iOS 4.1 Proximity Sensor Fix, Does Yours Work?

Apple released iOS 4.1 yesterday and with it a supposed fix for the iPhone 4 proximity sensor issue, something they had promised to do. However it is starting to look like Apple hasn’t fulfilled that promise of fixing the proximity sensor.

According to an article over on Softpedia by Filip Truta, some iPhone 4 users are saying that iOS 4.1 doesn’t fix said proximity sensor, although apparently others are saying it does.

There is a six page long thread over on Apple Discussions, started by user PNAYLOR which begins with…“At work, can’t download 4.1 yet, but I’m eager to see if the Proximity Sensor issue will be fixed. This is my last straw, if 4.1 doesn’t do it, I’m afraid I can’t wait any longer. I need a phone.”

The user then follows later with…“So I decided to just do the upgrade here at work. Just finished the update and the Proximity Sensor seems 500 times better. I can’t get it to fail. I’m so relieved, I love my iPhone, I didn’t want to give it back. Its really soon to sign off that its 100% fixed, but its looking like 4.1 did the trick…”

There are other similar entries, but when you hit page 3, things take a different turn…Brian Snyder2 posted, “I just installed 4.1 and on my first call activated the speakerphone twice, and face dialed a bunch of random numbers. I’m extremely disappointed.”

While user fluffhead00 posted…“I had absolutely NO proximity issues before the 4.1 update, and now I have them like crazy. Sometimes it doesn’t even turn off the screen when I first put it to my ear at all.”

So it would appear there are still some problems with the iPhone 4 proximity sensor, so we’d like to know if iOS 4.1 has fixed your proximity sensor or not, feel free to let us know by dropping us a comment.


48 thoughts on “iOS 4.1 Proximity Sensor Fix, Does Yours Work?”

  1. TDR says:

    I downloaded iOS 4.1 on my 4th iphone 4 last night proximity sensor still malfunctions, it is a replacement for my 3rd iphone 4, which I need to return today, Apple will be receiving back my iPhone 4 #3 and #4 today and I will go back to iPhone 3gs, I hope in the next generation iPhone they will fix the hardware. Hard to believe that 4 out of 4 iPhone 4's have and will be returned for the proximity issue.

  2. Richard Corbs says:

    Mine still doesn't work! I was really hoping ios 4.1 would fix it – as promised – but no! My phone keeps doing all the usual; face dialing, muting, speakerphone… It's just driving me mad now!

  3. Smrgol says:

    I have found that whilst there is an improvement, it’s sti not totally fixed, my first phone call after the update lasted 12 minutes before I accidentally muted the call, which is far better than what it used to be. The following day when I made another call again I accidentally muted (proving the first was not a one off) Like I said a vast improvement, bur not perfect.

  4. Kim says:

    NO! My proximity sensor is not fixed. I just bought my phone 9-4-10. I didn't know about this problem until I got it but then read that the update would fix it. WRONG. I don't know what to do. Should I take my phone back? Are all of the phone having this problem? Please let me know. I got on Apple support and when through this whole deal telling what was wrong to get a call back from Apple and at the end it says "sorry we cannot help at this time". They better help. I just spent 400 dollars on this phone!

  5. Alex B. says:

    iOS 4.1 seems to have made a big difference to my iPhone 4. I had so many problems with voice calls before this update. I can now make a phone call without any of the irritating proximity sensor issues. I can even wedge the phone between my ear and my shoulder and carry on a conversation without a problem ! I have never been able to do that since getting the phone in July. The iPhone 4 is an excellent peice of hardware and now I can actually use it to make phone calls !! very pleased.

  6. Jason says:

    Mine is still as bad as ever. Screen stays lit, still hangs up and turns on speaker. Have the apple bumper if that matters. Apple is pissing me off big time. Jobs playing dumb about the issues… He’s just another corporate stooge anymore. Doesnt want to get sued, but it’s inevitable at this point.

  7. I had issues with the proximity sensor before the update. After installing IOS4.1 today, my first call on the iPhone 4 resulting in a screen that was practically strobing even when pressed firmly against my ear.

    If anything, my current problem is worse.

  8. Joel says:

    Didn't fix mine. Fixed my friends. I bought my phone the day it came out. Is it too late for me to obtain a replacement? After all, I still have a defects warranty, and this definitely looks like a hardware defect for many of us.

