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Apple to Release iOS 4.01 to Fix Reception Issues

Gordon Kelly


Apple to Release iOS 4.01 to Fix Reception Issues

I was scribbling our Britain's Broadband Backlash editorial on Friday, so missed Apple and Steve Jobs' now infamous replies to the increasingly farcical iPhone 4 reception issues. So here's the latest...

According to AppleInsider Apple has responded to frustrated iPhone 4 owners by saying a minor firmware update (iOS4.01) will be released at some point today to rectify the famed 'Death Grip' that sees iPhone 4 (and in some cases 3GS) owners lose signal when held so the gap between the external antennas is bridged on the lower left hand side.

I say "according to" because Apple has since pulled not just the company's response, but the entire forum thread relating to this problem. So it's either erroneous or Apple is keen not to hype (even greater) awareness of the issue.

Of course Steve Jobs only has himself to blame for much of this for a) not testing the handset properly before release and b) writing a jaw droppingly trite response to one concerned owner which stated "Just avoid holding it in that way." Something made even worse by Jobs holding it 'the wrong way during his keynote presentation' combined with subsequent image grabs taken from Apple ads also copying this (see above).

Apple's official response wasn't much better:

"Gripping any 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 Phone 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."

Personally speaking the fix would be good news since it would confirm the fault is solely software related - something I'm not entirely convinced about. Until then left handed phone holders beware, Apple clearly doesn't want your business...

Update: StealthArmour has a rather more elegant idea if the firmware fix doesn't work.

Update 2: Jobs has once more come out with a trite comment in which he declares in yet another email "There is no reception issue. Stay tuned." Let's hope this is a blunt referral to iOS 4.0.1 otherwise he may soon look ever sillier than Microsoft.

Sources: AppleInsider

Images via Softpedia


June 28, 2010, 5:14 am

Why couldnt Apple have simply build in a StealthArmor strip... "Really cool design" eh Steve?


June 28, 2010, 5:17 am

Wouldn't something as simple as a strip of clear tape fix things, or if that breaks the cool, spraying on a light coat of lacquer?


June 28, 2010, 5:38 am

Maybe the reason for the WiFi issues during the WWDC keynote by Jobs was that he was holding it wrong? That would be funny.

But anyway, I find it hard to believe that a software update can fix an issue which evidence suggests is hardware related. Smells like a scam to me.


June 28, 2010, 6:51 am

2 possible software fix:

Method 1:




Method 2:

Boost power when reception lowers, eating your battery life when holding the phone normally. So basically, to have the normal battery life, you have to use special patented Apple iHold technique to hold the phone to have good reception.


June 28, 2010, 7:24 am

It's possible that 4.1 is placebo software. So : for whatever reason the issue improves over time anyway, OR all the people that can report the issue already have, and thus the number of reports dies down itself, allowing for the claim 'Following the update, the number of reported issues has reduced'! Whichever way you slice it, this is not good - the blunt emails, having to put tape on your phone, the frankly suspect move of Apple selling cases or 'bumpers'.

Also, anyone able to confirm this broken iPhone YouTube uploader thing where HD video comes out in super-low resolution?


June 28, 2010, 8:39 am

My Nokia E71 has exactly the same 'problem', holding it in my left hand with the lower part of the phone in my palm the signal reception drops from 5 bars to nothing in about 20 seconds!

If fussy iPhone owners want something with a proper aerial they should here:



June 28, 2010, 12:17 pm

One way or another this has better get sorted, otherwise my iPhone 4 will get returned sharpish and I'll take a Desire instead to tide me over until something better.

No Angry Birds though... :(

Al 2

June 28, 2010, 1:44 pm

I think that second comment from Jobs has been revealed to be misreporting by over-anxious newspapers of a quote by Fake Steve?


June 28, 2010, 1:52 pm

@Charles: I know what you mean, however I've had to grip my E71 much tighter (totally covering the bottom half) and for longer than the iPhone4(from what I've seen on YouTube) for the bars to drop.

Plus, apart from just watching the bars go down, the number of people I've seen complaining* about actual calls dropping seem to indicate it's worse than the previous generation (which wasn't great).

*Includes a work colleague in the US who had 3 dropped calls within half an hour. But then I've heard complaints about AT&T's network quality too. Still, he just adds to a growing number.

I think I heard mention that Apple were already out of stock of "bumpers". Are they £25 a piece? Good for you, Apple...


