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Users report issues with iPhone 4 proximity sensor during calls

Some early adopters of the iPhone 4 say they have experienced poor performance from the handset's proximity sensor, which turns off the touchscreen when the device is held against one's ear during a call.

A support thread at the Apple Discussions forum had quickly swelled to 16 pages and more than 230 posts through Monday afternoon, with users last week beginning to register complaints that the proximity sensor on their iPhone 4 is not working properly. Users said they have accidentally hung up a call, placed someone on hold, enabled speakerphone, or attempted to engage a FaceTime connection while placing a call.

"I can confirm that the iPhone sensor is working by covering it with my finger, but when held to my face, the screen blinks as if it cannot decide to disable the screen or enable it," user mdalegre wrote. "It results on me hanging up, putting calls on mute, and dialing numbers accidentally while I'm on the phone. This occurs on 90% of my calls."

Multiple users have responded, stating that they have owned previous generation iPhones and never had a problem with the proximity sensor. However, the issues seem to occur for some with the new iPhone 4 handset, released last week.

"My wife and I both have the same exact problem with out phones," user farfromovin wrote. "I was on an hour phone call this evening and my phone muted me 5 times, put me on hold and tried calling my work and then put me on hold and tried to send a text message to my work. This is very (disappointing)."

Another user, sysrage, said they spoke with Apple support which was unable to provide any solutions for the problem. And mzini wrote that they took a trip to an Apple Store and a Genius was able to replicate the problem. That employee reportedly said the matter was "probably a software issue."

Some said they exchanged their phone at an Apple store for a new one, but continue to have problems with the proximity sensor.

Many said they tried resetting the settings on their handset or restoring the software completely, but the issue remains. Some said they would resort to using a Bluetooth wireless headset until the problem is resolved.

With the iPhone 4 selling more than 1.7 million units in its first three days of availability, Apple's latest handset has received a great deal of press for its success, as well as its alleged issues. The largest issue thus far has caused some to experience dropped calls when holding the iPhone 4 in their left hand.

Apple publicly responded to the issue and stated that "gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas." The company has said that buying a $29 protective bumper, which covers the outside metal bands and antennas of the smartphone, will resolve the reception issue.

Others had launch devices with screen yellowing in the lower corners of their iPhone 4's Retina Display. One user on the AppleInsider forums alleged that the material used to bond the layers of glass in the iPhone has not yet completely evaporated, but the screen discoloration should disappear for most in a matter of days.