1 Reply Latest reply: Sep 25, 2010 4:47 PM by HighSierra
HighSierra Level 1 (0 points)
You are definitely not alone with your issues. I'm on my second iPhone 4 unit, and am still having the same problems. I've had proximity sensor insanity, battery draining after 8 hours of stand-by (NO USE, just sleeping) to the point that my phone goes into a coma and has to be plugged in to be revived, the grip of death dropping calls....

But the single most irritating and infuriating problem is the signal strength/reception fluctuation. I share a house with two iPhone 3Gs users, and I had an original silverback iphone until July 2010. They all work fantastically well with no issues when I'm at home (where I am just about 24/7, since I work from home). *_My new iPhone 4 doesn't work at all.*_. Signal strength is all over the place. I did a test where I sat watching the bars showing signal strength for five minutes. In that time, I saw it switch from E (edge?) with full bars to 3G with full bars to 3G with 1 bar to 2 bars to 4 bars to 1 bar to "Searching." Then back to 3G, with degradation of bars from 3 to none, then E network appears again, this time with full strength. This all with the phone sitting on a table, not being touched by human hands.

It seems that my iPhone is constantly switching actual physical networks, and as a result signal strength is all over the place from one 30 second period of time to the next. This drains the battery like crazy, and means that all incoming calls go to voicemail--usually without my phone ever ringing.

The 3G phones in my house work great. The 1st G iPhone I have had since the week it came out worked great (though its battery doesn't hold much of a charge anymore, after three years). On my new IP4, games are awesome. The videos and photos are amazingly clear and high quality, and editing on the phone is out of sight. iPhone Apps rule. MobileMe syncs my contacts quickly and easy. The only thing I love more than the iP4 features is my iPad--it rocks.

Everything works on my IP4 at home BUT THE ACTUAL TELEPHONE FUNCTIONS. This is unacceptable. In late August, after two weeks in which I had 4 minutes of phone use, the nice folks at the Apple store switched me to a new phone, no questions asked. The phone worked so much better, I could send texts and place calls most of the time (this was now the first part of September)...except that now that I was using my IP4 to make phone calls, I started having a problem with the proximity sensor during those calls. I'd be talking and my cheek would mute the phone, turn on speaker, open contacts and edit info (with gobbledygook), and of course, hang up on people.

So around Sept. 18 I was told by Apple phone support to update to iOS 4.2, restore as new, and do two complete power up and drain down cycles. This would fix the proximity sensor and any other issues.

Well, I would love to see if iOS 4.2 actually did fix the PS, but I can't get the signal strength to stabilize long enough to have an actual phone conversation. I'm back to watching the signal strength go up and down at random (with me touching/holding it carefully to avoid grip of death, and also when I leave phone on the table with screen lock off --no touching). It is back to switching between E network and 3G and varying strengths of wi-fi from my home network. This eats up battery from 100% to low enough to turn off in under 10 hours of standby (usually 6-7). Essentially, my IP4 is back to being unusable as a phone.

So I did another long, involved call to Apple tech support on 9/18. They tell me that I have to turn off wi-fi, turn off 3G, turn off push/fetch and notifications, shut all apps (no multi-tasking) and do everything but switch my phone to airplane mode--and see if the battery holds up for 24 hours in standby. If that didn't work, I should restore from new, but not load any contacts or network or data or anything--just leave it as it would be out of the box new.

As a test, I turned everything off as advised: 3G, wi-fi, push, etc. Now my battery life is back to normal, where I can have the IP4 on stand-by for up to two full days before needing a recharge. Fabulous. BUT IT'S NOT A SMART PHONE if I have to turn off 3G, turn off wireless, and not use email push and so forth.

I'm so frustrated I could scream. I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that there is a significant flaw in the new iPhone. Or perhaps it is just an issue for iPhone 4 users in areas where the signal strength is marginal, or where there are two types of overlapping network coverage (E and 3G in my case). I know that the networks themselves are in good condition--though I'm in a semi-rural area, the state capital is 4 miles away, and I know they have a new tower and good coverage for the politicians and power brokers around town. The phone coverage area I live in has Edge network in the south part of the network area and 3G in the north part, which is the state capital. I'm right in between. Could this be the problem? AT&T says no, it's Apple's fault.

