Though the biggest gripe for most iPhone 4S users has been an abnormally short battery life, an issue that could prove to be just as frustrating is gaining vocal ground in support forums across the Web.
These iPhone 4S owners are experiencing random muting during phone calls, an issue that has reportedly been ignored in the forthcoming iOS 5.1 update.
The problem happens as calls are placed. You tap the appropriate contact or dial the number you wish to call and at some point during the connection, the audio on the caller's end fails.
Interestingly, on the other end, the call recipients have reported no issues. They can even hear the caller's frustration with the lack of audio on the opposite side. So what's to blame?
Right now, no one quite knows. My first finger point is always at software. There are so many variables at play with software development, it seems much more likely for a weird occurrence like this to be related to coding missteps, competing software installations, or user configurations.
Some people in the forums disagree with the software theory, however. They blame hardware failure in the iPhone 4S and its capability to connect (and stay connected) to cellular networks.
Despite a thread with more than 100 pages (and growing) on Apple's own Support Communities Web site and countless other Apple-centric support forums on many other sites around the Internet, the call muting bug seems to have missed the list of issues being addressed by Apple in the next iOS update.
What should you do if you start experiencing this issue?
First, take a breath. Yes, it's frustrating, but it seems as though a few workarounds are showing positive results that should hold you over until Apple analyzes the problem and comes up with a permanent solution. First, as with any recurring issues, do the 3 R's.
- Reset. Hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time until your screen goes black and you see the Apple logo.
- Restore. Plug your iPhone into your PC, use iTunes, and restore it from your latest backup.
- Restore (again). Plug your iPhone into your PC, use iTunes, and restore it as a new phone.
That's what Apple technicians will do if you go to the Apple Store looking for a replacement, so it's better to get it out of the way up front. If none of that works, some people suggest that replacing the SIM card, using a Bluetooth headset, or placing the call using Siri works.
If you do find the problem continually occurring, take your phone to an AppleCare technician and get it checked out. Several forums suggest a replacement phone is well within the acceptable solutions for this problem.
Have you had call muting issues with your iPhone 4S (or any other model running iOS 5)? Let me know in the comments!