June 28, 2010, 2:07 pm

I must admit the reception issue is worrying.

Will it stop me getting one!, no as the first thing I was going to do was put some protection on like invisibleSHIELD anyway, done that for my 3g and for 2 years it's kept it well protected. This time it will have a performance gain :)

@Bytes: I think your Method 2 seems like the most likely route.

@Ebbesen: spraying on a light coat of lacque

I wonder if that's some Apple might think about doing for the next production batch?


June 28, 2010, 3:27 pm

@Bytes So 1. just lie 2. fry the users hand.

@Keith Why not do what true gadget lovers do, get a Ipod Touch for the Apps & Android phone for everything else?


June 28, 2010, 3:53 pm

As @drDark says this was just a way to boost Bumper sales. Bumper crop for Apple.

If this is a hardware issue (and it seems it is) then they will have to replace phones. Still, the iPhone was never a good phone, just a great mobile device so all this isn't much of a surprise.

I just hope the next version of iOS fixes the slowdown on the 3G. Time to go back to 3.1.3 cos 4 ain't nothing but a crawl with no real useful new features.


June 28, 2010, 4:24 pm

If they keep roughly the same design for the Touch, can they get away with just one continuous antenna, so we can avoid this issue completely? Because that's the device I'm looking forward to. I've never wanted anything to do with extortionate contracts and dropped calls.


June 28, 2010, 4:45 pm

@Keith: I've seen the InvisibleShield products, but never used one myself. However, it's my understanding that it's basically a thin film which covers the screen. In which case, it definitely won't cover the metallic strip and I don't see how it will provide a "performance gain".

P.S. I just checked Amazon and their iPhone 4 version's been getting very bad reviews. Probably best to look into it a bit before investing, just in case.


June 28, 2010, 5:50 pm

@Charles - My E71 works fine in both hands, seperately and together. Palms over, thumbs in the way. On orange your could be just a network singal strength problem. CErtainly not the phone at all. Firmware - 300.21.012 (type *#0000# to see yours)


June 28, 2010, 5:52 pm

I know what the patch has...... a fixed icon showing the signal a full strength - that will be about the quality of the software ;)

Peter 20

June 28, 2010, 5:55 pm

Looks like Nokia already picked up on Iphone's goof...



June 28, 2010, 6:08 pm

@drDark: it definitely won't cover the metallic strip

From what I can gather the Full Body Maximum coverage does, make sure you don't get the easy install version as I believe it excludes side protection.

@drdark: I don't see how it will provide a "performance gain".

So it doesn't short the aerials and cause signal loss, I of course didn't mean upping the A4 MHZ's :)


June 28, 2010, 6:34 pm

@Keith: Ah, hadn't seen their full maximum thingy range (is it just me or does their product range sound like gym equipment?)

Yes, I gathered you meant the signal loss issue, which is why I commented on the metal strip still being uncovered (in the basic coverage version). Anyway, hopefully it works for some.


June 28, 2010, 7:16 pm

@Guy, yeh i'd never noticed the 'problem' until now and always hold the E71 in my right hand anyway. I'm on Softbank (Vodafone Japan) and we're just at the boundary of a coverage area here. But i think the fundamental point is that depending on where you place your hands the signal strength is likely to be attenuated differently. It pains me to say it but i'm with Steve Jobs on this one. Firmware 400.21.013 (22-10-2009)


June 28, 2010, 7:30 pm

Example of the same sort of problem on Nokia E71:



June 28, 2010, 8:12 pm

@LetsGo: Why not do what true gadget lovers do, get a Ipod Touch for the Apps & Android phone for everything else?

Thanks, but I think I'll stay as false gadget lover. :)

Although I think these new Android phones certainly look good, for me they would be too much of a compromise. A Desire for example might be the perfect phone for you, but for me it's missing a few features I would really miss.


June 28, 2010, 8:36 pm

@Keith The Desire is not perfect, it lacks a pull out keyboard for starters. The games support could be better. However the 'Android Scripting Environment' has me hooked :).


June 28, 2010, 9:25 pm

A bit more technical info on why antennas are now at the bottom of most phones http://www.antennasys.com/a...


June 28, 2010, 9:49 pm

Next iPhone version will be iPhone 4ss (ss=its all about Signal Strengh)!

iOS 4 on iPhone 3G is useless. Regretting..

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