TUAW Brain Trust: iPhone 4 phone calls

I have been having problems making calls on my iPhone 4. Whether at home or on the road, my signal strength is simply awful. The only place that I seem to get five bars is the Apple Store itself.

I visited the Genius Bar there tonight after Mike urged me to report my signal issues. So, I did. I called 1-800-SOS-APPL, and I was repeatedly and strongly urged to purchase a Bumper. I declined, so the rep made me a Genius Bar appointment.

The Genius hooked my phone into a laptop for diagnostics and told me that my calls were fine. The diagnostics showed no lost calls whatsoever -- in spite of what I experienced last night when I was repeatedly dropped from Talkshoe (see the image that accompanies this post). I ended up hopping over to a landline for the TUAW talkcast.

Read on for the rest of the saga...

Why don't my "Call Lost" and "Call Failed" results show up in the logs? I'm not sure. "We're not calling you a liar," the Apple Genius was quick to say -- but it kind of felt like they were. This is what my phone's bar status has been looking like as I'm trying to make phone calls. That's not good.

And did I mention that I got five bars the entire time I was at the store? You could insert the iPhone into, I dunno, King Kong or Moby Dick at that store, and you'd probably still get a full bar signal. It's a little depressing that something so reliably awful outside the store was so insanely and ridiculously upbeat and working while in the store. (Fear not, ... as I returned home, the signal strength once again plummeted.)

So, what was the final recommendation? Go home and restore the iPhone using recovery mode, and do not restore from backup.

Dude. Do you know how many hours I spent setting up my apps and folders just so? And you want me to just throw that out?

OK, TUAW Brain Trust, do you think there's something to his suggestion? Should I give it a try? I'm leaning towards waiting for the rumored software bug fix that Apple Insider thinks is likely to pop up over the next few days, but I'd sure love to hear your opinions in the comments. Have you heard anything about restored-from-backup problems being a root cause, or is this a case of "tell them to try something and send them home" instead? I throw myself into your Internet-savvy hands.


  • Readers suggest that Apple uses femtocells (or similar) in the store to ensure excellent reception. I haven't been able to Google up confirmation and the guy there did say that they didn't, but I'm open to any confirmation either way.

  • I did in fact try applying Reset Network Settings (Thanks, vcolombo) and still have the same signal drop-off as before.

  • It was less about waiting for all my data to sync and more about getting all my folders and apps set up just so that took all the time. I suppose I could take screen shots of each folder and rebuild them again, but it would be a big old pain.

  • Yes, I have tried the scotch tape trick -- also tried with electrical tape as well.