iPhone 4 Proximity Sensor Causing Issues During Calls?

iPhone 4 proximity sensor causing issues

Apple's problems with the new iPhone seem to be far from over. After issues relating to screen discoloration, scratches and reception were reported last week, we are now hearing about a new issue relating to the proximity sensor on iPhone 4.

According to messages posted on Apple discussion forums, the "super-sensitive" proximity sensor on the new iPhone could be causing calls to be unintentionally dialed, hung up or muted without user consent.

Here are a few reports from iPhone 4 users:

farfromovin reports:

"My wife and I both have the same exact problem with out phones. I was on an hour phone call this evening and my phone muted me 5 times, put me on hold and tried calling my work and then put me on hold and tried to send a text message to my work. This is very dissapointing. Ok, that last one with the text message is kind of funny. But for someone who has had apple products for years on end, this is about the worst experience I've had so far."

mdalegre complains:

"I'm having an issue with the Proximity Sensor not properly detecting when i'm holding my phone to my ear. I can confirm that the iPhone sensor is working by covering it with my finger, but when held to my face, the screen blinks as if it cannot decide to disable the screen or enable it. It results on me hanging up, putting calls on mute, and dialing numbers accidentally while i'm on the phone. This occurs on 90% of my calls. Is anyone else experiencing this issue. I would like to confirm whether this is a software issue (Proximity Sensor sensitivity too low) or a design issue (sensor now placed towards the end of the phone)."

sysrage reports:

"I am also having this problem. It's incredibly annoying. I've hung up on almost everybody I've called accidentally because of this. Speakerphone comes on every once in awhile. One, that doesn't make sense, is sometimes I'll somehow close the phone app with my face. I know I'm not pushing the home button, but I'll see the screen light up and I'll look and it's on springboard with the green bar to touch to re-open phone app. Really REALLY hope this is fixable with software and not a hardware defect."

YukonJR is also having the same issue:

"The proximity sensor on the new iPhone 4 has been changed somehow and the sensitivity is not set properly. I purchased three phones yesterday and all three act the same. The display activates at less then 1 inch from your head and is slow to deactivate. I have facetimed, muted, and kepressed all at least 12 times in the first day. Twice just while leaving the Apple store. While using the phone in a dark room, I noticed by simply rocking the phone left or right less then 1 inch the display would activate. Having purchased every version of iPhone on each launch date, I have never encountered this problem. Hopefully a firmware update will fix this!!!!! "

lauber1322 who was facing the issue seems to have found a workaround:

"experienced this issue yesterday as well and found that by readjusting the phone on my ear things worked out better. I think they moved the sensor to accommodate the camera. The previous phones all had the sensor exactly where the front facing camera now resides. I believe they relocated the sensor to directly above the speaker on top (which is why the white version) has those slits in the top over the earpiece. This is the same area that I covered last night which seemed to fix things."

hitnrun is also observing the same issue:

"Has anyone noticed that the sensor that tells the phone when your holding it up to your ear is extremely sensitive? I mean, NEVER before have I cheek dialed, hit the mute with my ear lobe, or hung up on someone inadvertently. However, 3 times in one call last night and twice today I hung up on people, all inside of a three minute call."

Apple may not have had the kind of opening that they would have liked, for iPhone 4 at least in terms of issues. We had also reported about several users noticing brown or yellow splotches on the retina display with few users also noticing scratches on the glass casing of the new iPhone. While these complaints may still be anomalies, many users are reporting the reception issues on the new iPhone along with the latest issue with the proximity sensor. We hope a software update to fix these issues will be released soon. 

Are you facing similar issues with iPhone 4's proximity sensor? Tell us your experience in the comments.


iOS 4.1 will fix proximity sensor and Bluetooth problems

[via Apple Support, EverythingiCafe]

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  • Zydan

    I'm having the same issue, I keep putting people on speaker, or trying to use Facetime while having phone near my earl

  • lisa_james@me.com

    I have been having the exact problems with my iPhone 4. Most of my calls have been either put on hold or hung up. I would say this has happened 99% of the time. I had one call work correctly since I received the phone on June 23rd.

