 without holding those steel bars really tight.
They should just follow Nintendo's example, when they sent free rubber cases to all owners of older Wiis which were not supplied with them.
I honestly hope this is an issue that can be fixed with software update, otherwise, they just placed a flawed product on the market.

ThisBrian says:

@test, I have tried the test over and over I don't have this problem, and many others don't. I am not saying there isn't a problem with a lot of phones. But bad new travels very fast, I wouldn't wait on Apple, take your phone in as soon as possible and try to get it replaced.

(Copy of) Dev says:

You misunderstand the request. Rene, among others, has suggested that if you are in an area with a strong enough signal, you may not encounter the problem at all. If that is your case, then there still may be an overall design flaw with the antenna, but one which is mitigated by a sufficiently strong signal. If you cannot reproduce the problem and are in a weak signal area, that lends credence to the "bum phone" convention, and the question then becomes how widespread the distribution of phones with sub-par antennae is.
No agendas here, just a request for more neutral data.

(Copy of) Dev says:

Hit submit too quickly -- your raw numbers would help the rest of us gauge your signal situation, which would be helpful in (armchair) determination of the scope of this problem.

card0124 says:

I have an iPhone 4 and I have experienced signal issues as well. A friend of mine has the 3GS and had consistently better coverage, but even when not touching the phone I would often lose service, so i really don't think it's an Issue with the hardware, but with the software.

KP says:

Dying to know how they're going to fix what looks for all the world to be a hardware issue with software. Especially because I wasn't able to pre-order, and at this point would rather wait and see if they make some silent hardware upgrade to the newer ones rolling off the assembly line.]

Kool-aid says:

A kid gets his I-Phone and in 1 day realizes the reception problem and documents it on You-tube...something the Apple engineers honestly didn't find in thousands of hours of testing (including bar-hopping). That's right, true Apple believers. Keep drinking the Kool-aid and all is well.

Daniel says:

Disgraceful- the No Service issue is a joke! every-time I think- I should have a call or a message, why haven't they got back to me? of course NO SERVICE therefor restart the phone and onto the voice mail or message received 3 hours ago! appalling or -Important call -university admissions tutor or equally important vital call -it goes onto mute or loudspeaker or something every time, the interface design is shockingly bad also the internet -cannot connect to internet- how is this message possible when it should have wi fi 3G if there is no wireless network -that important email with the directions to the address you are trying to find or the stupid figure of 8 move it around like an idiot routine so we can show off our pointless sensor. The Iphone is a bit of an expensive waste of time -a joke in so many words!