iPhone 4 Proximity Sensor Causing Issues During Calls?

BY Andy

Published 28 Jun 2010

iPhone 4 proximity sensor causing issues

Apple's problems with the new iPhone seem to be far from over. After issues relating to screen discoloration, scratches and reception were reported last week, we are now hearing about a new issue relating to the proximity sensor on iPhone 4.

According to messages posted on Apple discussion forums, the "super-sensitive" proximity sensor on the new iPhone could be causing calls to be unintentionally dialed, hung up or muted without user consent.

Here are a few reports from iPhone 4 users:

farfromovin reports:

"My wife and I both have the same exact problem with out phones. I was on an hour phone call this evening and my phone muted me 5 times, put me on hold and tried calling my work and then put me on hold and tried to send a text message to my work. This is very dissapointing. Ok, that last one with the text message is kind of funny. But for someone who has had apple products for years on end, this is about the worst experience I've had so far."

mdalegre complains:

"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 dialing numbers accidentally while i'm on the phone. This occurs on 90% of my calls. Is anyone else experiencing this issue. I would like to confirm whether this is a software issue (Proximity Sensor sensitivity too low) or a design issue (sensor now placed towards the end of the phone)."

sysrage reports:

"I am also having this problem. It's incredibly annoying. I've hung up on almost everybody I've called accidentally because of this. Speakerphone comes on every once in awhile. One, that doesn't make sense, is sometimes I'll somehow close the phone app with my face. I know I'm not pushing the home button, but I'll see the screen light up and I'll look and it's on springboard with the green bar to touch to re-open phone app. Really REALLY hope this is fixable with software and not a hardware defect."

YukonJR is also having the same issue:

"The proximity sensor on the new iPhone 4 has been changed somehow and the sensitivity is not set properly. I purchased three phones yesterday and all three act the same. The display activates at less then 1 inch from your head and is slow to deactivate. I have facetimed, muted, and kepressed all at least 12 times in the first day. Twice just while leaving the Apple store. While using the phone in a dark room, I noticed by simply rocking the phone left or right less then 1 inch the display would activate. Having purchased every version of iPhone on each launch date, I have never encountered this problem. Hopefully a firmware update will fix this!!!!! "

lauber1322 who was facing the issue seems to have found a workaround:

"experienced this issue yesterday as well and found that by readjusting the phone on my ear things worked out better. I think they moved the sensor to accommodate the camera. The previous phones all had the sensor exactly where the front facing camera now resides. I believe they relocated the sensor to directly above the speaker on top (which is why the white version) has those slits in the top over the earpiece. This is the same area that I covered last night which seemed to fix things."

hitnrun is also observing the same issue:

"Has anyone noticed that the sensor that tells the phone when your holding it up to your ear is extremely sensitive? I mean, NEVER before have I cheek dialed, hit the mute with my ear lobe, or hung up on someone inadvertently. However, 3 times in one call last night and twice today I hung up on people, all inside of a three minute call."

Apple may not have had the kind of opening that they would have liked, for iPhone 4 at least in terms of issues. We had also reported about several users noticing brown or yellow splotches on the retina display with few users also noticing scratches on the glass casing of the new iPhone. While these complaints may still be anomalies, many users are reporting the reception issues on the new iPhone along with the latest issue with the proximity sensor. We hope a software update to fix these issues will be released soon. 

Are you facing similar issues with iPhone 4's proximity sensor? Tell us your experience in the comments.


iOS 4.1 will fix proximity sensor and Bluetooth problems

[via Apple Support, EverythingiCafe]