  9. Ryan says:

    PROXIMITY SENSOR IS NOT FIXED!!!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!! I am so tired of this phone…Facetime and retina display and processor speed and all of that are just bogus trade-offs if the damned thing can’t even work as a phone. SO STUPID!!! Yet every time I try to bring it up in forums, it’s amazing how religiously fanboys defend their god. APPIC FAIL!! Check out my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPcQ-cYg8iA and tell me what YOU think…

  10. Ryan says:

    PROXIMITY SENSOR IS NOT FIXED!!!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!! I am so tired of this phone…Facetime and retina display and processor speed and all of that are just bogus trade-offs if the damned thing can’t even work as a phone. SO STUPID!!! Yet every time I try to bring it up in forums, it’s amazing how religiously fanboys defend their god. APPIC FAIL!! Check out my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPcQ-cYg8iA and tell me what YOU think…

  11. Ralph says:

    My is still not fixed. I never had this problem on my 3GS, but thus has been an issue from day one with this thing. The 3GS also used to let me lock the screen during a call while the 4 will not. I am very disappointed.

  12. Simon says:

    Yes it’s fixed mine – I answer my phone with my left hand- wonder if that makes a difference (am I right in saying the proximity sensor is on the top left hand side?)

  13. Haroon says:

    Didn't fix mine either. Intermittent key presses are still made with my cheek whenever I'm on a call. Thoroughly frustrating. Will never purchase Apple products again on the premise that 'they just work'. Apple in my opinion are fast becoming the new 'Nokia'. A mobile giant whose phones are the highest spec but a substandard and shoddy user experience. I am very disappointed with Apple.

  14. Vanessa says:

    It didn't fix my proximty sensor, if anything its worse. I'm constantly turning he speaker phone on and it's frustrating. My screen will actually flicker on and off during the call.

  15. Mine isn't fixed, and I am an early adopter. I heard the later batches you can see the proximity sensor more clearly. Wondering if Apple made the glass too dark. This fix only partially helps by making it more sensitive I would guess. How many people still having problems are early adopters I wonder?

    @Simon the sensor is right above the speaker in the middle, you can see if it shine a really bright light on it. Previous iPhones the sensor was obvious. I'd mark this as another hardware design flaw on Apple's part. Thinking about taking it into an Apple store and seeing if the display models proximity sensor looks different.

  16. Jay says:

    I have swapped out my phone twice, and updated to 4.1 software…still having problems with the sensor. The display activates after it is up to my face even though it blacks out initially and I have not moved.
    I really love the phone simply for the speed and battery time. But I am constantly putting people on hold and mute and it seems now with the 4.1 update, I am having more problems than before. I was really hoping the software update would fix this issue.

  17. Sean E. says:


    Look. I've watched everyone battle and bicker on forums and other websites about the various major problematic hardware/software issues with this phone… everyone including Apple "fanboys" and Android "fanboys." Let me lay down some empirical data for you all. First off… antennagate… this IS an issue and it affects EVERY SINGLE iPHONE 4 UNIT MADE/SOLD as of this current date. Every single one. How do I know this? Because the issue is in fact a hardware design flaw. This is why it can not be fixed by software, or simply fixed by getting a new phone. THEY ARE ALL BUILT THE SAME. The "death grip" does in fact connect the two antennas (in fact, as many have realized, the "death grip" can be relegated to one finger) and it DOES in fact change the impedance and therefore it DOES result in about 20-30 decibels of attenuation of cell signal. HOWEVER, anyone in an area with relatively sufficient coverage will not notice this. I watched the media on this issue for months before foolishly believing Jobs's statement at one of Apple's "conferences"—namely, the statement that this issue plagued only 2% of iPhone 4 users. WRONG. Antennagate affects 100% of iPhone 4's… but NOT necessarily 100% of iPhone 4 users… this is because users already in an area with strong (or moderate) signal strength will not get enough of a reduction to affect their calls, and users in very strong signal areas (such as downtown in urban cities) will MAYBE see 2-bar drop, usually just a 1-bar drop. However, if ANY of these people take their iPhone 4's to a location with say, barely 2-3 bars of signal, and "death grip" them without a case on, the signal WILL DROP, many times to a complete loss, and thus resulting in the "No service" indication. How do I know this? Because after I received MY iPhone 4 and noticed this problem instantly (my house is in a weak signal area, so I can kill the signal there), I called Apple for a replacement. But, instead of paying $30 for an expedited replacement, I opted to go to the Apple store here. There, I talked to an honest genius who told me that his phone and his friends' phones all have the issue, and that if I wanted, I could test every unit they had in the store. So that's exactly what I did. I picked up each and every one of the 17 iPhone 4's they had and death gripped all of them. EVERY SINGLE ONE lost at least 2 bars of signal, many 3, all within about 30 seconds. Releasing the lower-lefthand corner immediately resulted in a full signal again. Soooo, wow, epic fail on Apple's behalf. Oh, and to give you a bigger sample size, my friend bought an iPhone 4 from an Apple store about 900 miles north of me. While there, he called me (from his 3G), and I told him to test out the units in the store. He did on about 5 of them. Guess what. ALL of them had antennagate. But he bought a phone anyway. And guess what. His phone has the issue too. Duhhh, it's because they are ALL MADE THE SAME WAY! Anyway, moving on.

