11 Replies Latest reply: Jan 16, 2013 7:28 AM by macandmercedes
robmandu Level 1 (60 points)

My iPhone 4 is steadily getting worse about dropping bluetooth connection with my headset.


I'm on my second iPhone 4 with this same issue. The symptoms:


  1. Bluetooth works great on the iPhone for several months and is fine with different brand headsets, including Samsung and LG
  2. After several months, the iPhone will start dropping bluetooth connection with the headset when in close proximity and on standby (that is, not actively in a call, just paired and waiting).
  3. Once the problem begins, it gets increasingly worse in just a week or two, with the connection dropping and re-establishing multiple times a minute even with the iPhone in my front pocket, less than 3 feet from the headset, and on the same side of my body.
  4. The bluetooth connection seems slightly stronger when a call is active. Although, the call participants might sound garbled to each other if there's anything between the phone and headset (like my body).
  5. The problem is reproducible even with a brand new headset.


The following suggested resolutions did not work for me:

  1. Power off/on the iPhone
  2. Reset the iPhone (Power + Home Button)
  3. Toggle Airplane Mode
  4. Toggle Bluetooth radio
  5. Delete and re-pair the bluetooth device(s)
  6. Reset Network
  7. Pair a brand-new, out of the box bluetooth headset.


With my first iPhone, I was able to demonstrate the problem at the Apple Store. They provided a free replacement iPhone on the spot. Great!


Fast-forward a few months and now, with the second iPhone having the same problem, the Apple Store is less eager to replace the unit. Their back-room diagnostic testing with connection to clock-radio units did not demonsrate the problem (for one thing, that uses the A2DP bluetooth profile, not supported on any of my headsets). They offered to replace the unit again anyway to "make me happy", but I prefer a real solution. The Apple Store rep didn't find any technical bulletins about this problem.


After purchasing yet another brand-new headset, I now plan to return this second iPhone to the Apple Store for replacement... but I want to know if I alone have uncovered this particular hardware issue with the iPhone 4.

iPhone 4, iOS 5.1
  • xtremecarbon Level 4 (2,235 points)

    Have you been purchasing the same type of headset? Different headsets?


    I encourage you to try this on multiple iPhones (4S and 3GS) to see if the problem persists.


    I know the Bluetooth profile has been updated to some extent in 5.1 but I'm not sure exactly what has been updated

  • robmandu Level 1 (60 points)

    Yes, different brands have been tried... they each see drop and reconn occur several times a minute if I even put fabric between the headset and phone within 3 feet of each other. My newest one I paired up just yesterday is a Samsung WEP480.


    If I remember correctly, my first iPhone was still running iOS 4 when the Apple Store replaced it for this same problem. My current iPhone is running iOS 5.1.


    And keep in mind... I've been using this second iPhone for several months now with different bluetooth headsets just fine. It's only lately that it has developed this problem.


    Do bluetooth chips get worn out from too much use?

  • Jan_Havlovic Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same issue only my iphone came directly from carrier (rogers) don't think i can get it replaced hope we get a solution i am on my fourth headset tried all those fixes too has anyone tried to wipe phone and reload from itunes backup?

  • robmandu Level 1 (60 points)

    Jan, If you're still in the first year, then your warranty is with Apple and still in effect.


    Apple ended up replacing this phone with the Bluetooth problem, too (that's twice now).

  • robmandu Level 1 (60 points)

    Alright... so bear with me here... this is crazy...


    1st iPhone 4: developed increasingly worse bluetooth connection after working fine for months ==> Apple replaced it.


    2nd iPhone 4: developed increasingly worse bluetooth connection after working fine for months (the subject of this disucssions here) ==> Apple replaced it.


    -- At this point, it's almost, but not quite a year after taking initial delivery of the first iPhone 4 --


    3rd iPhone 4: developed increasingly worse cellular connection after working fine for about 3 weeks ==> Apple replaced it.


    4th iPhone 4: just got it less than 7 days ago... and now the bluetooth connection keeps dropping off and on.


    -- What. The. Heck. Right?!?!


