iPhone 4 has reception problems

Whatever you do, don’t touch the side of the phone

LO AND BEHOLD, Apple’s new baby, the iPhone 4 isn’t more than a day or so old in terms of retail availability and there are already reports of problems with the signal. Despite Apple’s new “magic” antenna design, the web is full of complaints from people that are having reception problems with the iPhone 4. The solution to the problem is actually rather simple; don’t touch the lower left side of the phone.

Yes, you did read that correctly, if you touch the lower left side of the iPhone 4, you might cause the signal to degrade, severely. Now it turns out that this is by design as it happens, as the way the new antenna design works, a sweaty (or even a fairly dry) palm causes the two antennas in the phone to cross their wires so to say. If you have a look at the picture below, you’ll notice a gap in the band around the side and when this is bridged, you’ll have reception problems. Not a very clever design and obviously not one that was tested enough ahead of the iPhone 4 going into production.

However, there are some very simple ways of getting around this problem. Apple’s official statement is that you should spend $29.00 on one of its “bumpers” for the iPhone 4, as these rubber side covers protects the sensitive antenna from ever making contact with the palm of your hand. For DIY:ers it turns out that there’s a much quicker and cheaper solution at hand, the universal fix-it-all, tape. Put a big enough piece of tape over the bottom left corner and you’re good to go. Or you could simply just avoid touching that part of the iPhone 4 of course. Then there’s the option of not buying one as well, which solves the problem entirely.  For more on the design choice by Apple see this analysis.S|A

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