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Apple Replacing iPhones With 2.2.1-Related Wi-Fi Issues

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This is news to me, and scary news at that, but it seems as though firmware update 2.2.1 has been causing some problems with Wi-Fi for many iPhone users.

I’ve not had any problems, but then again, I use Wi-Fi only sparingly, and even when I do, it’s never for an extended period. Also, I’ve updated to the 3.0 beta firmware, so I might have dodged a bullet there. If you have been having issues, and were hoping for a quick software fix, it looks like you may be out of luck.

Some users have reportedly been told by Apple (s aapl) to have their hardware replaced, and to make sure that when they call for a replacement, they specifically ask for an iPhone that’s running firmware of a version earlier than 2.2.1. All of which would seem to indicate that for the moment, Apple doesn’t know how to undo what they did with 2.2.1.

No one knows for sure what exactly is causing the problems, which seem to affect primarily 2G and older 3G model phones, but some believe the issues stem from Apple lifting an artificial throttling cap on the iPhone’s Wi-Fi chip, which enables faster speeds but also overheating. The theory seems to be supported by the fact that the issues are resolved and connectivity is restored when affected units are placed in the fridge for a little while and left to cool down.

As per usual, there’s no official word from Apple on the matter, and gauging how widespread the problem actually is will be difficult in this case, since a number of other factors could be affecting Wi-Fi performance. If you’re having the same problem, let us know, and maybe we can start to see just how deep this goes.

37 Responses to “Apple Replacing iPhones With 2.2.1-Related Wi-Fi Issues”

  1. protijy

    I def have the issue. I upgraded to 2.2.1 and then with in a day phone (2G) wouldn’t find network at home, so I tried work…. nope…
    Did a factory restore…. nothing….. saw some threads about it being a heat issue so I cooled the phone (put in the fridge for 5-10mins in a zip lock bag) worked great for about an 1hr after that…. then can’t find networks. Did the same thing at work…. worked! then a bit later no wifi again….

    Talked to apple the tech had no idea about the issue, asked me to try and get a new SIM card first. So gonna go to ATT get a new SIM if that doesn’t fix it I’ll be calling back again….

  2. Josef

    For those who are being blamed for the their ipod touch not working after upgrade. Note that apple gave me a new touch and I upgraded that within 48 hours at which point wifi all but ceased.
    The first time I showed the storeperson 20 pages of comments from the apple support web site. Not sure why they call it support because you don’t get any support from apple there. This guy basically said you guys were a bunch a wingers. And I think his attitude is typical of Applies customer support.

  3. I have the same story…..suddenly for some reason WIFI started not connecting and suddenly it stoped for good.
    After reading your comments I took it to a technitian and he said it was the logic board (which by the way costs around $200). But he also touched the battery and said that it could be a BATTERY matter since the WiFi internal antenna was getting overheated after conected.

    Have any of you who have the same issue tried connecting with a FULL BATTERY charge and obtaining a positive WiFi connectivity?

  4. I have the same issue. After getting a replacement phone for a bad screen Gen Bar gave me a new replacement phoen with 2.2.1. No WiFi ever worked no matter where I go or how many times I reset. Tried everything and I see now thats it’s a hardware issue. I took it back a month later to Gen Bar. They say I have “liquid damage” though the ONLY thing that doesnt work is WiFi. I am so dissapointed since I never spilled anything on the phone. It looks brand new!

  5. Josef

    Upgrade ipod touch to 2.2.1. Wifi all but ceased to operate. took it to apple who provided me with a new iopd touch. New ipod touch had version 1.5 on it so I re-installed it to 2.2.1 so i could run my apps. As soon as the upgrade occured wifi all but ceased to work. Tried it in two locations, home and luck.

    Took it back to apple who have had it for 2 weeks now. Tech guy on the phone told me not to upgrade it to 2.2.1 as they have experienced “issues” with the version. Not sure what to do when i get it back a third time. I will need to upgrade it some day

  6. My Iphone Wifi is just dead today can’t find any network, After several searching on the internet I think this is a big bugs in iphone. My phone lucky work for 1 mounth with no problem. My opinion is just dont use your phone to much on wifi or 3G I think the causmust be hardware because I found on the internet several user even some complain about it at 2007 it has been long time ago. I’m regreted about buying this super phone. Not because of the wifi problem but because of the company as BIG as Apple knowing the issue but not official statement at all about the BUGS and still doing the promotion about how great is this phone. Please just do some official statement about it and satisfied your customer buy replace the defacted product it will cost nothing but get more loyaled customers.

