In our constantly connected world, losing a cellphone signal doesn’t just mean you can’t check Twitter and Instagram — it could be a matter of life and death. Regardless of what type of phone you use or which cellular service provider, you’re bound to run into service disruptions, bad weather or remote areas that can weaken your phone signal.
That’s not good if you need to get directions in the middle of nowhere or make a call from your dead-zone apartment, but there are several tips and tricks you can use to improve your cellphone signal.
The tried-and-true approach of turning on Airplane mode, waiting a few seconds, and then cycling it off can definitely help with reception. When that doesn’t work, however, you need to take more drastic steps, like removing your SIM card or resetting your network settings.
Before you dive into your phone’s settings, take a few minutes to perform some basic troubleshooting steps that could get your phone working at peak performance.
Note: Although software across different iPhone models is relatively the same, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel and other Android devices may have different software versions, and so certain settings and where they are located might differ from device to device.
To improve your cellphone service, try these steps first
The settings on your phone can help you get better cell service, but there are other tricks for improving your reception without even touching your phone’s software.
Move yourself so that there are no obstructions between your phone and any cell towers outside. That might involve stepping away from metal objects or concrete walls, which both kill reception. Instead, get to a window or go outside if possible.
Remove your phone case. It doesn’t hurt to remove whatever case you have on your phone, especially if it’s thick, so that the phone’s antenna isn’t blocked by anything and can get a better signal.
Make sure your phone is charged. Searching for and connecting to a stronger signal drains power, so if your phone battery is already low on charge, you may have a difficult time getting good service.
Always start by turning Airplane mode on and off
Turning your phone’s connection off and then back on is the quickest and easiest way to try and fix your signal woes. If you’re moving around from one location to another, toggling Airplane mode restarts the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular network modems, which forces them to find the best signal in the area.
Android: Swipe down from the top of your screen — to access the Quick Settings panel — and then tap the Airplane mode icon. Wait for your phone to completely disconnect from its Wi-Fi and cellular connections. It doesn’t happen instantly, so give it a good 15 seconds before you tap on the Airplane mode icon again.
iPhone: On the iPhone, you can access Airplane mode from the Control Center, but that varies depending on which iPhone model you have. On the iPhone X and later, swipe down from the top-right corner to access the Control Center. On older iPhone models, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Then tap the Airplane mode icon, which will turn orange when it’s enabled. Again, wait up to 15 seconds before turning it off.