Bumpers help prevent iPhone 4 signal drop

by Justin Horn on Jun 24th, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

UPDATE The final answer on how the signal is affected in hand vs in case.

After some tests this morning, it looks like the bumper case helps with the antenna issue we reported on yesterday. Keep in mind that I used the main 5 bar signal indicator as a reference, not sure how to get into field test mode on the iPhone 4. Also, as the signal can change anytime, for any reason, the results were not always the same. I just kept repeating (many times) the test and this was what I got on average.

No Bumper
Hands off: 4-5 bars
In hand: 1 bar

With Bumper
Hands off: 4-5 bars
In hand: 3 bars

So the bumper did keep the signal at 3 bars compared to it plummeting to 1 bar shortly after picking up the naked iPhone.

I then tested in another room with less electronics. In this room I started with a strong signal of 5 bars. This time around, with or without the bumper, the signal held pretty much at 5 bars. This may explain why some people don’t seem to notice this issue. If you have really great AT&T service where you live, the in hand signal drop may not be as noticeable.

Check out this video of this strong signal room.

The fact that the signal still dropped down to 3 bars even with the bumper on and that I saw no drop in the “strong signal room”, leads me to believe that a software update to boost the output power (like we got in the 3.x days) may help resolve the issue. Apple said a software patch was coming, so I guess we won’t have to wait long to find out…when will iOS 4.0.1 be released?

Follow me on Twitter @justin_horn

View 4 Comments
Antenna Issue, Featured post, iPhone 4


  1. [...] Add me to the list, same problem!  Got a bumper though, hopefully it helps. It does seem the bumpers help [...]

  2. 2.
  3. Ivan Williams
    June 24th, 2010 1:32 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. Brilliant info…


  4. 3.
  5. [...] looked into how the bumper case effected the signal loss problem earlier. It helped lessen the signal loss, but still lost a couple [...]

  6. 4.
  7. [...] first thought this could be the answer way back on the June 24th during my bumper testing: I then tested in another room with less electronics. In this room I started with a strong signal [...]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.