The iPad 2 Gets Its Own Mini-Antennagate

The iPad 2 Gets Its Own Mini-Antennagate

The placement of the cellular and WiFi antennas between the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 couldn’t be more different, but that’s not stopping a small but vocal minority of iPad 2 owners to cry about an Antennagate of their own.

A number of iPad 2 owners are reporting that their WiFi signal is dropping when they put their hand over their iPhone’s speaker grill. Some users say their device loses radio signal completely, while others merely report a drop of a couple of bars.

An AppAdvice reader explains the problem:

Seems the iPad 2 has antenna gate also, I have noticed this for awhile. If I hold the iPad 2 on the sides my Wi-Fi drops to 2 bars but when I move my hand away from the left side it speeds up again.

What’s weird about these reports is that the iPad 2, by all accounts, shouldn’t have the same kind of antenna attenuation issues as the iPhone 4.

iPhone 4 signal drop was caused by accidentally bridging two sections of the antenna with your hands. It’s largely an issue with Apple making the iPhone’s antenna external. With the iPad, 2, though, the antennas are located behind the Apple logo on the back of the device. You literally can’t bridge it in the same way.

So what’s going on? Best guess is that a small number of users have faulty iPad 2 units, and you should be able to swap it out for a replacement at your local Apple Store if you can show it to a Genius. Failing that, though, the solution seems to be the same as with the iPhone 4 Antennagate: get yourself a case.

  • GregsTechBlog

    It’s my belief that the antenna issues are caused by something else: imagination.

    My source? Personal testing with my iPhone 4. While I’ll admit I normally have a case on it (dropping my phone is a constant fear), I have tested it without the case to find no real drop in signal. A bar or two, the same with any other phone I’ve used. 

  • Paul

    Agree.

  • prof_peabody

    I can’t make my iPad lose signal no matter where I grab it or for how long I do so.  Also, notice how the claims are both different (and mutually exclusive), as to where the problematic location is?  

  • Guest

    I’ve experienced the iPad speaker grille issue.  Mostly while lying on the couch or in bed and setting the iPad on my chest/stomach (clothes and blankets are in between skin and iPad) I seem to lose connectivity to the wifi.  The bars don’t really seem to go down, but a webpage will fail to load.  Hitting refresh and holding the iPad in the air will load the page.

  • MacGoo

    My guess? The users describing this issue are probably on the very edges of a wifi signal. Wifi, like any other technology that uses the radio spectrum, is subject to exponential decay. This means that as you move further away from the router, your wifi signal strength decreases exponentially, rather than consistently. At the edges of a wifi signal, the simple act of putting your  hand in between the router and the receiver could definitely have this effect.

  • Rich

    I’ve noticed that when I take my iPad inside a Faraday cage, I loose signal completely.  Apple needs to fix this ASAP

  • MacGoo

    It’s been well-established that attenuation is (was) a real issue in the iPhone 4. You are most likely in a strong signal area that isn’t affected, but for people with weak signals, minor interference like bridging the antenna can create significant problems. It’s actually a very similar concept to the exponential decay theory I proposed above for the iPad 2’s wifi issues.

  • aga

    Lol, very droll. I wonder how many would know what a Faraday cage even is though!

  • Big Rik

    Absolutely no problems here, whatsoever. The iPad 2 is what the first iPad should have been!

  • Suzanne McCarron

    When you were in the Faraday cage, did you “lose” brain cells too? Ya know, lose/loose… If you’re gonna try to act intelligent and mock people, it looks better if you actually ARE intelligent. Just saying….

  • Tom McGrath

    I have this problem sometimes with my iPod touch, however, it is a second generation iPod touch, and it’s possible that it’s just down to old age.

  • Helengrffn

    Liar, the end

  • CharliK

    Probably. Or it could be any one of a number of issues that actually have little to do with the ipad itself. 

    but regardless this is likely another of those 1/2 of 1% things that is being hyped like it is very single device (which was the real Antennagate with the iphone4). Folks will gripe and moan but when questioned admit that they haven’t bothered to take it to the Genius Bar to find out if it is a real hardware issue (which would be swapped). Or they haven’t admitted that they jailbroke the ipad and perhaps screwing with the software caused the issue or whatever. 