  • J

    Call me crazy but I noticed that happening with my 3G recently. It might not be a v4 thing… it's possible its an iOS thing??

  • Some people have seen an improvement after doing a reset on the settings and/or reset on the network settings. I personally did not. I even went so far as to restore the iPhone as a new device (painful) without any luck. Cases on the device can be an issue but I'm not using one and I think most people aren't that are experiencing this issue. I did call Apple and they are willing to swap the iPhone out with another one, however, all the usual caveats on the exchange apply. Someone posted in the Apple Discussion thread they went ahead and did the exchange but still have the issue with the new device. A user on the thread also posted a video that demonstrates the issue very well:

    The bottom line is there doesn't appear to be a universal fix for all of us that can be done at the user level. If you are reading these comments and experiencing this issue you should PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL APPLE NOW to open a case number on this. Only after the problem has been widely reported to them, not to fellow users experiencing the same problem, will they try to implement a fix.

  • Franky j

    My god! Was everyone at apple drinking and getting drunk while making this phone. Apple need to start slashing ppl's pay. I bet so much money went into this ios and i4 but shit still keep coming out wrong.

  • Zoran

    Yup – same on mine as well…
    Mutes all the time on me…
    VERY annoying

  • CraigB

    Instead of dispatching these early, Apple should have sent out Late with all issues sorted. I can't understand what's going on, they should remember Sony were top of the tree once, but bugged up phones like the C905 & Satio put them on the floor.
    I love iPhones, but can't jusify even upgrading to ios4 from my 3.1.2 GS, nevermind the thought of spending £500 on a messed up Ip4, such a shame. And to cap it all, Jobs with his one line replies to concerned customers emails is really rubbing mr up the wrong way.

  • CraigB

    *rubbing me up the wrong way

  • Also having trouble with the sensor, but I still love the phone, and don't think they should have been delayed unlike @CraigB.

  • Tash

    Spoke to apple cust. serv. over the weekend bout this issue, they send me to the apple store for a phone swap. Maybe thats a problem they know cuz mine been muting, activating the speaker, dialing other numbers while i was on a call…was thinkin I was alone till I see this article.
    C'mon apple iphone 4 is really making the 3gs look perfect.

  • duston f

    least its an simple software fix though! just needs re calibrating hopefully!

  • Weeee

    Yeah my iphone called my friend. And I have 3GS

  • MixHitz

    Happens on my 3G, 3Gs, and I4… this is is an IOS issue

  • Fingers

    My uk iPhone 4 seems to be ok, I had the signal issue, but that's it. My proximity sensor appears to work as it should, but to be fair, I haven't made/received that many calls.

  • I SAY

    Im using 3gs with 4.0 and it works great.. the second i move my hand towars it it disables the screen

  • pdd

    I have the same exact problem. Calls are constantly muted or disconnected by accident because the sensor is not working right

  • Chase

    Same problem here. Every time i am on a call i hit the mute button with my cheek. That's a deal breaker for me. Went to the apple store this morning and they couldn't exchange then cause they were so busy. Also on my contacts screen there is no edit button. I cant change or delete contacts. Anyone else have this same problem?

  • CraigB

    Then put up with your unfinished product. I'd rather have waited for it to be finished and out on the Market personally.
    Just my opinion 🙂

  • matthewman09@comcast.net

    I dont know what all the fuss is about, I received my Iphone 4 one day early and have yet to have a single problem with it. No reception issuues, screen issues, or anything. Works flawlessly. Very satisfied

  • Jayrider

    i happened to me all the time… i even managed to put someone on hold by accident lol…

  • You're holding your phone the wrong way.

  • Anthony

    Happens to me on iPhone 4 too.

  • Wrr4Christ731

    I have had no problems with my iPhone4 and its working beautifully!

  • Wrr4Christ731


  • Jeet 510

    i swear if he says tht ….. im gonna destroy my fukin iphone!!!!

