FACT CHECK: Apple Has Known About iPhone Signal Display Problems Since Late 2008

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Apple says it was “stunned” to find that the formula it uses to calculate how many bars of signal strength its iPhones display “is totally wrong.”For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

But if Apple is actually as surprised by the iPhone OS’s signal bug as it lets on, then the company has a very short memory.

When Apple released iPhone OS 2.1 back in late 2008, it announced that the upgrade “improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display.”

After the upgrade, users widely reported their iPhones displaying a stronger signal. But reports conflicted on whether that stronger signal display was anymore accurate.

CNET, for instance, ran some tests, and suggested that Apple might simply be juicing the signal display to make it look like its phone was getting good reception.

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