    I'm willing to accept that there must be something I'm doing that's the cause of the problems. But what????? I haven't dropped the phone, I keep a bumper case on it. I don't leave it in a hot car or otherwise abuse it. I've tried all of the troubleshooting steps outlined in the original post above. I've tried different brand bluetooth headsets and all.


    What could I possibly be doing to fry the radio electronics on four different devices!?!?!?

  • Dale_F Level 1 (0 points)

    I have just started having the same issue and I immediately tried all 3 of my different headsets. They are Motorola sd 10 that I have been using for up to a year for one of them. Never an issue up until yesterday. I noticed it mostly when my music continually cuts out on pandora. I had clients tell me they were having troubles hearing me also, but I just figured they were not used to hearing me in a headset. But maybe not. I have not found any place that offer an explanation to the problem. If you do letr me know.

  • sberrygirl Level 1 (0 points)

    I have an iPhone4 and have been having the SAME issues; have had the phone replaced a couple of times and have tried just about every Bluetooth on the market and am getting the same results.  It has become quite embarrassing as I have dropped so many calls and with people how have some of the "worse" phones out there.  Of course, I'm beginning to think this phone might be the worst one out there if it can't hold a Bluetooth connection!  Had one guy at the genius bar tell me it was bad software and suggested I restore from new.  Of course, I tried it...for nothing!


    I sure hope they come up with a resolution soon or I will definitely be getting me a samsung!

  • Mike Pop Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same issues.  Brand new headsets work fine for a month to three months.  Then, they either stop working or constantly lose connection with the phone.  When they did work, I could walk about 30 feet away and still use them.  Now I can't even go 2 feet without it disconnecting.  Even staying within the 2 foot distance, callers on the other end get garbled or broken messages.  I've tried different headsets with the same results.


    Is there a solution for this?  I'm don't want to have to keep spending money on headsets that won't work.

  • sberrygirl Level 1 (0 points)

    I've been using the Plantronics Voyager Legend for a couple of months now and it works like a charm.  However, you may have to update the software on it when you first get it; otherwise, you'll have the connection issues again.


    Hope this helps.

  • robmandu Level 1 (60 points)

    Just fyi that I installed a bluetooth-compatible Pioneer-brand stereo unit in my vehicle.


    I'm still using my 4th iPhone 4 as described in my post above. First-time pairing of the iPhone to the stereo works fine. When paired, I can play music through various music apps a-ok.


    However, leaving with my iPhone and then later returning to my vehicle, they will not pair back up automatically as they should. I usually can go into the iPhone's Bluetooth Settings, tap the stereo's item and force it to connect... but shouldn't have to.


    Also, I was able to make one phone call with the phone through the stereo's Bluetooth connection (the whole point for buying the thing)... but since then, the stereo doesn't see the phone connection anymore, even if it's playing music through the Bluetooth connection.


    If I try to make a phone call with the iPhone directly while Bluetooth connected, it will show me three sources:

    1. iPhone

    2. iPhone Speakerphone

    3. The Pioneer stereo


    However, even if I tap a different source, it won't change off of the normal iPhone. The button lights blue temporarily while I tap it, but the selection won't stick.


    On Amazon.com, reviewers with an iPhone 4 have high praises for the compatibility, ease of use, and reliability of the Bluetooth connection with their Pioneer units.


    So I think this is yet another case where whatever iPhone 4 I have - again, on my fourth one! - refuses to play nice with other Bluetooth items specifically for phone connections.

  • macandmercedes Level 1 (85 points)

    Apple is fully aware of this issue... Now, that being said, have you removed everything else from the equation? For instance:


    1. Are there any electronics that you're always around that could potentially be causing RF interference?

    2. When testing, have you ensured that the accessories are fully charged? (I'm sure you have, but I've got to ask.)

    3. Have you ensured that the latest accessory firmware is installed? (I'm sure you have, but I've got to ask.)

    4. Have you ensured that the accesory uses a profile that works on the current iOS version? (I'm sure you have, but I've got to ask.)


    This has been a known issue with Apple and although it's possible that something above could be causing the conflict, more than likely you'll need to wait for an update from Apple to resolve.