Iphone 4s: constant loss of mobile signal problem

In early December 2011 I upgraded from an iphone 3G to iphone 4s on the Orange UK network. Since upgrading, a month ago, the iphone 4s has been losing the mobile signal at least 10-15 times per day for periods ranging from a few minutes to one hour. During this time it is not possible to make or receive phone calls or texts. In my view there is an unacknowledged issue with the iphone 4s - my advice would be NOT to purchase one until it is resolved - watch this space!

Iphone 4s:  major loss of mobile signal problem

Apple has replaced my handset with another new one, Orange has replaced my sim card and I have re-installed the software on the iphone twice following guidance by apple. I have spoken a number of times with Orange second line technical support who assure me that it is not a mobile network issue. I tend to agree with Orange due to the fact that two other family members are using iphone 3G phones at home on the same orange network with no problems whatsoever.

The mobile signal on the iphone 4s sometimes says "No Service" or sometimes shows 1-2 bars - either way when it happens you cannot take/make any incoming or out coming calls or texts.

When the signal is lost the only way to use the iphone 4s handset is via skype over the internet - however this is outbound only and quite costly as you are not generally phoning skype to skype.

So Orange say it's an Apple problem and Apple are not saying!

I am wondering if anyone else is having these kind of problems? Has anyone discovered any workarounds? Please let me know and I will include updates.

BTW the other nasty surprise with the iphone 4s is that it uses a later version of Bluetooth which is not backwards compatible with earlier versions. The main problem this caused me is with Bluetooth into my car (Renault Laguna Coupe), which tends to be on older Bluetooth versions without obvious mechanisms to update it! Bottom line: I can't take or make or receive calls hands free from the car or play music through the car speakers.

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About Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson delivers keynote conference speeches, workshop facilitation and in-house consultancy in four key business areas:

  1. Creating High Performing Teams in enterprises including Virtual and Mobile Teams (based on the Bioteams Book)
  2. Establishing effective Collaborative Business Networks enabling companies to co-operate effectively in areas such as sales and product development (based on the book - The Networked Enterprise)
  3. How to use the latest social media technologies including blogging and online communities to promote enterprises, brand, organisation or event
  4. Development of graphical on-line interactive Business Dashboards and What-if Simulators for organisations to support Performance Improvement, Strategy Development and Executive Team Development.

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Found this thread on Apple Support Communities - similar problem seems to be affecting a huge amount of people:


As far as I know, this is related with 4s's "always connect to 3g service" policy in order to keep in touch with siri server continuously Ken. Because, Apple thinks that siri would not be able to provide a fast enough service on a 2g network.
By the I am quite impressed with your web site and its minimalistic design. And I see lots of useful information here. I am here because I have seen you had taken part in a clustering conference held in İstanbul in 2006.


Hi Alpay

Thanks for the comment - makes sense what you say about Siri

Thanks also for kind remarks on the blog - I was really impressed with the clustering setup in Turkey and would love to go back

Best Regards



My best assessment of the iphone 4s signal loss problem as at 11 Jan 2012 is that you will be affected if you are in an area where there is little or no 3G coverage. This is because the iphone 4s constantly tries to find a 3G signal and when it fails to do so does not reconnect immediately to the 2G signal.

There is a version of IOS, 5.1 Beta 3 so far only available to developers, which allows you to switch off 3G and could be a workaround.

Read more here:

Update on this: I have just returned the iphone4s (3rd replacement handset plus replacement sim card).

Conclusion: iphone 4s has constant loss of signal in areas which are 2G only. May be exacerbated if you are also on the boundary of a weak 3G signal. Its not fit for purpose in this scenario.

I have worked closely with Apple and Orange in the UK over an 8-week period and their support guys agree that I have now tried everything which might have fixed it but without success.

I am probably going to get an iphone 4 or 3G.

Hello my fellow iPhone 4s users...

i have been going around the web for solution to the lost signal. Upon further investigation and diagnosis with my iPhone and other iPhone with a combination of chnage of sim between phones, resetting the network, hard reset and restoring a few times, it still persist. My analysis is that the iOS 5 >Settings>General>Cellular Data is the culprit. It does not have an option of switching between Edge and 3G (unlike the previous iOS lower than 5.0 or 5.0.1) It always stays on 3G. Now comes the trickiest part of my analysis. For networks having mid to low signal in areas, the updated dual antenna of the iPhone 4s switches automatically between 3G and normal signal. However, since it has no option to go down to Edge, it "automatically revert back to the original signal status". Sometimes from a very strong signal to a low signal area, it shows full bar of signal. but when you try to send an sms or make a call, it fails.


I believe Apple has been digging deep with their softwate developers and checking the hardware of the iPhone 4s. And if my analysis is correct, they may have to incorporate the option of EDGE and 3G again.

Temporary Solution:

For low reception/signal areas, actually NONE... we have to wait for the update by Apple.

So either use our iPhone 4s as an expensive iPod on poor reception/signal areas and transfer our sim cards temporarily to another phone or have your phone put to AIRPLANE MODE on-off again.

Hey Ken,

I am experiencing exactly the same issue,
Loosing signal down to one bar and cannot make or receive calls, but 3g is still active as i can browse in safari. Other times i lose both and get the searching message. Its a pain i know but were not the only ones judging by the apple forums.
Lets hope an update will fix this issue.


