iPhone 4 poor signal quality with and without case

Posted on 23 June 2010

Well as most have recognized and read about by now, the poor signal and call quality has very much to do with the metal band that wraps the iPhone 4 and is used as part of the antenna array.

This has been quite frustrating over the past 24 hours or more, so I thought to create a couple of quick videos to show the signal strength issues both with and without a skin / case.

Video example of iPhone 4 and poor signal strength

Notice how quickly signal strength disappeared… some calls I have received are dropped before the first words are spoken, other times it can be as long as a few minutes before the other party tells me they can’t hear me, then it’s dropped.

Video example of iPhone 4 with a 3GS case I had laying around

Signal strength remains at 3 bars, but at least it remains rather constant and is good enough for making calls and general purpose use.

In any event, this is not good for Apple and rather frustrating for us iPhone 4 users, and hopefully (fingers crossed) this is going to be an algorithm, calculation or some other issue that can be solved with a software update and not actually a defective hardware situation.

I’ll post some links to other sites with relative content to this issue here momentarily.


9 responses to iPhone 4 poor signal quality with and without case

  • Justin says:

    I heard from someone that there is a software patch coming to fix this issue, hopefully iOS 4.0.1 in the next few days!

  • Ken says:

    There are some reports with video of the carrier signal meter (5 bars) declining when people touch the two parts of the iPhone 4 metal frame/antenna.

    I wonder if the iPhone 4 signal strength issues are only affecting the weaker carrier signal, since it doesn’t seem to be an issue when making calls. The low power of the carrier “side band” might be more affected since it is designed to be on constantly, and must be low power for battery life. When making or receiving calls,the power ramps up negating, the small reduction in signal caused by touching the frame.

    • moses says:

      You could be right / on to something there… I am rural, so carrier signal could be the issue. The 3GS handled it just fine, but since this is a completely new device with a new antenna array, everything will be different.


  • How long before a case manufacturer comes out with a case that IMPROVES signal quality, or at least claims to do so?

  • Terry says:

    Anandtech have done a proper review of the iPhone 4 antenna woes, and it’s not as bad as some have made out. There is a problem with how the bars on the iPhone display map to actual signal loss, but it’s still fairly clear the iPhone 4 is still better than most other phones our there. Looks like apple have some very sensitive 3G chips in there….

    Just for balance I actually prefer Android, but I can appreciate why others like the iPhone 4….

    V.Good review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3794/the-iphone-4-review/2

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