Apple to iPhone 4 users: It’s the bars, stupid


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Apple says iPhones have been displaying too many signal bars because of a software glitch. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The results are in. After going back to the lab and doing some retesting, Apple Inc. says it’s not a defective antenna causing an apparent drop in reception in its newest iPhone, it’s the bars showing signal strength.


Apple issued a press release addressed to its iPhone 4 users Friday in response to complaints that the device drops four or five bars of reception when holding it in such a way that covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band.’

The company said it started looking into the issue because that was a ‘far bigger drop than normal’ from other mobile phones, which typically lose one bar when gripping them.

‘Upon investigation,’ Apple said it was ‘stunned’ to find that it had inaccurately configured the formula that displays the handset’s signal strength, so that in most cases the phone shows two more bars than it should.

So naturally, those who showed that big drop in bars actually had weak signal strength to begin with, the company said.

Apple also said it discovered the problem was inherent in all its previous iPhones.

To correct the glitch, Apple will be issuing a software update with the proper formula in a few weeks. Because this issue can be found in all of its phones, there will also be an update for the previous generations iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

Also, bars one, two and three will be made to appear taller, so users can see them better, Apple said.


-- Kristena Hansen