iPhone 4 Cell Reception Suffers When Touching Its Stainless Steel Band (UPDATE: Or Software Issue?)

by Klaus on June 24, 2010

in iPhone, Tech News

Scroll down for updates to this article.

A video on YouTube is showing what some of us feared – that the cell reception suffers when you touch the stainless steel band that surrounds the iPhone, holding the two pieces of glas (front and back) together while also acting as antennas.

There’s not much news about it yet, except from Danish professor Gert Frølund Pedersen from Aalborg University, Denmark, who’s an expert in cellphone antennas. When Comon.dk asked him about the iPhone 4 antenna system, he said that when human tissue comes in contact with an antenna, a part of the antennas energy will turn to heat and get lost – instead of doing what it’s supposed to – keeping a good connection with the cellphone towers. Basically the antenna will become less efficient in terms of sending and receiving signals.

Scientists from Aalborg University have previously shown that it’s possible to reduce the antenna efficiency with more than 90% if you hold your hand tightly around the cellphone where the antenna is located.

Engadget wrote, in their iPhone 4 review:

Apple has made the stainless band around the phone essentially a couple of big antennae, and they seem to be doing a pretty good job at hanging onto radio signals. The big question is obviously whether or not this fixes or helps with the constant dropped calls iPhone users on AT&T’s network have gotten used to. Well in our testing, we had far, far fewer dropped calls than we experienced on our 3GS. Let’s just say that again: yes, the iPhone 4 does seem to alleviate the dropped call issue.

While Walt Mossberg from Wall Street Journal wrote in his iPhone 4 review:

Yet, in some places where the signal was relatively weak, the iPhone 4 showed no bars, or fewer bars than its predecessor. Apple says that this is a bug it plans to fix, and that it has to do with the way the bars are presented, not the actual ability to make a call. And, in fact, in nearly all of these cases, the iPhone 4 was able to place calls despite the lack of bars.

Click here to read more iPhone 4 reviews.

This video below, unfortunately shows huge issues with the iPhone 4 antenna. We can only hope that the video is either fake, this particular iPhone 4 is faulty or that it’s simply a software issue that Apple will fix soon and that the guy in the video would still be able to make calls, despite the “Searching…”-message.

UPDATE #1: Another video has found its way to YouTube, showing the same issues. Let’s hope it’s a software thingy and not (only) hardware based…

UPDATE #2: I’ve heard that Apple is said to be releasing a software update that will fix these issues. The iPhones do have cellphone coverage despite the lack of bars, apparently. I don’t have a source yet, but I hope it’s true.

UPDATE #3: Check out Gizmodo’s “investigation” into the iPhone 4 cell reception issues.

Comments & Leave a Comment


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Calking Chi June 24, 2010 at 13:26

Now that many iPhone 4 users have met such a problem, I think it is not a software issue.
Waiting for the official replyfrom Apple.
Calking Chi recently posted… Windows Web Hosting Vs Linux Web Hosting – Which One is Cheaper?


Klaus @ TechPatio June 24, 2010 at 13:51

It could still be a software issue. If the phone *thinks* it doesn’t have connection because the way the reception is reported/displayed, then perhaps it doesn’t try to transfer data/voice or it begins to hunt for another network. We don’t know exactly what a/the phone does when it thinks there’s no signal – so we have to wait and see if a software update comes out anytime soon.


MiciROX June 24, 2010 at 14:00

Well that might explain a lot. I never really thought about that but this made me think if it really does affect the reception.
MiciROX recently posted… Why You Should Break Up your Marriage with Your Free Domain ASAP!


ei ummarra June 25, 2010 at 09:38



Klaus @ TechPatio June 25, 2010 at 09:42
ds card June 30, 2010 at 06:40

I see the same issue when I pick up my iPhone 4. However, even when it is just resting on the counter the bars come and go. The iPhone 3G and iPad 3G sitting right next to it have a solid 5 bars. I have a Microcell 20 feet away, so I am sure there is a solid signal.


stan July 7, 2010 at 08:28

Prova att skriva på svenska som omväxling.
Eller skaffa ett översättningsprogram värt namnet.
Try writing in Swedish for a change.
Or use another translate-bot, your present does not work.


Klaus @ TechPatio July 7, 2010 at 09:35

Hi Stan,

It’s Google Translate. I know it’s not the best but I doubt that any of the other services are able to do a better job – what do you think?

– Promt Online Translator
– Altavista Babel Fish
– FreeTranslator
Klaus @ TechPatio recently posted… How To- iPhone -amp iPad Casino Games Outside App Store With Real Money



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