All of us, at least occasionally, find ourselves in a place with little or no cell phone reception. You have a serious problem if that place happens to be your home or apartment, or your workspace.
This post offers some suggestions for how to boost your iPhone signal when you’re in a poor reception area, no matter which type of iPhone you have.
Why you have bad cell signal on your iPhone
There are two main causes for bad cell coverage. Either you are (a) too far from the signal source (the cell tower), and/or (b) there is something, or maybe many things, between you and the tower blocking the signal.
Depending on your location, your home/apartment/workspace may or may not be too far from your carrier’s nearest tower for good reception. But there are almost certainly signal blockers between the tower and your location, even if the tower is relatively nearby.
The most likely signal blockers are the very materials your home/apartment/office building is made of – concrete, steel, brick, masonry, drywall, low-emitting coated glass windows – even the electrical wiring in the walls!
All these things and many other materials block cell signals and cause, or at least contribute to, your reception problems. Other surprising things that block cell signal are lots of network traffic, which usually occurs in heavily populated areas and even weather, heavy vegetation and mountains.
If there are multi-story buildings near your home, apartment or workspace, they could be blocking your cell signal too.
How can I improve the signal for my iPhone?
Read on to learn some things you can do to boost your iphone signal.
1) Signal map your home/apartment/workspace
Signal mapping your place of living is the best way to find out if there’s one particular spot that provides better reception than anywhere else. To do this all you need is your iPhone, a pen and paper. To map your signal just follow these simple steps:
- Put your iPhone in field test mode so you can view the incoming signal strength in decibels, abbreviated as dBm. For instructions to put iOS devices into field test mode see our previous post Find the signal strength of your iPhone using field test mode. Or watch this video here to learn how to put your iPhone into test mode.
- Go into each room of your home or apartment, or each area of your workspace, and jot down the dBm reading on your iPhone. For larger rooms or areas, you may want to take signal readings in multiple spots.
- Each time you move across the room or into another room to check the signal, it may take your phone up to a minute to update the dBm reading for the new location. You may be able to force a faster signal update by putting your iPhone into Airplane Mode for a few seconds once you move to the new location. Then turn off Airplane Mode, and the updated dBm reading should display.
Once you’ve completed your signal map, you will know for certain which locations have the best and worst signal. If you find a “sweet spot” it may not always be convenient to dash there and answer an incoming call, but at least you know you can do so if necessary to get the strongest signal for your iPhone.
2) Give Wifi Calling a Try
All newer iPhones and all U.S. cell carriers allow native Wifi calling and texting. And of course there are a bunch of messaging apps available now that support audio and video calling. So if you have solid Wifi coverage in your home/apartment/workspace, it may be a perfectly good substitute for the cellular network. See our previous post: All you need to know about Wifi calling.
3) A Femtocell (microcell)
If you can convince your cell carrier that your coverage is unacceptable, they may provide you with a femtocell, sometimes called a microcell. These devices function almost like a tiny cell tower, creating a very localized cell signal in your living space or workspace.
But they also have some distinct disadvantages. For one, femtocells require a broadband Internet connection, and compete with any other network traffic including streaming video apps. So check them out before committing. To learn more about these devices watch our video about femtocells.
4) As a last resort, cautiously switch carriers
This works for some people, but be careful about switching your cell carrier in hopes of getting better coverage. The last thing you want to do is to exchange poor reception with one carrier for even worse reception from another.
Switching carriers can make sense if you, using Carrier X, always have poor reception in the office, but your coworker, using Carrier Y, always has good reception. Also be aware that switching will probably cost you some money, so be sure before you switch that your coverage will be better with the new carrier. Check out a previous post on what it costs to switch cell phone carriers to help you decide the right decision.
We’ve given you some ways to boost your iPhone’s cell signal so you don’t have to suffer with poor cell reception inside your living space or workspace. To be clear, not all these solutions will work in every poor-reception situation. But at least one of these should work for about 99 percent of iPhone users.
5) iPhone Cell Signal Booster
An iPhone signal booster works in virtually any situation where there is an existing cell signal to amplify, whether in your vehicle or home. The booster amplifies the cell signal so your iPhone can load faster and complete calls/texts. It will boost cell signal for any cell carrier that you have so you won’t have to switch. This technology works to boost cell signal with little effort, just install it and you’ll start experiencing faster data speeds, better call quality and more. Check out the different signal booster solutions for your home, office or vehicle down below.
Best iPhone Signal for Vehicles
Drive 4G-X Cell Signal Booster
- Boosts cell signal in a car or truck for multiple people at the same time
- Easy installation
- 50 dB Gain – faster uploads/downloads, fewer dropped calls
Best iPhone Signal Booster For Home
Connect 4G -X Cell Signal Booster
- Best for homes and offices up to 7,500 sq ft
- 70 dB Gain – fast network and data speeds
- Reduce dropped calls and improve call quality