Also had the problem with signal gone to "Searching" for no reason.
Did the following:

1.-Restored iPhone and updated iOS to build of 5.0.1 named 9A406.
This didn't solve the problem,I would say that it presented even more often.

2.-After doing some research found that the problem is in the micro-sim so I went to Iusacell (Mexico) and got a new sim (v5.0), the latest; I used to have v4.0.
This Did solve the problem.

So far so good.

I don't if it was the update along with the new SIM or just the new SIM

As for the iPhone's 4S obstinacy to stay on 3G at all cost, even if it's not even usable.... well, that hasn't changed..


Hi Guys

Thanks for all the helpful comments on this.

I downgraded from the iphone 4S to a standard iphone 4 about a month ago and whilst it still keeps losing signal looking for 3G it does generally recover within a few minutes.

Iphone 4 Bluetooth is still too advanced to sync with my brand new Renault car and I now have an 8GB phone instead of a 16GB one which means it can store much less.

I guess you cant have everything!



I am having terrible problems with my new iPhone 4s....
For some reason I either have 2 of the following...
Only one bar of Vodafone signal and 3G available or..
Full Vodafone signal and no 3G available ....
The annoying and strange thing is is that this happens when I'm
Stood in the same room in my house, and when there is full Vodafone signal
And no 3G usually to get the 3G back I have to go in to my settings and turn
3G off then back on again and it comes back up but then my Vodafone signal
Goes right down, and on top o that another issue......
In just 18 days I have used just over 3GB of data usage and I haven't downloaded
Anything all I have done is browsed Facebook.... How is this possible to use this amount of data ..... Could anyone help me understand these issues as Vodafone have been no help to me whatsoever ....
Many thanks , Katie

After getting the eternal "no service" message for the last few weeks, I finally resorted to forums and went through the restart, reset and restore procedures suggested. I'm not stuck with an iPhone 4S that it unusable, and stuck at the stage where it's trying to verify my phone. It seems to load firmware and the OS fine, but hangs at that point, telling me it can't verify at this time and to try again later.

I'm getting the impression that Orange are to blame now. If it can't connect to their servers to verify, I'm going to be stuck in this loop forever. Can the Orange network cope with iPhone 4S? There seems to be an awful lot of people complaining of the same issue.

I'm trying Orange later on (the main account holder is on his way back from London), and if there's no joy, I guess I'll have to go and see a bloody "genius" tomorrow.

Not at all happy with the lack of any information from Apple or Orange themselves. Thankfully I don't have a Blackberry or I'd be getting myself a fruit phobia at this rate!

someboday help me! we have exactly the problem and I badly need to use my iphone its been a week since im suffering from this signal loss.:(

i am purchase i phone 4s for last month,but my iphone continues loss the network pls sowl the problem

Cured! My iphone 4s phone signal vanished every few minutes from the moment I took it out of the box. As described by others it would show 4 bars of signal but fail to dial. Then if switched off and on again it would show Searching and then No signal. This happened completely randomly no matter where I was. My signal at work was constantly zero compared to my old phone with Orange having 2 bars there.
First I closed down all the apps by double clicking the home key and holding on one symbol then pressing all the minus signs. No better.
Then I put it in a gel case and the signal went up by an extra 2 bars everywhere I went, in keeping with comments about ariel problems.
I tried to fiddle with the SIM pin, but didn't know the correct pin so stopped after 2 attempts and warning came up about final attempt. (Not sure what would have happened if I had failed 3rd time.)
Then I switched off all the fancy functions I didn't need including Siri and mobile data, but left 3G enabled. BINGO! Cured. I have a phone again instead of an iPod.
I will switch mobile data on manually when I need it - seems to have been ok so far.
Perhaps Siri is the problem, not Orange after all.

If are having lose of signal on iPhone 4s every time you make a call and you are using T-Mobile or Simple Mobile a simple fix is turn 3G off becuose this carriers are on Edge and the iPhone 4s after you make the call and you end the call will automatic will search for 3G that why you lose signal
I hope this help

Thanks Pizarro

I have Simple Mobile and after turn off 3G , my Iphone 4S work perfect now , no more lossing signal after phone call.

I have the simplest solution here on my blog: http://applenewsro.blogspot.ro/

Dear sir,

Please tell me i bought i phone 4s its good phone but when i using it like i play games and used internet then mobile signal droped and even no 1 signal bar. please tell me solution?

sir i am also facing same problem, last year august i will buy this phone, up to one year no problem, last 20 to 25 days i am facing this signal problem
while call received or outgoing times suddenly signal will drop, what is the solution for this problem. please let me know

im also facing same problem is the any soluting for this.. plz


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The term cyborg is used to designate an organism which is a mixture of organic and synthetic parts so designed to enhance its abilities via technology. William Mitchell a professor at MIT Media Lab believes that through our mobile devices we are all becoming mobile cyborgs and its for the better. In his book Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City which he discusses in an interview with James Harkin Mitchell describes how the new communications technologies have overlaid our city spaces with central nervous systems connecting us into the wireless ether via our mobile devices which act as umbilical cords to anchor us into the information society's digital infrastructure.

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