  • ch7

    Cant say i have noticedthis prob

  • DaMan1007 a

    I thought it was just me but I am having the same exact issues. I look like an idiot everytime
    I am on this phone and in the middle of a conversation. Mutes, puts call on hold, and calls and attempts to enter FaceTime.

  • John

    I'm having the same issues with the sensor. While on a call it goes to speaker phone every 5-10 seconds throughout a call. It sucks as the phone function is the only thing I'd really like to have working 100%.
    Today I was watching a YouTube clip when my friend called. During the call he asked how I like the new iPhone. As soon as he said that my phone hung up on him and went back to playing the YouTube clip at max volume in my ear. Lol. Piece of crap.

  • Anch

    Problems I've experienced with my iPhone 4:

    Antenna design flaw (loses 3G when held wrong)
    Proximity sensor error (muted calls, opening of other applications in call, etc)
    Poor Push Notification: new gmail messages only show up if I open app. Same problem with other push apps.

  • Wow, I am having the same problems with all 6 of my iphones picked up at launch day. Proximity Sensors, Dropped calls are particulary annoying and garbled calls are some of the main issues. I went to the Apple Store yesterday and the sales guy asked if I was left handed. I said I was and he said well it's a right handed phone. I asked do you tell David Ortiz to bat Right handed? Do you tell Phil Michelson to golf right handed? What is up? This phone is plagued with numerous problems, I can't believe it. Apple please fix these problems I have no other cell phone as this is a micro sim chip and it doesn't even work in my old iPhone anymore! OMG

  • Jorge

    It happened to me. When I was calling my mom I tried to use see something in the Internet and my screen stayed black, and i had t hard reboot to see my screen an I'm using a "old" 3GS and ios4

  • Ashenden

    Hurr my phone works fine so obviously nobody elses phone could possibly be any different.

  • Kewlj1313

    Hello! I upgraded from 3GS to the iPhone 4 and yes the iPhone 4 has a tendency to face dial and dear dial :-/ I never had this problem on the 3GS!

  • s0ulo

    Me too dude. Thought I was alone. Shit is annoying. Did u find a fix?

  • s0ulo

    You ain't gotta hard reboot. Just press lock and wait until u hear the lock sound. Then 10 sec later it should work. Shit is wack

  • Dan

    My screen just goes on and off all the time while im having a call… quite annoying!

    Really unimpressed with the new iphone os 4.0 on my iphone 4.

    apple need to sort it out.

    Im considering selling it for 850 to a mate and buying one in a couple of updates time for 599.

  • JD

    I'm having issue's with the proximity sensor muting me as well!

  • Spazcase1

    I'm not having any issues with mine either.. I remember seeing a post on here that someones iPhone 4 was freezing intermittently. Then remembered that when he set it up in iTunes, he restored from a backup of his 3GS… It caused the problems. But then he restored it to factory setting and set it up as a "new iPhone" and fixed the problems.. I wonder if a lot of people on this forum restored from a 3GS backup instead of setting it up as a new one.. I would recommend trying that..

  • my problem was backwards once I made the call my screen would go blank immediately and the only way I could get it to come back was to hit the sleep button which of course hangs up the call, switched back to 3gs because of it

  • g rod

    i have this problem. its annoying as hell.

  • Nope

    Me too. Horribly annoying. This problem is the only one I would consider serious of all the issues reported so far. It really gets in the way and can be very embarrassing!!

  • Vinny

    I put whoever on speaker allll day.

  • Hey all,

    I posted yesterday that I upgraded to os4 and then jailbroke my phone. I never made any calls so didnt realise that I had the blank screen while incall problem.

    If you have a 3g then complete the following and it should fix the issue.

    1. Go into settings

    2. Go into General

    3. scroll down to reset and go into it

    4. Reset all settings


  • Intruder

    My bluetooth works fine…. Pair yours up people. Phone works great that way. It will reduce the amount of complaints on this topic.