  7. E Kiser

    As I previously stated, in my case it was a hardware problem that was easily corrected by removing the battery cover on my 1g phone and pressing down on the wifi connection to reseat it. My phone was out of warranty, I was replacing the battery cover and noticed the loose connection. Maybe this is caused by excessive heat, but in my case, this is what fixed the wifi. Here is a link to a picture of what it looks like. it is the connector in the middle below the silver case.

  8. I bought a 3G and when I upgraded about a month later the issue arose. Did all of the genius fixes to no avail.
    Apple was nice enough to replace for $50 and my problem started yesterday AGAIN.

    Kicked me off a couple of times with the E popping in and out but gardually got worse and I haven’t had wifi all day now.

    Apple rep suggested the normal silliness…which I had already done everything but the restore part.

    I restored from back up and from new phone options for about 6 hours and well guess what FINALLY!! FINALLY!! I know I don’t have wifi.

    Suggested throwing the phone in the river and the phone line genius really didn’t have any rescue plans for the future drowning phone but go back and do what i had already done.

    so is there any new news other than the freezer?

  9. Scott

    I too am having thsi problem, i just got my iphone on o2 uk running 2.2.1 and the wifi stopped working after a week or so…. VERY ANNOYING

  10. I have an older 2g and recently upgraded to 2.2.1 once I started using WiFi I noticed it was not as strong. I could rarely get my signal that I’ve always used. Once it did connect it would drop off and go back to Edge. I reset network settings and it seems to work. I did notice that its getting better reception but it does get hot. I’m wondering if I should hold off using wifi till the software is fixed. I don’t want to burn up anything. But yea after the 2.2.1 update I started having problems.

  11. Sorry for my english, im french :)

    Well i too have been having this wifi issue with my 16go 3G iPhone 2.2.1..
    I tried a full restore, but it was useless.
    Then i called Apple, and they came to take my phone (for a reparation)
    5 days later, i recieved a brand new iPhone 3G 2.2 !
    (3.0 beta rectifies this issue!)

  12. Will the upcoming 3.0 firmware able to rectify this wi-fi problem cos I can’t connect to wi-fi at all after I updated my 2G iPhone to 2.2 firmware. Sucks big time!

  13. I too have been having issues with my 1st gen i touch. I got the update to use specific apps, and after using using the new apps, I noticed that my wifi was not functioning except to update mail or weather. I just removed the software requiring the update and restarted (not restored) my touch and without the apps, the wifi is back and working without kinks. I hope this proves helpful. It seems that without the use of a new app requiring the 2.2.1 update, you might not experience issues. Explaining the “some” in the first paragraph above.

  14. Forgot to also mention that my Bluetooth stability went south at the same time after upgrading to 2.2.1. Handsfree talking in my Acura was rock solid before the upgrade and drops constantly since the upgrade.

  15. I have been having this exact problem starting the moment I upgraded to 2.2.1. My iPhone is first generation model purchased in November of 2007. When the problem first happened, I spent some time trying to troubleshoot. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention and spent too much time doing that so I didn’t go in to the Apple Store until Dec. 2008, 1 month after my warranty expired. So they essentially said tough luck at the time. But I guess it might be worth going back and complaining some more.

  16. I’m in the UK and have been having problems with Wi-Fi on the iPhone for a few weeks. Initially I assumed the problem lied with my router, but since purchasing a MBP last week I have found that the notebook connects fine. My MBP shows full Wi-Fi signal and download speeds are always around a meg. While my iPhone, on the SAME DESK refuses to connect to the network.

    It’s weird because the router shows up when searching for Wi-Fi, but when I try to connect, the phone continues to just use O2’s data network.

    Now that I know it’s a wider problem I’ll be having a chat with my good friends at the Regent Street Genius Bar…

  17. indeed i have a simular problem.. i cant realy remember if the original problem started when i upgraded to 2.2.1 but one thing is for sure.. there IS a problem.. the only way my iphone 3G will even acknowledge wi-fi now is if i reset my network setting.. bt this only solves the problem very temporarily (about 3mins) long enough to download about one song off itunes.. then before you know it wi-fi is dead once again and no matter how long i search wi-fi despite being a matter or centimetres from the reciever it wont show up.. very anoying.. think im going to have to take a leaf out of Brians book get apple to replace my problematic iphone.. not the sort of hastle you wantwhen you spent £401 on the thing!