    And of course the blogs will play their part by hyping it up, doing article after article about this ‘major design flaw’ blah blah because Apple gets hits and negative about Apple actually gets more hits than rumors about the next great thing

  • CharliK

    I’ve had it happen myself perhaps twice in the weeks that I have had mine. both times I was like you, there was cloth touching the unit. I can’t help but wonder if that and not the ipad is the issue. Could a little static electricity have temporarily shorted out the antenna but not have caused any permanent damage to it or the ipad. 

  • CharliK

    on the contrary. it has been well established that attenuation was not and is not a real issue. Being in an area with crappy signal was and is the problem. Which is why those in a strong area as you yourself said aren’t affected but those in weak areas are. With or without attenuation. 

  • John Howell

    Confirmed. Doesn’t even have to be my whole hand either. Just lightly touching the grill drops the bars on my wifi.

  • John Howell

    Running current iOS firmware, well within normal wifi range, and signal full strength. Touch the speaker grill, signal immediately drops 1 to 2 bars.
    Now I know why the kids have been having some trouble with streaming video from their rooms where the signal is weaker, as they sometimes quickly muffle the sound by covering the speaker when they want to talk.

  • Louis Holas

    they loose signal while covering the iphones speaker? wow thats a new one! 

  • Andrew

    A typo doesn’t show a lack of intelligence, but then I’m not sure why you think his post was trying to show that anyway…

  • Jim W.

    Amazing, hey!
    I didn’t realise that iPad and iPhone had that sort of thing going.

  • Cja_photography

    You’re holding it the wrong way. :-P

  • cheesy11

    my ipad stops working when im in the bath……..help.

  • Guest

    Why would I lie? What possible motivation could I have sharing my experience that would benefit me in some way? Simply sad that our community has degraded to the point were people are accused without a shred of thought considered in their post.

  • Dilbert A

    awesome post.

  • Nobigdeal

    The signal drop is not from holding the speaker grill. Hold your finger on the black or white part right of the home button. Don’t need to touch the bottom of your ipad 2. It only drops one bar for me. I tried it next to both of my router and was able to duplicate it each time.

  • Gogtownhoyas

    I showed this on youtube over 2 months ago and actually submitted it to several blogs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • Occulus

    When you were mocking his post, did you “lose” brain cells too?  You know, ya/you… If you’re gonna (going to?) try to act intelligent and mock people, it looks better if you actually ARE intelligent.  Just saying….

    Because it looks silly to act like a typo nazi about a simple spelling error while you brutalize the english language with purposely misspelled words.

  • Occulus

    I think my iPhone 4 has the antennae problem.  :(  My friends phones all have the same problem.  When we take out our phones to use them, we have zero bars.  And when we grip our phones tightly in our hands, the cell signal drops to zero bars.  And when we put rubber cases on our phones, the signal rises to zero bars.  It’s weird, too.. only the phones in this tract housing area seem to get this problem.. 

  • Guest

    The lose/loose mistake isn’t a typo, Octopus.  It is the way ignorant/lazy people misspell an easy word.  Word needs to be spread about this obvious mistake.  Lose rhymes with use.  Loose rhymes with goose.  You can do it, America! 

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  • Bryanmiller

    its apple… they believe in style and high price over substance 

  • Bryanmiller

    WIFI signal not 3g signal. 

  • Bryanmiller

    i mistakenly liked your post where i meant to hit reply. you are an idiot if you think its a non existent issue. its a problem with crappy signal? how are people having a good signal, making clear calls then losing said signal once gripping it in a certain way? moron 

  • jacob

    The problem with this video is that you do not show us which corner you are referring to. Can you tell us please?

  • MacGoo

    I agree with Brian – you completely missed the point. Let me spell it out: Go to a weak signal area. Avoid the “gap” on your iPhone 4. Look at your signal strength. Now put your finger over the “gap”. See the signal drop? Good – so have THOUSANDS of iPhone 4 users. You just spouted a bunch of words that boiled down to “Those in strong signal areas have better signal than those in weak signal areas”. Really?

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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