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Nathan
Nathan, Hardware Engineer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 9494
Experience:  Own/operate IT/networking company.
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I bought an iPhone 5 in November 2012. Starting about 2 months

Resolved Question:

I bought an iPhone 5 in November 2012. Starting about 2 months ago the phone will not connect to wireless at home or in my office unless I'm standing almost next to the access point. I also have an iPad (2nd g) that sees/reconnects to the home and office wireless networks without problem. I also noticed that my iPhone 5 will not always pick up the cell phone company service when others around me have no problems -- for example, driving with my husband his Samsung flip phone will connect to Verizon with all bars, my iPhone might have two bars; last week I ate lunch with a friend who was showing me iOS7 on her iPhone 5 and she was connected to 4G (LTE) but my phone connected with 3G. Is the antenna on my phone failing all of a sudden? Can I get the device replaced before the 12 month warranty period expires? FYI, I live in zip code area 28723 and the nearest Apple retail store is 2 hours away (Knoxville TN).
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Nathan replied 10 months ago.

Nathan :

Hello, and welcome. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’ll be assisting you today.


 


First a brief overview of the process: This is a live chat format, so I’ll need to communicate back and forth with you. You’ve already paid a deposit or membership to post your question here. I am an independent tech, and am volunteering my time unpaid until our chat is concluded. At that time I’ll request you click the EXCELLENT smiley face to close out our chat. It is my intention to solve your problem with a quick, honest, and helpful answer and my goal is for a rating of Excellent Service. You may receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel I’ve earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.


 


Should you feel the need to provide a negative rating of Bad or Poor Service, please wait and let me know what I can do to clarify or more thoroughly answer your question instead. You are rating me personally, not this site or your product and negative rating will not initiate a refund. Please know that not all issues can be fixed online; in those cases of a hardware failure, I’ll troubleshoot and diagnose the problem, and provide a practical recommendation for how to proceed.


 


My livelihood depends on your positive feedback, so your satisfaction is my highest priority. Let’s get started!


_________________________


Nathan :

Hi there, sorry to hear you're having problems with wifi,

Nathan :

from what you've described, this is most likely an internal hardware failure,

Nathan :

specifically it could be a bad antenna, but is more likely to be a faulty wifi (and cellular) radio transciever,

Nathan :

Really the only thing you can check here is that you don't have any kind of a case on the phone with metal or foil type components that could be deflecting or obstructing the signal.

Nathan :

Beyond that, it would indeed require repairs, typically though they'll just swap out the phone for you.

Nathan :

However, to get that done under the apple 1 year warranty, you'll need to take it in to an actual apple store.

Nathan :

Though they often won't be much help, it wouldn't hurt to try taking it in to a local verizon store as well, and see if they will swap it out for you.

Nathan :

They should be allowed to do this for you, but it really depends on the attitude of the store manager whether they will help or not.

Nathan :

There are some other possible options for getting apple service without making the trip, but it usually involves shipping your phone to them for inspection before they would replace it, which would of course leave you without a phone for days or weeks, so that isn't practical for most people.

Customer :

I have an Incipio case that is plastic/silicon, no metal/foil. Does Apple not have a phone support I can call to discuss the problem/swap? I thought about trying the Verizon (company owned) store where I bought the phone. If they agree to make the swap would they then send it to Apple for a credit of some sort?

Nathan :

Another option you could try, if you were interested in upgrading, would be to go to verizion and see about getting the new iphone model from them on your existing contract, then sell of the current iphone (gazelle.com or similar service) to recoup some of the cost.

Nathan :

Yes, if you took it to verizon, they would likely change it out for you. You may even have some kind of monthly protection plan (usually around $5/month) on your existing verizon plan, that would cover such problems, in which case they would support it for you.

Nathan :

There is a hardware troubleshooting support wizard you can do online through apple, to get warranty options authorized, at https://selfsolve.apple.com/agreementWarrantyDynamic.do

Nathan :

You enter all of your phone info, symptoms, etc and then assuming you have warranty coverage, the site will link you in to a new page with your support options (closest store, number you can call, shipping address to exchange, etc)

Nathan :

Apple may offer an advance exchange as well, where they'd ship you a new phone first (you'd have to pay for it up front),

Customer :

Shipping it off and not having a phone wouldn't work; would rather drive the 2-3 hours to see if the Apple Store would swap it. I have over a year left on my current contract and didn't consider upgrading and then selling the old phone. I opted to not have the optional protection plan -- have always had great luck/service with my Apple devices. Does gazelle.com specialize in mobile device resell?