  • Almujica

    I had the same issue an I was able to correct by not restoring and setting up as a new phinew phone in iTunes. Problem is gone now. I would try restoring to factory default in iTunes abd setting up as a new phone. There are some blogs about this being an issue when restoring from backup.

  • mozbius

    same here… have you jailbroken yous phone by any chance? I have that feeling that one of cydia apps is causing some issues with proximity sensor. I'm on 3G 16Gig 3.1.2 Baseband 4.26.08 Jailbroken

  • Yo Mama

    iPhone 4s don't have Cydia on them yet…

  • Lewis

    Got the same issue, I am on the phone a lot and I get the whole range of problems, muting,disconnecting, pressing numbers, the best is when it keeps trying to start a face time call lol I love my Iphone 4 and I hope this issue does get fixed soon.

  • Desireable

    iPhone 4 it just doesnt work.

  • Darren

    I also have this problem when makin s call (if i ever get signal that is) when in a call my iPhone 4 dials numbers and hold calls.

    Apple better get a fix for this soon ..

  • When I am on the phone on my iPhone 4, and I put the phone up to my ear, the speaker button somehow gets pressed. AND don't even get me started about the antena when you hold the phone from the bottom problem. I want a replacement from apple. This is a DISCRACE.

  • Eddie

    I have a question for everybody that reads this forum regardless of whether you have the problem or not. Please help us and answer this even IF YOU DO NOT have the proximity problem!!! Does ANYBODY have an "iPhone 4" that has a proximity sensor that activates further away than 3/4 to 1 3/4 of an inch away from the phone? The 3GS and previous models seemed to have an activate range of about 2 inches away. Please let us know.

    The reason that I am asking is that if NOBODY has a phone that has a better range than the average of 1 inch then it won't matter how many times I go to exchange my phone because it won't be fixed until they update the software or firmware or in worst case do a recall.

    I would like to try and find out if this problem is only on some iPhone 4s or if it is all of them and only some of us that use the phone on our ear are having the problem and others are not because of bluetooth headsets etc. and the problem would not affect those users.

  • My perfect 3gs

    Apple recall the lot and start again, you know it makes sense.

  • omakad

    Yup same here on the iPhone4. Noticed it first day after I dialed with my face during the conversation and then someone told me to stop. I thought they were doing it as those kind of things never happen on the iphohe. Also I thought I wnas having reception issues and droppig calls, but I was actually placing calls on mute.

  • scor_p_ion

    all and everything that everyone has reported so far has happened to me at least once with the iPhone4. I kept thinking I wasn't holding the phone correctly. I guess I should email Steve Jobs for suggestions.

  • Warbler

    I had the iPhone 3G for 18months and never once did it mute my call accidentally. Upgraded it to iOS4 and it started doing it. My new IPhone 4 also does it. Looks like and OS issue to me…

  • Mudge

    Had all of the iPhones and been happy with them, but my iphone 4 is going back.

    I could put up with having to hold it a certain way, but with 3/4 of my calls being put on hold I'm not happy.

    Not good enough Apple, not nearly for the money you asked for.

  • Chris

    I am having the same problem! I am always hitting mute, even without taking the phone from my ear! Plus I made a call with my cheek too. It's super annoying.

  • John

    Im having this problem & its SOOO annoying! In the space of a 40min call to a friend, it muted 6 times, hung up twice and the final time i managed to get rite in to my settings and it started playing my ringtone down my ear, whilst i was still on the call!

    Everytime i make a call something like this happens & having had both old iPhones this really isnt good enough!

  • Richard

    Exactly what is the point of your smug posting?

  • jkn

    Should all just get an android instead

  • I had this problem and it's easily fixed. Go to general, then settings and then hit reset, then hit reset all settings, you wont lose your data or info, it just resets the phone, it only takes a minute. You'll have to reset your wi-fi password and ringtones and wallpaper but it solves the problem right away. I did it last night and been working great, and not related but i haven't dropped one call, i think the phone is amazing, that mute button was my only issue and this fixes it so…there ya go!!!f

  • Lalas06

    Are you serious? Not everybody has a bluetooth headset. Nor should it be a requirement to talk on a cell phone. Apple needs to make this right and quit making it out to be that the customer should fix it by holding it differently, or whatever. Rediculous.

