Blog - BS Data, hackery, stories

iPhone 4S wifi greyed-out - How Apple tried to trick me into buying a new phone

A week ago, my iPhone let me down. I spent a week trying to figure something out to fix it, but what I discovered is that Apple is deliberately lying to you to trick you into buying a new device.

Last week, when I arrived at work, I connected my laptop and my phone to the Wifi network in order to do a couple of updates before starting my day. I noticed an impressive sluggishness of the iPhone to download the apps' newest versions.
Before long, I saw the strangest thing in my interface: the Wifi icon was greyed out.

I went to Settings, my device did not have a MAC address anymore. "Oh snap, that doesn't sound good."

After some googling around, I took the issue to Reddit's /r/iPhone community to confirm whether or not this was an isolated problem. Nope, the issue appeared to be identified and recurrent for iPhone 4S running iOS 7. At this point, one can start thinking that if Apple knows the issue, something will be done about it.

I booked an appointment at Apple's Regent Street Store with an Apple Genius. Here, a very nice guy who talked about 200 words per minute explained to me that my phone was out of Apple's 1-year warranty, and that I would have to pay £159 to get it replaced. Diagnosis was done in minutes, after he identified the problem within seconds. The verdict came after my phone was taken for testing in the back of the store. "Yes, it is indeed a hardware problem related to the Wifi chip," he said me.

The story is cut here, I don't want to spend too much time explaining a development that doesn't add anything to the story itself. But long story short, I applied for an European consumer warranty that was refused to me for legal reasons.

Anyway, I came back to the Apple Store to see if, with a bit of pressure, something will be done. I talked to Geniuses and Managers there. All the people I talked to sadly agreed that the responsibility for this problem was Apple's, but that the company couldn't do anything for me, for my warranty was expired.

So here I am, my phone has been restored, I don't have Wifi anymore and cannot download apps or music without wasting my data plan. Oh, and the Bluetooth stopped working too, yay! I can throw away my Pebble.

Or pay those £159.

Then an idea popped in my head.
A Reddit user suggested me to use a blow-dryer to overheat the device to fix the problem. I thought, and other users thought, that it was nonsense. He was down-voted and deleted his post since. So I googled his solution and, oh miracle, many people were referring to this solution as a way of fixing my problem. Unbelievable.

The fix seems awfully risky: use a blow-dryer to heat the top of the iPhone, near the jack connector, until a warning is displayed. Then, turn the phone off and let it cool. Wow.
Over-heating the chip would force the Wifi chip to reset itself and to be recognised by the system. This is basically a software problem, not a hardware issue. The contrary that what Apple told me.

Videos I saw were demonstrating the efficiency of that fix and confirming that, with every update of iOS, the Wifi would have the same problem and the same trick would have to be repeated.

So, you know what, I did it. and it worked perfectly. My Wifi is back, my Bluetooth is back.
The solution being posted all over the internet and on Apple official forums, I cannot believe that they are not aware of this issue. Instead of advising this fix or to wait for a software update, I have been told that it was a hardware issue when it was a software problem (software created by Apple), and that my phone should be replaced.

I won't be able to assert that this is being done consciously by Apple employees, and they must be given the benefit of the doubt. But this is truly a scandal.