Nathan :

then you'd ship in the current one, and they'd refund what you had paid for the new one once the old is confirmed to be faulty.

Nathan :

Yes, they do, gazelle.com is a huge reseller of smartphones,

Nathan :

There are other similar services through amazon, ebay, usell

Customer :

I will definitely go to the apple troubleshooting site; never saw that come up in the Apple forums or Google searches I've done around my problem. We do Apple support for campus owned computers and they do the advance ship w/ charge pending a refund when the defective part/sys is shipped back. That may be a good option to try if Verizon doesn't help me.

Customer :

So, you think what I'm dealing with is a legit hardware component failure; you've seen similar problems reported? How about the successful resolution of the options you've put out there -- Verizon, in store exchange with Apple, online exchange with Apple.

Nathan :

It is kind of hidden,

Nathan :

and if you get to the point that you want to try calling, they'll likely charge you, as they only offer phone support for the first 90 days of a product.

Nathan :

I have seen similar issues, and as long as you're within the 1 year, you should have no problems getting it replaced.

Nathan :

They'll still make you wait around while they try to take it apart, poke around, and do some troubleshooting, but from there as long as they see the same symptoms they'll come to the realization of a hardware failure and change it out.

Nathan :

Since you'd be making a drive, if you go in to the apple store, be sure to call the store and set an appointment though, so you don't have to wait in line for hours when you get there.

Customer :

I think I'll try the online troubleshooter first; Verizon store second; Apple store third; back to Verizon possibly for a new phone/upgrade if I'm not able to get the current phone replaced. I usually synch my iPhone via iTunes on my laptop. Should I synch it to iCloud before swapping it out?

Nathan :

If you can get the wifi connection to cooperate, I would do an icloud sync just as a backup, in case everything isn't backed up fully to the computer.

Nathan :

That also gives you flexibility to restore the new phone either way.

Customer :

I can usually connect & stay connected to the WAP as long as I stay physically close. May have to up my storage above the free 5GB. Any other thoughts/suggestions/recommendations on how to resolve this?

Nathan :

I think we've covered all of the bases here, and you have a pretty good plan of attack in how you've prioritized your options.

Nathan :

Just be sure to have everything backed up before going in, and you should be all set.

Customer :

Okay. You've provided me info I haven't come across via my own research and you have given me a more specific cause (faulty wifi radio transceiver) to use in troubleshooting/communicating about the problem with Apple and Verizon. Hope they will send me a new device!! Thanks for your help. Will a transcript of our session get email to me?

Nathan :

You're very welcome, I hope they'll be expedient in helping you as well.

Nathan :

I don't believe you get an email transcript,

Nathan :

but after you "rate" me, our live chat will convert over to a standard web page, which you can then view/save/print, etc

Nathan :

Note that the antenna is still a possible culprit too, but I suspect the radio because if the antenna was bad, I'd expect it to be loose/disconnected internally, and not work at all.

Nathan :

The radio has likely overheated, causing the radio power to be reduced, and thus reduced its range.

Customer :

Can overheating be caused by the protective cases used with the phone? Or would that come from the faulty component not functioning within its normal/correct range?

Nathan :

More likely it's an issue with the battery overheating, the case shouldn't cause it. There aren't vents or anything on the back that would be obstructed, and nearly everyone uses a case of some type without trouble.

Customer :

Okay. Thanks again for your help, wish me luck! I guess the next step is for me to rate you (excellent!) and that will close the session, correct?

Nathan :

You're very welcome.

Nathan :

And yes, please do, that ensures I receive credit for my time, and will close out our live chat.

Nathan :

You can still send me follow up messages if needed after though.

Customer :

Will I get a link to use to contact you for followup when I close the session?

Nathan :

You'll just come back to this same web page

Nathan :

You can bookmark/favorite the page, or you can return to justanswer.com and then click on MyQuestions and you'll see a link there as well.

Nathan :

I also invite you to contact me directly with any future support needs at http://www.justanswer.com/electronics/expert-p0llinate/


 


 

Customer :

Okay! Goodbye.

Nathan :

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX a good day,



Nathan


Nathan, Hardware Engineer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 9494
Experience: Own/operate IT/networking company.
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