  • MarkOD

    I think everybody should have a look at this post that was deleted from the Apple support forums by Apple. It seems that they have no interest in fixing this issue or even making a statement on it unless they are forced to by a lawsuit or something to that effect. I am VERY disappointed in Apple. I have been a fan for over 15 years. It seems as if they have forgotten who they are and just becoming a big bully now. (see below)

    iphone4_925 posted "Re: Issue with Proximity Sensor during calls" in "Issue with Proximity Sensor during calls" on Jul 5, 2010 6:16:29 PM.
    > ramellam wrote:
    > I took my phone to the Apple store for repair/exchange this evening. The Genius first said that he had not heard of the issue (yeah, right! total lie). I told him there are nearly 70 pages on the Apple Support forum for this exact issue. He immediately dismissed my comment and said, "We typically don't lend too much credence to support forum posts…" Ok….
    > Anyhow, the Genius made a call on my phone and, of course, he did not encounter any of the proximity issues I'm having. He gave the phone back to me and said, "There doesn't appear to be any issues with your phone. You'll just have to get used to the new Proximity Sensor location on the iPhone 4…" I was like, "Ummm… Huh?" He refused to exchange the phone.
    > Luckily, I bought my phone from Best Buy on launch day. I immediately went back to Best Buy and the Mobile Phone sales guy said they've already had 9 of their 30 launch day iPhones returned due to antenna and proximity sensor issues. He put me on a list to exchange the phone. Luckily, I have 45 days to exchange the phone, since I'm a Best Buy silver rewards card holder…
    > Anyhow, I'm kinda bummed the Genius refused to help me :-(. He was rather arrogant, too, which really made me mad. Oh well… Back to Best Buy it goes…

    Wow just cause of this attitude of apple employees They are being SUED by lawyers well apple you should take this time and save yourself from another class action law suit for proximity sensors

    PS ~ Apple mods now don't be wasting your time deleting this post since I have a right to say stuff when you guys sell us your defective product and I think if apple doesn't address this issue then we all should return the Iphone 4 at lease those who are having this proximity issues.

    And also apple instead of deleting peoples post how about investigating why Iphone 4 proximity sensor is going haywire and maybe you will save yourself from another law suit and also people who are having problem with there iphone 4 with the proximity sensor do report it to KCR LEGAL LAW FIRM


  • Laila

    Thank GOD! I'm not the only one! My phone has been randomly calling people while I'm on the phone, after I hang up sometimes. The number of times that I've hung up on my friends is innumerable!

  • same issue here!! I really hope apple can get their act together and fix this via software or else I'd rather get an iphone 3gs again. Iphone4 is sooo much faster but other than that it has proven to have too many bugs.

  • Wayne

    Hi everyone. Although we shouldnt have to… Just lock your phone when you get on a call. Do this until apple comes up with a fix.

  • Cody

    Sometimes my proximity sensor doesn't properly work, causing me to cuss at children.

  • Torque

    I have reception, Proximity sensor and heating issues with my iphone 4.
    I called tech support for help and he offered me replacement phone to be picked up at store. But store GENIUS guy says he cannot give a replacement as his Iphone diagnotic report looks okay.

    He asked me to re-create all the issues right there which i couldn't.

    My issues:

    1. reception issue.
    2. Proximity sensor – When i am in a call, Iphone screen touches my face and puts caller on hold, mutes, goes to contacts, etc..

    genius guy says- Proximity sensor is sensitive to light and i have to keep the surroundings dark.
    It seems like i have to turn off the lights before i make a call ;). He kept proving proximity sensor works great by putting a finger over the sensor. ( i kept asking him hold it to ear)

    3. Heating- If you have apps (ex: Trapster) running in the background, it overheats and discharges the battery really quick.

    genius's response – You have to get a Overheating message on the iphone to prove this.
    My response – I cannot because before it reaches the overheat temperature, battery dies (goes to 0%).