  18. AppleCare is replacing my handset as I type for this exact issue! Started when my handset (early iPhone 3G 16GB) was replaced b/c of a non-working volume button. The new handset would not connect to 3G well and would not see any Wi-Fi….Tried resetting network connections and that corrected the 3G issues, but alas still no Wi-Fi… back this one goes….let’s hope the replacement is up-to-speed!

  19. Jose Luis

    hey, im using a 2g iphone from Mexico, it was working greatly till the 2.2.1 update…
    TRIED prettymuch everything, installed 2.2, 2.1, 2.0 and 1.1.4, also downgraded the baseband, im sure its a software issue because since the moment i made the update the iphone’s wifi died, the only solutions i havent tried are put the phone in the freezer for a little while, and downgrade it in order to use iBoot and change the phone’s mac adress…. have anybpdy tried the last mentioned solution?

    thanks in advance

  20. Tarush

    I was trying to update my friend’s iPhone to 2.2.1 from 1.1.4 and i see the wi fi icon showing no wifi and is greyed. It’s pathetic that this happened… i’ve no way to fix it. If anyone’s got a solution, let me know.


    I have has problems with wifi since the 2.0 upgrade. At first the it was dropping wifi. The range keep decreasing until you had to be practically on top of a router to get reception. I called apple several times but since it was out of warranty, I would have had to pay for a repair. My antenna cover was cracked, so I ordered a replacement. While I had the cover off, I looked at the connections for the wifi antenna. While the one in the middle that is attached to the antenna looked fine, it was loose when I pushed on it and unattached itself. I was able to press it back down and re-attach it. My wifi reception is now back to normal.

  22. Bill Caplinger

    I have also had problems lately with my iPhone “searching. . .” for a connection far longer than before.
    And having a “hotspot” that can be felt on the back about where the #15 homescreen icon (counting left to right then top to bottom, as if reading text). Ditto regarding the battery indicator suddenly low.

    And I am reminded of the recent story of the the iPhone that reportedly burned someone on the leg from having the iPhone in a front pants problem.

    Doing a reset (holding the power button and the homescreen button down until the sculpted Apple symbol appears followed by a seeminly longer (although that may just be because I have more apps as time goes on) time to reset.

    But after the reset, it seems to capture 3G or WiFi appropriately.

    So Apple may be very curious about any problem that involves overheating and wants units to help figure out what or how widespread the problem may be. That’s what I’d be doing anyway.

  23. I wonder if heat can kill a SIM card? I have 2.2.1 on a 2G unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile. I use the WIFI fairly often, and about 2 weeks ago my 5+ year old SIM card died out of nowhere. I tested it in other phones and it didn’t work, and I tested another SIM card and it worked. I don’t know how long SIM cards typically last, and it could very well be a coincidence. Anyone else have this problem?

  24. Richard

    I have never had too much trouble with the WiFi on my 2G iPhone, however sometimes when I’m sitting next to an AirPort Extreme, the phone will drop the WiFi connection and go back to Edge. However, periodically I’ll pull my phone out of its holster to find it very warm. Not too surprisingly, at that point the battery is all but dead.

  25. Ismael

    Hi all, I got this problem 2 weeks ago. I run the firmware 2.2.1 and I try all that I can. But after 3 days I was tired so I call Apple and they said that I need to take an appointement at the Genius bar in the nearest Apple store. When I was in the genius bar they try some things but all didn’t work so they replace my Iphone 3g with a NEW!! so the cool part is that I have a new Iphone 3g with no scratch but like the post said nobody know what is the problem. For info I lived in Quebec.

    • I have lagging keyboard issues, wifi chip only works if battery is almost dead and only for 2-3 mins at most. I have the 1st gen iphone with 3.0 firmware, jailbroke, etc. I’m not sure if apple will replace mine or what??

  26. Anthony

    This is news to me. I have the 1st Gen iPhone and use WiFi extensively (in San Francisco WiFi is pervasive and Edge is painfully slow). I’ve noticed no problem whatsoever.

  27. I have a 1G iTouch that has sketchy wifi in that I have to turn it off and back on to get the device to connect. It seems worse lately. But 2.2.1 has seemed stable so far. This is my 3rd replacement since the previous 2 crashed and died on 2.0.