An ongoing and widespread audio problem with Apple's iPhone 4S has its customers growing angry. The issue has gone unacknowledged since just after the phone's release in October 2011.
Owners of a new iPhone 4S are finding that some outgoing calls have no audio. The person they call can hear them, but the caller can't hear the recipient - no ringing, nothing. The issue seems to compound around use of Apple's included hands-free setup.
Right now, 108 pages of customer complaints sit ignored on the Apple Support Communities forum. The page has been viewed over 150,000 times.
The iPhone owners are clearly surprised and in some cases enraged that an Apple issue can have so many pages - and continue to grow - without a response of any kind from Apple.
After languishing for three months, customers on Apple's Support forum are starting to call their situation "Audiogate."
October 17 was the first post for the issue - three days after the phone hit stores.
You can see the whole mess at iPhone 4S - Outgoing call no audio on the Apple Support boards. Astonishingly the issue has never been addressed, with new complaints being added daily from customers around the world - and over 1,500 people have posted with the issue.
Today an exasperated customer writes,
Three of us in my family have a brand new iPhone 4S from Sprint and ALL have the same issue -- no audio and microphone does not work when using the included earphones/hands-free setup.
This seems to be a VERY common problem on the 4S judging from this thread and the three brand new phones we have. It's a MAJOR problem given that the law requires hands free use of mobile phones in several states including California and New York!
APPLE, PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE AND FIX THIS ISSUE.
Why isn't Apple taking their calls?
People in the support forum have tried everything they can to fix the issue, becoming their own audiogate support group. Many have returned their iPhones. A significant number of customers report they still have the same outgoing audio problem with the new iPhone 4S they receive as a replacement.
On average the problem is that some outgoing calls have no audio - some claim one in ten calls, others claim infrequency as little as one in fifty.
The problem is being reported on networks around the globe, including Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and even Vodafone UK, Vodafone Spain, T-Mobile Poland, Sonera Finland, Comcel Colombia and Fido Canada.
Another poster explains,
I've been playing around with the problem a bit. It seems as though plugging headphones into the phone and THEN trying to make a phone call injects chaos into the system.
When I do such, my speakerphone button apparently thinks it's on, then off, then on, then off and then repeats the process until the phone app freezes.
The large group has been comparing notes on fixes for months; the general opinion is that the problem is software related. Many of them believe that Siri is to blame.
One user reports being able to reproduce the issue with the following:
1) Use Siri. Raise to speak or home button press. Doesn't seem to matter. When Siri is done answering you, press the home button.
2) Make a call. If its acting up, you will have no audio from the handset until you toggle the speaker phone button. Then the audio from the handset comes back.
I can get a failure about 1 out of every 7 calls after a Siri activation. Once it fails it usually fails for 2 or 3 calls in a row.
Handing out a new iPhone 4S can't be a cost effective solution, and customers are becoming suspicious. A recent comment from today explains,
Update - I took it to the Genius Bar in San Francisco, and the first time around was told that it was likely a software issue or possible an earphone issue, so they wiped my phone and gave me new headphones, and handed me back the phone.
As soon as that was done, I tried again and had the same exact issue. I immediately demonstrated it for them, they took it back, and then said that they don't know how to resolve it so they gave me a new phone.
Interesting that the first time they seemed to say they couldn't replicate the issue and that the software refresh should fix things, but immediately when I replicated it for them they were pretty quick about just handing me a new phone, no questions asked.
Let's hope they address and solve audiogate before the Apple Support Communities thread page count climbs any higher.
I also hope they get around to addressing Safari's serious - and currently unanswered - IOS 5 caching issue...