    Finally, I am sick of this Crappy phone. I am returning it.

    Anybody else who had similar issues??

  • vic

    I have exact same issues, did he finally replace the phone?

  • JWL

    very frustrating – I am realizing worse reception and auto hang-ups and – I have compared the 4 to my wifes 3 on a number of occasions and the 4 has fewer bars repeatedly – Good sugestion on locking during calls –


    its incredible thing. i never heard technology can be this bad. i think the one who designed this was a fool anf not apple certified. its totally ashame. a fuckin basic mobile of 50usd will not give you what this iphone 4 is giving. when you buy a mobile you need the basics 1, then othere things are welcome becasue you will be in technology field. but this iphone 4 will not let you do the basic thing which is calling anybody. when you call the sensor go mute and no one listen.
    a phone not to be risked the money. congratulations apple you did the worst thing – put people saying bad name about you. apple is finished for me.

  • estureto.alonzo@gmail.com

    I have had the same issue with the sensors. I was actually on a call with apple care and they were running me through restoring my phone and (ip4) the guy on the phone was like stop pressing buttons I was like I am not pushing anything. He out right admitted they are having those type of problems and even offered to send me a new phone. But thought I should try restoring and updating to the 4.0.1 update. Which I am still experiencing the same problems. I am thinking of ditching my phone…I love the device as a entertainment device but as a phone I rather use a real phone that will make calls and not lose the signal or email someone or place me on hold on my own call. I actually tried taking my phone back and the manager of the store were very against me returning my phone….is this a statistics thing or what. I am not taking any other suggestions next time. I am returning my two ihpone 4's later today

  • Shelby

    When I try to lock the phone while on a call, it ends the call…frustrating!

  • This is an incredibly annoying issue. Is it something that is likely to be fixed by a software update, or is it just a problem with the sensor in this phone that I'll have to live with forever now?

  • john.hanner@gmail.com

    Ok…Ive had iPhones 2G, 3G, 3Gs, and now 4.
    I rarely had dropout, and never had proximity related issues. So, I think I know how it should work. Or know if it is not working in a customary way.
    It drops out during at least half the calls. screen stays on during calls abaout 25% of the time. when on it has created txt messages, dialed other numbers. and gone to mute enough that freinds are telling me to check my mute.
    I love my Iphone including this one. But this one has issues. My screen has several deep scratches now. I NEVER had them with any of the other half dozen iPhones. and the proximity sensor is driving me crazy.
    Help us Apple.

  • John Mitchell

    Does anyone know if there has been a fix for this because I am still having a problem with pausing during a call. I have the latest software 4.2.1.

  • sarah

    ive been having the light sensor problem during my calls as well, and when i cover the sensor with my finger, it still does not dim the screen; in fact, NOTHING changes on the screen. sadly, i havent found anything to fix this problem. im almost positive that the apple store WILL replace a phone with this problem, since they had no problems replacing my iPhone 3G multiple times for simple malfunctions like this (ex. vibration switch getting stuck, apps ending without user validation, and the screen staying black after a call)

    as far as losing the 3G signal when you turn or hold the iphone 4 in a strange direction, the only thing i have found to ‘fix” this problem is to say f*** AT&T and switch to verison. Verison fixed the placement of the antenna when they released the iphone 4 under their service plan. (this is also why many verison iphone owners are having problems finding a case that fits; in moving the antenna, they also had to adjust the vibration switch by moving it farther down on the body of the phone)

    all ive ever owned are apple products (ive had my aluminum bodied macbook for around 3 years and i have literally NEVER NEVER NEVER had any problems) (ive also owned an iphone since the 3G and the only major problem i had was a cracked screen)

    hope any of this info helps anyone :/

  • Apple

    Apple ir sum one plz tell me how to fix my proximity sensor keeps on going mute everytime!!!!!!! Plzz help before this my iphone vibration went off for ever i jus hot that fixed n now this… Its an expensive phone plz cud u guys keep up to the standarts (apple!)!!