iOS 4.0.1 Update Reduces Number of Signal Bars, But Also "No Service" Messages | Cult of Mac

iOS 4.0.1 Update Reduces Number of Signal Bars, But Also “No Service” Messages



Yesterday’s iOS 4.0.1 changed the way the iPhone’s signal is displayed: previously, iOS corralled the upper 40% of the signal into the fifth service bar in the fifth signal bar, meaning you had to have less than 60% signal to drop below four bars. This exacerbated the perceived effect of the iPhone 4 “Death Grip” by causing more bars to drop when held “the wrong way” when there were four bars or less of signal, but also made the reception degradation invisible to people living in areas of excellent service because the fifth bar had so much wiggle room for signal degradation.

This is no longer the case. Anandtech has just done a comprehensive examination of the way iOS 4.0.1 displays its signal bars, and as predicted, they found that Apple is now translating signal strength into bars more accurately and with a higher dynamic range. In other words, you’ll require more signal to show higher bars than it once did. Or, as Anandtech puts it, “regardless of how tall the bars are, there are still going to be fewer of them virtually everywhere.”

The good news here? The new formula will also show “No Service” less often than it once did too. So while the iOS 4.0.1 update might appear to make your reception weaker than it was before, your phone should actually hold the signal on the lower end of reception better than it once did.

Does this change the fact that the iPhone 4 has a design flaw? No, and we’ll have to wait until this morning’s press conference to see what Apple intends to do about that. But it does seem clear at this point that Apple’s old calculation exacerbated that design flaw, not just as a matter of perception (dropping more bars than it should have when the death grip is initiated) but as a matter of fact (not holding on to the signal as well at the lower reception range as it should have).


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