  18. Sean E. says:

    … continued….

    Now the proximity sensor… this wasn't a largely noticeable issue for me at first, but admittedly, I didn't make a whole lot of extensive calls immediately after receiving this phone. I was too distracted by all its bells and whistles. But within about a week or so, I noticed I had been face-muting and face-dialing people repeatedly (I constantly wedge my phone between my shoulder and neck) whereas I never ONCE did that with my 3G. So what gives? Well, I did some research again. Turns out, the older iPhone models all have TWO proximity sensors, one on either side of the speaker. This means that if your face/cheek is barely covering EITHER corner or within a few inches, the proxy sensor shuts the screen off. Voila. However, on the NEW iPhone 4, there is only ONE proximity sensor, and it is located directly above the speaker. This poses a problem if you like to hold your phone between your neck and shoulder, as I do, because you may end up exposing the speaker completely, and thus proxy sensor, with only part of your cheek barely covering a corner (which now have no sensor), and BAM, the screen stays/comes on. Furthermore, the software in iOS 4 doesn't feature static proxy sensor settings, but rather dynamic, meaning that the proxy sensor adjusts its responsiveness according to your varying degrees of holding the phone over the course of time. I feel that many people experiencing proxy problems are people holding the phone in the manner that I do (between neck and shoulders) or a slight variation. Anyone holding the phone directly to their ear will NOT experience problems. Of course, this is all given the presumption that the iPhone 4 has NO case on it. When a case is introduced, another major variable comes into play. I discovered this as I attempted to use my old 3G case with my new iPhone 4. On my old Belkin case, there are 2 strips of leather that run across the top of the phone, one above the speaker, one below. Well, guess what… the strip of leather that runs above the speaker happens to run directly over the new proximity sensor's location. So what does this mean? It means that whenever I use this case, the proxy sensor goes NUTS… I'm talking like, screen strobing, screen stays black, screen stays on, blah blah blah. And it's not because the proxy sensor is faulty, per se. It's because it thinks that that small strip of leather is actually my face, and it is constantly adjusting accordingly. Now I know that this is a 3G case, but I have seen a NUMBER of iPhone 4-specific cases with similar attributes. (continued after this)

  19. Sean E. says:

    …. continued… last part:

    Given the plethora of cases out there, this leads me to believe that most of the users experiencing this proxy problem are either holding their phones "incorrectly" (the natural way that I do, which of course, is NOT a wrong method to hold a phone!) or because their cases are triggering the sensor to behave erratically. For instance, if I dial a number using my 3G case, and then put the phone to my ear, the screen shuts off. However, when I pull my face away, the screen stays off, because the strip of leather is covering the proxy sensor, so the phone thinks my face is still there. If I bend the strip back a bit, voila, the screen comes on again. NOW, if I then put the phone to my face quickly, the screen STAYS ON, despite the fact my face (and again the strip of leather) are covering the sensor. And there you go… face dialing. As far as 4.1 update goes. YES, it does help DRAMATICALLY with the sensor's performance. The software has been rewritten so that the screen doesn't come on as quickly when the phone is still close to you. Also, if you look carefully, under iOS 4.1, you can actually SEE the proxy sensor light up red while it's on. To test this, take off your case, place a phone call, put the phone to your face to disable the screen, then pull it away and look right above the speaker. You'll see a little red light… that's the proxy sensor! Simply place your index finger about 1 inch above this and the light will go off and so will your screen. Magical. Anyway, once again, ALLLLLLLL of these iPhone 4's are built the same way! Soooo, returning your 3-5 phones for a 6th one will NOT solve the issue. If you think it does/did, then it's a user-based variable fucking with you. Trust me, I have tested at LEAST 8 different phones with iOS 4.0 and 4.1 running, and they ALL function the exact same without cases on. Why is there such variability in all this data? Because people hold their phones differently, have differently shaped heads/faces, and all have varying cases, some old, some new, some without cases at all. Tons of variables are at work here, so it's expected to see all this variation in data. I'm just trying to put some rumors and speculations to rest here with some solid empirical data that I've noticed upon testing a variety of iPhone 4's across these different measures. This is what Apple should have done with the iPhone 4: place an insulator between the antennas on the INSIDE of the phone as well as coat the external part with a thin clear insulator of some sort, and use TWO proxy sensors on EITHER SIDE of the speaker like the older models, not one proxy sensor right in the middle above the speaker. Had Apple employed these two simple hardware designs, they would've made a Grade-A, 100% functional product. I hope this comment has helped inform some people. It's unbelievable the amount of bullshit I've had to sift through to get any useful/factual information on these matters out of anybody. Hopefully this will put some myths to rest.

  20. Ryan says:

    UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!! I am so tired of this phone…Facetime and retina display and processor speed and all of that are just bogus trade-offs if the damned thing can’t even work as a phone. SO STUPID!!! Yet every time I try to bring it up in forums, it’s amazing how religiously fanboys defend their god. APPIC FAIL!! Check out my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPcQ-cYg8iA and tell me what YOU think…

  21. Josh says:

    4.1 seems to have fixed my phone .. I have had the update or two days and have made many calls and have not had one problem. With 4.0 I would have problems with every call .

  22. Haroon says:

    I originally posted that update 4.1 did not fix my proximity sensor issue on my iPhone 4. However, as I have trawled the internet for workarounds to the problem, I chanced upon a webpage which advised that after the update you reset your settings – Settings –> General –>Reset –> Reset all settings. I promptly complied, and hey presto, no more proximity sensor issue!!! I have been using my phone constantly for two days now and no issues so far!!! The website also mentioned that if the above did not work, then to do a full restore via iTunes, however, the first seems to have resolved the issue for me.

  23. Michel says:

    Didn't have the problem with 4.01 but now it;s crazy! start the conversation and speakerphone or mute gets " pressed" by my ear or cheek or both!!

    this sucks, a problem I didn't have gets turned into a problem I now do have.

    Apple PLEASE fix this!!

  24. I complained to Apple about the proximity sensor problem and they exchanged my phone for a new one. The new phone was the same and just as bad. I had about 12 unwanted screen taps on the very first 20 minute call.

    HOWEVER: I then found a post which told me how to fix it! Apparently there's some setting that gets ported from phone to phone regarding the proximity sensor delay and that can actually be copied from your old iPhone 3G settings to the 4 (which requires different settings). So I followed the instructions and reset the phone to defaults (you don't lose any data or apps – just things like the stored passwords and background settings). Now that I've done that, I've made about 5 hours of calls without a single unwanted screen click (measured using the Call Guard app). Woohoo – fixed! 🙂

  25. Gregory says:

    I updated to OS 4.1 expecting an instant improvement, and alas, it was more of the same…

    The GOOD news…

    I think I discovered what my proximity problem is with a little application of the scientific method! I keep my iPhone 4G in the same leather case as my old iPhone 3G, made by InCase, which I love. It's not a perfect fit for the new phone, but it was $30.00 and close enough. I just realized that when I remove it from the case, the screen never activates mid-call! The thickness and/or positioning of the case is affecting the phone's ability to judge proximity, but without it it seems to detect perfectly!

    I wonder how many people with the problem are using an after-market case???

  26. Simon Heywood says:

    4.1 did not fix it for me on my iPhone 4. Still pressing buttons with my cheek – especially if I get passionate in a call. I do keep it pressed to my ear. I don't use a case. New to Apple and iPhone. Completely bewildered by the fact that it is not fixed. Is there some way to get those 3 settings into your 4 if you have never had a 3?

  27. Northern Bloke says:

    I only ever get this issue when holding the phone with my neck/shoulder, when holding it in my hand it's been 100% fine – and it's not improved much with 4.1 using the neck/shoulder grip

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