Some iPhone XS, XS Max Owners Report Poor Signal Strength, Wi-Fi Issues

Iphone Xs Bad Signal Strength Credit: AP/Patrick Sison
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An undetermined number of iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max owners are reporting connectivity issues with their new handsets. Multiple reports detailing the issue have surfaced on the Apple Support Communities, Reddit and the MacRumors forum over the weekend, among other places. Those posts indicate problems with both LTE and Wi-Fi speed and connectivity. However, not all iPhone XS devices seem to be affected.

LTE Issue

Users impacted by the LTE issue are reporting fewer bars and generally poorer signal strength on the iPhone XS and XS Max when compared to older devices like the iPhone 8 or iPhone X.

The connectivity issues get worse in areas with poor signal strength, but actual region or location does not seem to be a factor. Some users also report getting more frequent dropped receptions in certain places where older iPhones worked fine.

The exact extent of the issue isn’t readily clear. But based on the number of reports, it could be fairly widespread.

There’s also the matter of whether it’s carrier-specific. While many impacted users report being on Verizon, there are also some AT&T and T-Mobile users reporting similar connectivity problems (while other AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers report better signal strength). All in all, it’s fairly confusing.

Some of those impacted are theorizing that it could be a modem issue. Specifically, the fact that all iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models sport Intel modems, while previous iPhones used a mix of Qualcomm and Intel modems.

Still, it’s a fairly frustrating issue for users. Especially since data tests have shown that the iPhone XS is supposed to get consistently faster speeds than previous models. iFixit even discovered a new antenna line in their teardown of the new devices.

Adding to those anecdotal user reports is an analysis carried out by wireless tech blog WiWavelength. The blog found that, in a lab environment, the iPhone XS and XS Max models had significantly weaker signal strength than last year’s iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

It’s worth noting that iDrop News’ Editor, Elijah Waeterling, was able to compare the signal strength of his iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XS Max on T-Mobile’s network. Both devices showed the same signal strength which leads to further confusion and helps demonstrate that not all users will be affected.

Because of the differing reports, it’s unclear whether it’s a hardware issue, carrier settings issues, or a simple bug in the software. We’ll have to wait for more information or confirmation from Apple to figure out what’s really going on.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

In addition to generally slower LTE speeds, other users are reporting problems with Wi-Fi connectivity on the new 2018 iPhones.

Essentially, this problem seems to be tied to new iPhone models preferring slower 2.4GHz networks over faster 5GHz networks. This becomes a problem when using a router that uses the same SSID for multiple networks.

On the other hand, there are other reports that indicate users are still seeing slower Wi-Fi speeds even when they’re connected to a 5GHz network. In other words, it’s just as confusing as the LTE problems.

The issue is likely tied to a software bug, which means that it should be readily fixable via software update.

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