Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested (updated)

Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested (updated)

Summary: Finally, some relief is in sight for iPhone 4 users bedeviled by the proximity sensor bug. Apple has apparently fixed the widely-reported issue in iOS 4.1 beta 2 -- available to developers.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware
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Finally, some relief is in sight for iPhone 4 users bedeviled by the proximity sensor bug. I called it Apple's second Vietnam on July 5 because the proximity bug is a worse problem than Antennagate. Simply put, the antenna problem is easily mitigated with a case (or a piece of tape) -- but the proximity sensor bug is a deal breaker, especially when it causes you to hang up on/mute/Facetime calls with clients.

The proximity sensor in the iPhone 4 is what tells it how close the phone is to your face so that it can turn the touchscreen off while you're making a phone call. This has the effect of a) saving battery power, and b) preventing inadvertent touches of the screen by your face.

The problem is that the proximity sensor in the iPhone 4 is on a hair trigger. It's either not sensitive enough, miscalibrated or both. In over three years of using the iPhone 2G, 3G and 3GS I've never accidentally hung up on, muted or put a call on speakerphone while holding it up to my face -- not once. Yet I've done it a half dozen times on my iPhone 4 over the past weekend.

There are conflicting reports about whether Apple fixed the widely-reported iPhone 4 proximity sensor issue in iOS 4.1 beta 2. MacRumors says the issue hasn’t been addressed, but Cult of Mac says that beta 2 fixes the bug. As an added bonus, Cult reports that beta 2 also includes a baseband update (AT&T 7.1), which apparently fixes HSUPA upload speed issues -- which slowed video and photo uploads to a crawl.

The iOS 4.1 beta 2 update is only available to developers, but it could be released as soon as the end of August if testing goes well.

Update: I hate to be the bearer of bad news but iOS 4.1b2 didn't fix the issue for my iPhone. I faceTimed a couple of callers today.

Tip: PowerPage via Cult Of Mac

Topics: Apple, Hardware

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37 comments
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  • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

    Hey, it could be released by tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, or the day after that. Reliable sources expect it to be released on Montueswedthursfriday.
    dogbreath1
    • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

      @dogbreath1

      Thank you for your highly informative and useful post.

      I shall be contacting you every one of these days to check if your info was in fact correct.

      It is useful to know that it may take up to 5 days by your estimate to investigate a problem, release beta code of an OS update to testing, perform more debugging and then more beta testing until the code can be expected to work for 30 million different combinations of users and phones and networks and environments.

      It is such a big job - good to see 5 days is enough to do all of this.
      richardw66
    • doesn't matter

      Word is that this is another hardware defect. Apple apparently moved the proximity sensor in the iPhone 4 so it fires INTO YOUR EAR CANAL. Duh, no wonder it doesn't work.

      Finally, not even the superficial "tech journalists" and head-in-the-sand Apple lemmings can suppress the news of Apple's lack of common sense and lack of real-world testing.
      dgurney
  • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

    Considering the scope and complexity of issues like this I give Apple kudos for quickly responding to what appears to be a small percentage of customer's issues. That includes the antenna issue. Apple, in spite of the rabid geek squads who hate the idea that computers are being used by the unwashed masses with ease, remains top dog when it comes to customer service.
    dheady@...
    • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

      @dheady@... Drink the kool aid. Must be tasty!
      Droid101
      • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

        @Droid101 Thanks for making my point.
        dheady@...
      • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

        @Droid101

        yep - does your android not dispense Kool-aid?

        If not then why are you spouting so much nonsense and bile?

        i suggest getting a new phone, one which is actually better equipped for your needs.
        richardw66
    • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

      @dheady@...
      That may be but they already lost my account.
      2 idevices now switched to android.

      Apple blew it with the rabid denial and blaiming the user.

      btw: small percentage? mine and several peers all have varying degrees of prox sensor issues.
      rhonin
      • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

        @zenwalker First you say that they lost your account and then you say "mine and several peers all have varying degrees of prox sensor issues." So do you have one or not?? I am thinking you probably never did have one!!!
        Jossef12
      • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

        @Jossef12
        Had a 3G, then a 3GS, then a 4.... took back the 4 and got an android device.

        Make sense?

        Have several peers that have the 4.
        2 have returned, rest still have 4.
        All have had issues of one type or another, some sticking it out.

        Make sense?

