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Apple fixing some 4S bugs, but what about mute and network problems?

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It’s no secret now that Apple (s aapl) 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?

36 Responses to “Apple fixing some 4S bugs, but what about mute and network problems?”

  1. Prabir Chatterjee

    Well there seems to be an issue with IOS 5. It’s sometimes difficult to join known wireless networks on the 4s. It’s takes a lot of time. This happens with the 3GS on IOS 5 too. Guess it must be a bug in IOS 5.

  2. nilezcode

    for ppl who suffering from the drop network on calls … first jailbreak your 4S with absinthe untethered jailbreak then install SBSettings then disable the 3G from sbsettings which is always on natively in the ios 5 & 5.0.1 u’ll see that the network bars is fine !

  3. Has anyone had a problem with siri not making phone calls from there contacts. Doesn’t matter who I try and call she says she can not complete, or sometimes she even tells me I am fully capable to make the call

  4. Grainy low light photos, with flash, much worse than 4. Images and video meta data corruption, also never seen on 3GS or 4. Slower apps, contrary to every marketing claim dual core is actually slower, because all apps are built for single core. Buggy location services. Yellow tint screen. Dropping personal hotspot connection all the time, especially if other apps are running. Slow 3G. Overheating in personal hotspot mode.

    I have not dropped it enough to break the glass, but already see scratches, my old 4 and 3 both had none.

    What’s stunning is that Apple is silent on all of these issues. It’s appalling, all that after they created artificial hype and product shortage.

    I am considering switch to Samsung, at least I can just get it in store.

  5. I’ve had my iphone 4s for almost 2 months now and just this past weekened experience a problem with my network. First I called AT&T because I thought something was going on with their network, but apparently is the phone. I constantly have dropped calls because the phone loses the network connection. I called Apple and they made me reboot the phone and the problem was fixed for a day, but then messed up again.

  6. Rlcandle

    When I use the microphone for my text messages it doesn’t work! And it used to and I loved it! Jus the dots go awhile and then nothing. Siri still works tho! Help! I loved using it for texts !

  7. I thought it was just my phone with the problem with out going calls. I’m unable to hear a dial tone while placing a call. Got to switch from speaker phone to phone to hear conversation. I too must have the mute bug .

  8. Damon Drew

    Hello. I have encountered the problems listed(ie., high volume after SIRI use, and a noticably short battery life ), but not so much the loss of 3G and dropping to Edge. My main discontent stems from my volume dropping from where I set it to nil, after normal use(no SIRI) and locking my device. It has left me not trusting in my iPhone alarm and questioning whether I’ll be notified of txt msg’s or not. Help would be appreciated, especially since I’m still under 30days of owning my 4S. Luck and fortune to us all

    • I have had this same issue with the volume going down by itself both for the ringer side buttons and the slide bar under settings. I’ve also had my phone shut off at random times and not want to turn back on. I had to plug it into the charger and do the reboot by pushing the top power button at the same time I pushed the button on the front of the phone. It came back on instantly. Wish I knew how to fix the volume adjusting by itself issue though I hate that!!! I use it for my alarm clock and worry about not being able to hear calls or txts.

  9. Haden Portman

    I have the problem with the phone seemingly muting when making a call, it doesn’t happen when connected to a Bluetooth headset but with normal calls it’s at least 50% of the time, this seems to have increased since I got the phone about 6 weeks ago. I’ve contacted my network provider who in turn out me through to Apple who are replacing the phone. I must say i’m not impressed with Apples service though, firstly that have taken an authorisation of over £400 to ensure the old one is returned and I’ve been told a courier will turn up within the next 48 hours to swap them over. Great if you’re home all day….

  10. Toni Tyler

    Got my new iPhone on Friday & transferred all my info & on Tue am, all my contacts disappeared! Everything else seems to be ok, although I, too, have experienced problems with mute calling out.

  11. My wife just upgraded her phone to the 4s from the 3GS now her problem is that the phone WILL NOT connect to wifi at home unless you are within a inch of the router. My 3GS has 0 problems connecting to the same wifi at the sametime anybody else experiencing this

  12. I also noticed the siri volume issue. I also found that my 4S repeatedly showed 0-1 bars when connected to a microcell. Toggling airplane mode on & then off seemed to fix the issue for a while (full bars), but then after a while I’d notice it was back to 0-1 bars again.

  13. I bought a 4S a week ago and noticed problems maintaining bars when connected to a microcell. Toggling airplane mode on and then off seemed to fix it. But after a while I’d again notice 0 bars when connected to the microcell.

  14. My iPhone 4s from sprint drops calls quite often. It’s difficult to get a call finished unless I have 3 bars or more. I have signal and it breaks up when I speak but not when I’m being spoken to on 1-2 signal bars. Is that common with this iPhone? It’s become very aggravating. I’m ready to switch back to my Evo.

  15. the commenters here are all liars–saying their iphone has issues. we all know that the iphone is perfect and everything apple does is perfect all the time.

    stop spreading lies.

  16. Absolutely zero problems for me, thing just works and works very well. Actually two of them with no problems. I wouldn’t settle for one with issues, go to the Apple Store and let them know, get it in their system that your phone has issues. Also do a restore and see if that helps.

  17. I often come across the loud volume after i use siri with my 4s but a small irritating problem ive come across recently is instead of getting a single tone when i get text messages i get a double tone.

  18. randomhero

    My iPhone is updated with iOS 5.0.1 beta 2 and I am experiencing the data drop bug daily. I have to reset my network settings for it to come back. Also the 5.0.1 battery fix has not really done a whole lot to fix the drain for me. Battery life is ok, but no where near as good as it was on my iPhone 4.

  19. Natalie R

    I, too have experienced the issues noted as well as being unable to make a call without the speakerphone going on and staying on (even while using a headset). There’s also an issue of when I make calls and needing to redial as the initial call doesn’t appear to go through. I had brought the phone to my carrier who was basically unable to assist or give me guidance as to what I should do about it. I do plan to go to the apple store in a day or two.

  20. i have a 3gs that has worked at 100% capacity since i bought it over two years ago. i upgraded to ios5 (prob a mistake based on how old the 3gs is butttt i had to! lol) and it worked swimmingly for a few weeks… now the phone is incapable of maintaining a 3g and/or wi-fi connection for more than a minute or so. i took it to the genius bar at lunch today and the dude pretty much ‘cleaned my sim card’ and sent me packing. the phone was searching for the network before i was out of the parking lot. i hope they fix this soon, as i am unable to use my iPHONE as a PHONE. it is a paper weight right now that has angry birds. oh yea, any app that requires internet is unusable atm. grrr come back steve jobs and make apple awesome again.

  21. iquanyin

    im reading this on my replacement iphone 4s. my first had the issues above and a whole lot more. ive had every iphone model.
    this is the first to be defective.

    guess what? my second one wont let me into my verizon account. no service. at all. its an ipod touch right now with a
    rockin camera. im trying to decide whether to replace again or jump ship to samsung. argh.