Message was edited by: HighSierra

MacBook Pro, iOS 4
  • HighSierra Level 1 (0 points)
    So what to do besides complain? Troubleshoot?

    I just wonder if all of us who have had chronic signal strength and "Searching for network" issues that totally drain the battery might have something in common, despite being all over the world? I'm using wi-fi 95% of the time, and live in a semi-rural area with overlapping networks run by same carrier. Apple folks hinted that maybe in my area the network usage is nearing capacity (resulting in getting kicked off of 3G and down to E as new calls are placed that strain capacity). They also hinted there could be interference from mountains or other objects. But here's the thing--3G phones work fine, and my IP4 works fine when I'm away from home, usually in the capital city on strong 3G network. (When I say "works fine I mean the signal is good and calls go through, I haven't tested battery drain away from home yet).

    I have to conclude that the problem is the IP4 itself--something about the hardware or the software (namely, the way it connects to the phone network) is horribly wrong. Other folks who live in urban areas or with strong networks that (likely) aren't over-utilized don't seem to have this issue. After reading through these pages, it also seems the wi-fi may be a major culprit in draining the battery and in varying signal strength (this is from Apple phone support, which said that varying signal strength and the constant pinging off the home wi-fi is creating a "power struggle" and keeping the phone constantly looking for the best connection option). Mind you, 3G iphones on the same home network have no problems whatsoever.

    So while I'm not a technical expert, it seems like the problem HAS to lie in the differences in the way the IP4 connects to the cellular and/or wi-fi network. And since the connection/signal strength problem was "resolved" on my replacement phone, but then "broken" again by the software update of iOS 4.2, I'm leaning toward this being a software issue. I've offered to help Apple troubleshoot, and I'm trying to be patient--because the IP4 is a work of art and I've never had an issue with an Apple product before. But all they want me to do is restore, restore, reload, restore, and then drive 1 hour to the nearest Apple store (in Reno, NV) and get a new phone...and start the whole process over again. I don't have time for this, I need my phone back.

    I'm this close to trading in my beautiful but flawed IP4 for a 3G. Maybe I should just get a new battery for my original iPhone from 2007?

    I understand that Apple can't test for every possible variable of use all over the world, but they don't even seem to acknowledge that they have a problem with the IP4 that will not be resolved by replacing it with a new unit. They want me to believe it's a fluke, or it's just me...but I've been combing these threads and see a lot of people reporting the same issues I am--battery drain and wildly fluctuating signal strength issues, wi-fi problems, and dropped calls. Can't someone get on this? Because otherwise Apple is going to have to admit that their IP4 is not a good solution for people who live in areas of less than perfect signal strength or use wifi or whatever demonic combo I have in my home/work setting.

    Or people will have to do what I have done--if you who want the cool IP4 non-phone features, you will have to dumb down your IP4 in order to have it be even moderately useful as *a phone.* For $599 I expected better.

    My (temporary) workaround?

    To spare the battery:
    *Turn off wi-fi (which *****, because now I have to burn minutes when I'm at work using the email, downloads, safari, etc--and it's E network, so it's SLLOOOOOOOW)
    *turn off push and fetch, have mail get new messages manually
    *turn off data roaming

    To keep the signal somewhat stable (making it easier to complete calls and spare battery)
    *Turn off 3G (this leaves me on E network--fabulous, I had that with my 3 year old iPhone)
    *grip IP4 between two fingers placed at the top of the phone, away from death zone. Tough for us lefty phone users.
    *pray the free bumper will a) come soon and b) help. I'm not optimistic.

    To keep proximity sensor from going nuts and dropping calls, muting, turning on speaker etc:
    *use headset or bluetooth (unless you are also having one of the known bluetooth issues!)
    *keep phone pressed to one ear and don't move it a millimeter. Don't shift sides, don't hold phone with your shoulder, just keep it to one ear and talk fast).

    I'm about out of patience. I understand that lots of folks have and love their IP4s. I'd love to be one of those people. I'm open to suggestions and have spent many hours on phone with tech support, restoring my phone, reloading data and apps--there has to be a better way.

    Sorry for the thread-jacking, but someone from Apple has got to be following these threads--help us!