Discovery Hub

5 Ways to Improve Your Cell Phone Signal


February 08, 2019

There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with weak signals, dropped calls, and terrible voice quality. We all deal with bad cell phone reception sometimes – whether it’s poor reception at your home or office, or constant issues when you’re out and about, you may be wondering how to boost your cell signal. These five tips can help improve your cell phone signal, so you can go about your day without having to worry about dropping a call.

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1. Move

If your phone is showing a weak signal (indicated by the five vertical bars at the top of your phone screen), try getting closer to a window, going upstairs or outside, or heading to higher ground. Once you’ve found a spot with a good cell signal, stay still. It’s a simple but effective tip.

Cell phone signals are easily blocked by things such as walls, trees, buildings, and bad weather, and you can improve your reception just by moving closer to the signal or away from whatever is blocking its path. Interference also causes poor cell phone reception, especially from electronics and metal objects that send their own signal. Moving away from these items can help give you the signal boost you need.

2. Charge your battery

Have you ever noticed that your battery drains faster when you have a poor cell phone signal? Connecting to the cell tower uses battery, and if the connection is constantly dropping due to a poor signal, it uses even more battery power. A charged phone can connect to the signal more consistently, resulting in better reception. If you are traveling, make sure to carry a portable battery charger to keep your phone working properly.

3. Boost your signal

If your home or office is too far from the nearest cell tower or is blocked by a lot of physical objects that you can’t move (such as buildings and mountains), install a network booster, also called a cell phone signal booster.

There are two types of network boosters. The first type uses an antenna on your roof to increase reception, then funnels the signal to a device in your home or office. The second type is connected to your router and uses the Internet to send incoming calls and text messages through to you. Generally, these devices need to be network specific, so contact your service provider for your best options. Keep in mind, boosters can be quite expensive and if you have no service at all in your home, they won’t work if there is nothing to boost.

4. Switch your voice and data

In some areas, your 3G signal will be stronger than the LTE and 4G network. You can force your phone to switch to the stronger signal when you need to make an important call by going to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Option > Voice & Data and switching off Enable LTE or switching to Data Only. Forcing your phone to the 3G network for voice calls will result in a more reliable connection — just be sure to switch back when you want to use your LTE data connection.

5. Use WiFi calling

WiFi calling uses WiFi networks to carry your phone calls and texts instead of cell phone towers. One way to take advantage of this is by downloading an app such as Skype or WhatsApp, or by using an iPhone’s built-in FaceTime application or Google’s Duo on Android. Skype and WhatsApp allow you to make phone calls and send messages over the Internet when your cell service is poor. However, the downside is that you can’t make or receive phone calls or texts through your regular phone number while using these apps, so they are more of a backup than a substitute.

A second option is to activate the WiFi calling that is built into your phone. This lets you use your regular phone number to make calls and send text messages, but your phone uses the Internet when the cell signal isn’t strong enough. It switches back and forth automatically, so you don’t need to do anything other than turn the feature on.

WiFi calling is not available on all phones. If your phone has this service, you can turn it on by going to Settings > Phone > WiFi Calling on an iPhone and following the steps, or Settings > Wireless and Networks > More > WiFi Calling on an Android phone.

A weak cell phone signal can be frustrating to deal with on a daily basis. Use these simple tips to help improve your cell phone signal, so you can be sure you have a reliable connection for all your important calls and texts.

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