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iPhone 4 proximity sensor glitch surfaces

Some early adopters of the Apple iPhone 4 are reporting proximity sensor issues that have led to unintended button presses as the screen switches on-and-off mid-call.The glitch, according to a post on Apple's own support forum, revolves around an overly sensitive (or miscalibrated) proximity sensor that incorrectly identifies when the handset is being held to a users' face.
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor on

Some early adopters of the Apple iPhone 4 are reporting proximity sensor issues that have led to unintended button presses as the screen switches on-and-off mid-call.

The glitch, according to a post on Apple's own support forum, revolves around an overly sensitive (or miscalibrated) proximity sensor that incorrectly identifies when the handset is being held to a users' face.

The initial complaint, made on 23 June, has quickly grown into a 68+ page thread with more than 1000 responses, a number of which are other Apple customers reporting the same issue.

"I'm having an issue with the Proximity Sensor not properly detecting when I'm holding my phone to my ear. I can confirm that the iPhone sensor is working by covering it with my finger, but when held to my face, the screen blinks as if it cannot decide to disable the screen or enable it. It results on me hanging up, putting calls on mute, and dialling numbers accidentally while I'm on the phone. This occurs on 90% of my calls. Is anyone else experiencing this issue?" asked the original poster, who goes by the username mdalegre, on the Apple support forum.

Users maintain that while the sensor works correctly when placing a finger over it, actual in-call performance is extremely unpredictable and often results in unintended actions being taken.

Even ZDNet.com's Jason O'Grady hasn't been spared the proximity sensor problem, " My iPhone 4 constantly mutes, holds or switches to FaceTime when it touches my face. Clearly a problem with the iPhone’s proximity sensor", said O'Grady in a post on our US sister site.

With no official statement on the reported issues from Apple a number of iPhone 4 owners are wondering whether the problem lies in the software or is as a result of moving the sensor during the handset's redesign process.

ZDNet UK contacted Apple about the claims but received no response at the time of writing.

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