It’s no secret now that Apple is working hard on getting a fix for iOS 5 battery issues out the door. It even opened up beta testing of pre-release software to end users, instead of just the usual registered developers. But battery life isn’t the only problem new iPhone 4S owners are having with their devices.
The mute bug
Now that the talk around the battery problems has died down at the Apple Support discussion forums, the new star of the show is a flaw with outgoing calls that sees them often automatically muted. It doesn’t seem to be limited to any one carrier, so the problem seems to be something specifically with the 4S’s hardware or software. I’ve also experienced this myself, though only a couple of times near the beginning of my time with the device. Still, I don’t often make outgoing calls without a headset, so I may just not have noticed since then.
While users wait for an official fix, you can get voice working again by turning speakerphone on and off, or by using a headset to call as I mentioned I usually do anyways. This hasn’t been acknowledged by Apple in any official documentation yet, but it does seem like the kind of thing that could be addressed in a future update, so you may want to pause before scheduling an appointment to make a return.
The 3G or network data drop
Another common complaint at Apple’s support discussions is that the iPhone 4S drops network data connections seemingly at random. Besides being well represented on Apple’s forum, it’s also something I’ve heard of a lot personally from other 4S owners I know. The problem isn’t something that totally disables your device; often data just drops from 3G to EDGE and eventually goes back to normal after a few hours. But sometimes, data can be dropped altogether, which means you won’t know about new voicemail, or get push emails, and measures like turning Airplane Mode on and off are often required to get a connection back.
I’ve seen this on my own iPhone 4S, too, and as mentioned, it’s hard to identify a cause. It seems to happen most frequently when I get or make a call, but not exclusively during those activities. Also, just opening Safari and browsing can sometimes re-establish a connection if you’ve only dropped 3G but still have EDGE.
Again, this one hasn’t been officially acknowledged by Apple, but if it’s happening to you, it’s probably not worth exchanging your device just yet. The problem seems widespread enough, based on the discussion threads related to it, that a replacement will just display the same issue, so waiting to see if a forthcoming software update is the least inconvenient option.
The Siri volume bug
Siri has a nasty habit of maxing out the volume just after use. You’ll notice if you activate Siri, and then press the home screen button to cancel your request, then lock the device. After a short time, the volume goes back to wherever you set it, but for a little while, the volume is ear-splitting, and this applies system-wide. There are many threads in the Apple Support Communities about this issue.
Mostly minor, but majorly irritating
All the bugs listed here are actually quite small, which is why a lot of users report not having returned their devices as a result of encountering them. I, too, have run across each but have yet to ascribe it to hardware fault, since each seems pretty likely to be a software problem. It’s troubling, however, to see no mention of these apparently common problems in any of the information circulating about Apple’s upcoming bug-busting iOS 5.0.1 release. Hopefully they’re filed under the category of “general bug fixes” and do arrive with that update. Otherwise, Apple will have to tackle them head-on sooner or later.
Anyone else seeing these or other persistent problems?