How can I fix iPhone 4 antenna reception problems?
The industrial design of Apple's iPhone 4 was announced with much fanfare, including the efficient and attractive-looking stainless steel rim that doubles as an antenna. Unfortunately, when held a certain way reception issues become a problem.
In particular, the iPhone 4 responds poorly when two metal pieces on either side of the gap are touched together in the lower left hand corner of the iPhone. Here are some solutions to the problem:
1. Hold the iPhone differently. Steve Jobs himself called the problem a "non-issue" and reportedly e-mailed a user not to hold it that way. The official Apple line: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.
2. Buy a case or skin. Cases will prevent your hand from connecting with the antenna and causing dropped calls or slow data transfer speeds. Apple made news when it announced the iPhone 4 Bumper, which covers the metal band with plastic. This also made news with conspiracy theorists, who thought Apple might have entered the case market simply to cover up the antenna problem.
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3. Prevent contact with the antenna with a do-it-yourself modification. One example of a cheap, easy and reversible fix is Scotch tape. This photo is from Gizmodo:
The tape prevents skin contact with the antennas and corrects the problem. Other alternatives include a rubber band wrapped around the stainless steel rim of the iPhone 4 or a light coat of clear nail polish over the gap between the antennas.
4. Wait for Apple to release iOS 4.0.1. Rumor has it that part of the problem is software-related. Users who have upgraded to iOS 4 on their iPhone 3GS have noticed new reception issues. Apple support forums had information posted regarding a problem with radio frequency calibration. Lag between switching frequencies could be causing a drop in bars and reduced service.
According to reports, Apple could release an iOS update as early as July 5. Steve Jobs was quoted in another email stating, "There are no reception issues. Stay Tuned." This has added to speculation that a software fix is in the works that will solve the problem.