        Now, go stick your head back in the kool-aid.
        rhonin
      • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

        ya, it's always the ones who don't own the iPhone 4 that are returning it....

        fewer people have taken back the iPhone 4 than the iPhone 3Gs by double and triple, yet here they all are... all three...
        honkj
  • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

    Um, how was point proved again? I'd love to see the rdf in action again.
    Helio99000
  • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

    @zenwalker ...that's so weird! Here I thought when someone denies something, they don't hold a press conference and say "we're not perfect" 22 days from a device's launch. That would make them...GASP...responsible! When I had a Palm trio 3 years ago, the sh*t didn't even ring because the hardware was crappy at best and Windows mobile was unfathomably slow. This was an issue across the board for people with the phone, and did Palm do anything to fix it...Hmm...no. Even after years. And here you are complaining about a 22 day window. GET OVER YOURSELF. Facts are facts buddy, so time to wake up.
    bkbased
    • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

      @bkbased
      Which Palm?
      Had the Treo (600 and 650) - poor quality control.
      Good concept but known issues.
      They were breaking new ground with that genre. Never did get it right.

      iPhone? Get real. 4th gen and all they ever do is blame the user - so I voted with my wallet.
      rhonin
      • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

        @zenwalker

        Anybody silly enough to move to a Google spyphone is lost to the world and deserves what they get.
        jorjitop
    • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

      @bkbased

      Apple only did that "we're not perfect" conference AFTER they tried to blame the user, etc and it DID NOT WORK. Too many people were pointing out where they were wrong, so they were FORCED to do the mea culpa. Also, this is the 4th iteration of a device, you would have thought they would have gotten the antennae thing right.

      I have a 3g and finished my contract 2 weeks ago, but held off upgrading based upon what I saw happening. Not sure if I will upgrade or switch to an Android product - I purchased a 3g, but never really drank the Koolaid like some.
      tbuccelli
      • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

        @tbuccelli

        <i>Also, this is the 4th iteration of a device, you would have thought they would have gotten the antennae thing right.</i>

        They innovated.

        The innovation caused something to be visible that was previously invisible, namely the worst spot to hold any phone - over the antenna gap.

        This created a target.

        Lesson number 1 - do not try to do anything good when you may incur the wroth of the Apple hate brigade as a result.


        <i>Too many people were pointing out where they were wrong, so they were FORCED to do the mea culpa.</i>

        No - they did not do the Mea Culpa - this was bad reporting by ZDNet, yet again.

        I can show that there is no iPhone specific issue here.

        Apple has shown it also.

        Apple by no means is at fault.

        The iPhone 4 is fine - stop believing the crap.

        <i>but never really drank the Koolaid like some.</i>

        No, sounds like you drank the other flavour.
        richardw66
      • Lesson number 1: Actually test the "innovation" before you RTM it.

        @richardw66
        You know...Actually TEST to see if normal people holding the phone in a perfectly natural, normal way, will cause the problems we've seen documented time and time again.

        That's instead of just making something that looks pretty but doesn't work too well unless you've got a rubber baby buggy bumper on it or you're forced to hold it in some weird unnatural way. That way they don't look quite as inept and bloody stupid as they did this time around.

        And you're right. There was no mea culpa. They did NOT apologize. There was no "my bad..." They did the worst possible thing instead - they pointed fingers everywhere but at themselves. They said everybody else has the SAME issue. Which was proven, later on to be false. While some phones MAY drop calls every so often when held the wrong way, NONE of them do it as well and as often as the iPhone 4.

        Since Apple's crack (smoking) engineers came up with the iPhone 4 design, who else BUT Apple is responsible for the design problem?

        Nokia's response said they looked at designs like that and discarded them because they actually tested something like that and found the design to be a bad one. RIM pretty much said the same thing.

        Oh yeah.. it's gotta be the stupid users who hold their phones the wrong way. They're the perfect targets.

        Yeah... It's that sort of attitude is why many people LOVE to pile on the hate when it comes to Apple. And for what it's worth - when Apple pulls stunts like that - they've earned EVERY bit of ire thrown at them.
        Wolfie2K3
      • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

        @tbuccelli They most definitely screwed up (at least Jobs) on how they handles this who issue but IMO most of the complaints came from the haters regarding both the antenna and the proximity sensor which I have heard very little about.

        I also just came out of contract with my 3g and have also never drank the koolaid. While I love my iPhone it is just that, a phone, not something that you should get overly attached too like the fan boys for whatever OS. I am waiting to see what possible carrier additions are made before I upgrade. At this point the limit experience I have had with Android based phones have not offered me enough reason to dump all the apps I like and use on the iPhone to start over, of course that could change.
        non-biased
    • RE: Fix for buggy iPhone 4 proximity sensor being tested

      @bkbased
      So, you aren't worried about the battery/power supply issues that they are NOT talking about? You know, the problem of overheating when charging (especially when using the GPS at the same time - like plugged into a cig. adapter)? Oh, but crApple says there is no problem... Yet they aren't telling anyone why they can't get a WHITE iPhone yet... Maybe because they turn BROWN after a while?!?! Yep and I just have to wonder what the heck is making them turn brown? Could it be that it's overheating?? Nah... But hey, we just won't sell white ones, that way nobody will know we have other problems with the phone too!
      djalan