Apple admits iPhone signal fault

Mike Halsey MVP
Jul 2, 2010
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Apple, Companies

It happens!  Technology moves to quickly and companies have such little time to actually socak test products these days that problems slip through.  Unless you're Toyota though they're not usually life-threatening which will come as some relief to Apple.

The BBC has reported that Apple have acknowledged there's an issue with people who "hold the iPhone 4 a certain way" that causes signal strength and reception to drop off.

Apple has put the problem down to an error on how signal bars are displayed, making it a software issue rather than one with the actual signal.  Some industry experts though are still saying that the problem could run deeper than a software glitch.

In a statement Apple said...

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong.Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays two more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display four bars when we should be displaying as few as two bars.

Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don't know it because we are erroneously displaying four or five bars.

Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

The theory goes that once a patch is in place the iPhone will report signal strength far more accurately.

Apple is Apple though and they'll ride the wave of bad publicity with good grace and without any damage to the company or their reputation.  Should this result in product recall though then things could get much worse as a million of the handsets have already been sold and this could cause significant problems for the company.


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  1. Anonymous said on July 3, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Have to say,,, Who suspects a cover-up? What if it IS a hardware fault and the update they plan to release will make the signal drop less obvious? Plus, why offer refunds if they say it’s a software bug they plan to fix?

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