iPhone's Wi-Fi problems cause heated speculation
Apple recommends turning back the clock
iPhone users who found their Wi-Fi failing after the last firmware upgrade are starting to identify what went wrong, while some have managed to get Apple to replace iPhones with handsets that have never seen 2.2.1.
The damage caused by the upgrade is irreversible, rolling back to a previous version does not fix the problem, while a spell in the freezer or using an almost-dead battery does get Wi-Fi working again temporarily - confirming that the problem is heat related.
Not that everyone is seeing the issue, which only seems to be affecting older 2G and 3G iPhones. The hypotheses is that the Wi-Fi chip has been throttled back until now, but the firmware version 2.2.1 removes the restriction and causes overheating in older units. Sticking the iPhone in a fridge gets things working again, for a while, but rolling back the firmware does not.
One poster to the Apple forum even reports being told to get a replacement handset under warranty, but to specifically ask for one that had not been upgraded to 2.2.1.
"Just got off the phone with an Apple representative who didn't hesitate at all to make an appointment for me at my local Apple Store for a replacement iPhone with the note to NOT have the 2.2.1 OS installed."
The problem has been obfuscated by users having unrelated wi-fi problems, such as those who need to configure their router properly, to the point where the discussion forum has been forked. The focus of the new discussion is whether the damage is physical in nature, or if the new firmware contained an upgrade to the Wi-Fi driver that isn't being rolled back with the firmware: Apple is being as unresponsive as ever.
If it's a firmware issue then perhaps a patch could be issued to re-throttle the Wi-Fi and get things working again, but it hardly seems fair to leave customers guessing if a problem is fixable. As Reg reader Scott Wilson, who's been working on the problem since it started, put it:
"I'm OK with apple telling us we've fried them and giving us at least some diag help, but just hoiking another £400 from us [for a new iPhone] is a tad brutal. My worry as a returning customer is that in 13 months I have the same problem again which is why the matter is not closed."
Not that Scott is considering an alternative handset. Despite the problems, the utility of the iPhone means that fans will put up with an awful lot of silence from the boys in Cupertino. ®
Maybe a real problem, but insignificant in the big picture
@Jack Sully: I don't doubt that the problem is real for those who are affected by it. However, my point is that all the evidence points to this being something affecting a tiny minority of users. If it were even moderately widespread the Apple forums (and others) would be overflowing with posts about it, and they just aren't. The El Reg story picked up on a handful of people having WiFi issues with their iPhone and reported that as "iPhone WiFi is broken", which is simply not the case. If El Reg scoured the support forums of all IT/tech companies and blew every problem thread that had more than a 100 posts into "product X is broken" there wouldn't be a single 'working' product left.
Hmmm...Heat related you say...
I could SWEAR that my Macbook 2,1 Atheros wifi issues were heat related as well... I lose packets like mad on 10.5 if my ambient room temp is anywhere above air-conditioned 75F/24C or lower...
WTF is with wifi and heat issues...can't anyone make a reasonable wifi chipset nowadays?
Under Linux (any driver, madwifi or ath5k) the card just...stops... I feel that OSX10.5 constantly 'resets' the card, which is often the only way I'm able to get it working again under Linux..suspending the laptop and resuming..
Great way to "fix" a problem chipset A****le er Apple
Maybe a tiny minority, but definitely a real problem
@Michael Brown -- This problem is real; I updated to iPhone 2.2.1 last week and my WiFi stopped working reliably two days ago.
Your logic is flawed, in that you say it's a small group of people, and yours is fine. Ok, but if a group of iPhones, no matter how small the number in comparison to all iPhones sold, all ended up with fried WiFI boards after the update, how can you say it's _not_ a hardware flaw? There are a lot of variables here -- maybe the people whose iPhones still work on 2.2.1 do not use the WiFi radio as much. Maybe they all are a ticking time bomb.... or, maybe it's just a few that are defective. But they are _still_ defective. If there were reports that possibly 1% of the drivers of the car that you own were finding that the steering wheels suddenly detached while driving at speeds greater than 40mph, would you laugh and say, "well, my car is fine!" That's tempting fate........
Regardless, I can't prove anything, but I know my iPhone "seemed" like it was getting hotter than it used to, just under the Apple logo on the back, after the update. I thought it was just because I was using it more. Then two days ago, Wifi suddenly dropped out. I've now had the exact same symptoms described -- works OK on low battery, works ok for a few minutes out of the freezer. Two different wireless networks. Restored 2.1, but the problem remains. iPhone 1st gen.
reply to Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward, sorry for not having english my native language. And what I wrote there is correct. Some routers connect, perhaps because there is no full information or at least show connected. Of course the effect is the same: no internet connection.
I have tried more than 100 different wifi spots and they all give the same error.
What part make you laugh?
No I don't want apple to point the files to delete lol!
But some "dev" people who know macs well which files keep these settings. Like temp files in windows...just a guess :p