I had an IPhone 4, and yesterday Apple swapped it out for an IPhone 4S. They did this because I had complained continuously (calling twice per day on average and going to the Apple store repeatedly) for four months, about the trouble with my IPhone 4. The 4S fixed the problem.
The problem I had was a simple one. When I was talking to someone, at random intervals, they couldn’t hear me, for a random time (from a few seconds to a few minutes). I could hear them, and I would be talking, but they couldn’t hear me. They would be saying “Hello… Are you there?” and I would be yelling “Hello… Can you hear me?” and eventually either they would hang up, or my phone would start working again.
At first I didn’t realize that the problem had started after I upgraded from IOS 5 to IOS 6. I called Apple repeatedly and they walked me through endless lists of diagnostic steps but we couldn’t fix the problem. Eventually they sent me to the Apple store to swap out my phone for a new one, but that didn’t fix the problem. I swapped it out again; no luck. On the third swap, they told me to not restore my apps, because one of my apps might be causing the problem. I followed this advice and used my new IPhone 4 for a week or two as a new phone, and it worked fine. I realized that the problem must have been caused by my apps.
After a week or two, I plugged my IPhone into my computer, and the computer offered to upgrade it from IOS 5 to IOS 6. I agreed, and immediately after the upgrade I made a phone call and experienced the problem. At this point I realized that IOS 6 must be causing the problem. I had not installed any of my apps, just upgraded to IOS 6 on a new phone, and then the problem started. I called Apple and told them the good news. I asked them to help me downgrade back to IOS 5, and they told me that downgrading wasn’t possible, and that I was mistaken about IOS 6 causing the problem. They told me that IOS 6 couldn’t possibly cause that type of problem, and they started asking me to perform more lists of diagnostic steps. They started treating me with that “child having tantrum” attitude that Apple takes whenever a customer disagrees with their diagnosis, and when I asked for a supervisor I was transferred to a “Senior Support Specialist” who was obviously reading from a script which did not include canned responses for a customer who has figured out that IOS 6 has caused his IPhone 4 to break. They even made me call ATT twice to have my account “reprovisioned.” The ATT rep both times told us that there was nothing wrong with the account and that it did not need to be reprovisioned, but they did it anyway, and it didn’t fix the problem. After several more frustrating experiences with Apple Support, I googled “iphone 4 ios 6” and found thousands of results with forum posts, magazine articles and blog posts reporting trouble with the IPhone 4 after upgrading to IOS 6. I did some more research and testing and found that, when the problem occurred on my phone, my CPU was maxed out. Apparently the IPhone 4 CPU is not fast enough to run IOS 6.
At this point I realized that Apple had not been acting in good faith. It appears to be well-known that IOS 6 does not work correctly on an IPhone 4, but Apple played stupid for months and jerked me around with diagnostic tests that they should have known were a waste of time. The call center reps I spoke with may have been unaware of the problem, but that was because Apple did not inform them about this well-known issue. This was mid-January, and I quickly found that knowing the root cause of the problem was not as helpful as I had expected. Apple continued to jerk me around for a month. Finally I went to the Apple store again and insisted that they do something to fix the problem. I talked to the manager and repeated at least 20 times “I just want the problem fixed. I just want my phone to work.” By now it was mid-February. The manager made some suggestions which I rejected; trying yet another IPhone 4 (but now they couldn’t give me one with IOS 5, they only had phones with IOS 6); purchasing an IPhone 5 (yes, they really did suggest this). After I complained that refusing to let me downgrade to a working OS and then suggesting that I fix the problem by spending hundreds of dollars on new hardware seemed like extortion, the manager offered to replace my IPhone 4 with an IPhone 4S which has a faster CPU, and I agreed to try that. I got the IPhone 4S yesterday and have been using it all day, and the problem appears to be fixed. I restored all of my apps and it still works fine.
I don’t want to seem ungrateful; I do appreciate Apple swapping out my IPhone 4 for a 4S, but overall I find their behavior bizarre and outrageous. I called them in October to report a well-known problem, and they played stupid for 3 months, then when I finally figured out what was causing the problem and told them, they still played dumb for another month, and then replaced my phone with a faster one, without ever admitting what had caused the problem.
The thing that really pisses me off is that, based on my last conversation with the Apple supervisor who was handling my case, I am 99% certain that Apple intends to continue encouraging IPhone 4 users to upgrade to IOS 6, and to treat customers who experience this problem the same way they treated me. They will continue to refuse to allow downgrades, leaving IPhone 4 users trapped with a broken phone, and they will continue to use the problem to force customers to purchase new hardware, while only greasing the loudest squeaking wheels. I will not be buying any more Apple products.
If you have an IPhone4 on IOS5, I recommend against upgrading. If you have already upgraded your IPhone4 to IOS6, please post your experience in the comments.