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iOS 4.0.1, 4.1 fix signal reporting, leave drops intact

updated 11:45 am EDT, Fri July 16, 2010

iPhone 4 awaits today's expected remedy

The most advanced releases of iOS -- 4.0.1 and the 4.1 beta -- do indeed have better reporting of iPhone signal strength, tests are said to show. Anandtech notes that the dynamic range in the new firmware is better, and that the range assigned to each signal bar is generally wider. The main exception to this is the fifth bar, which in the v4.0 firmware occupied a disproportionate amount of the scale.

Even if signal drops by 24dBm, an iPhone should now only lose two bars of strength, not all of them. The single-bar level has been extended down to -121dBm instead of -113, reflecting the iPhone 4's increased sensitivity and ability to maintain a weak connection. The result is ultimately thought to be "more honest" with regards to AT&T's coverage, even if the newly longer bar graphics may give some people a false sense of security. Others could theoretically assume their phone performance is worse and become angry with AT&T, the study suggests.

In any case the new firmware is said to do nothing for the iPhone 4's signal loss problem, caused by holding the device with a particular grip. Apple is scheduled to hold a press conference on the matter later today, at about 10AM Pacific time, 1PM Eastern. It's thought that some form of hardware fix will be necessary, offered at Apple's expense.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bdmarsh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    more accurate in Canada as well

    I thought it was strange I was showing 5 bars almost all the time on my iPhone 3G with Fido
    now it actually varies, and seems to better indicate the quality of the call I make as well
    (Never have had dropped call issues here in Winnipeg, I think once in 2 years)

    with one bar, the call quality will not be good
    2 bars there might be some distortion
    3 bars and higher is usually a good call.

    This also reflects data speeds better as well.
    I won't be upgrading to an iPhone 4 until November or so, so can't confirm or deny any grip issues.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    out of proportion

    Quote: "the iPhone 4's signal loss problem, caused by holding the device with a particular grip"

    This is what Steve meant during the press conference, about the media blowing this story completely out of proportion. There is no "signal loss problem", ie. the signal is not completely "lost" when the device is being held "with a particular grip". Way to overdo it, people.

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