How to Check Cellular Signal Strength on iPhone

Cellular signal strength is an important aspect that determines the speed and stability of data that your iPhone or iPad will access in a specific location. It’s essential to always check on it, especially when your device seems to be struggling with poor internet connection. However, most iPhone and iPad users don’t know how to check the signal strength of their devices. This article will guide you on how to check cellular signal strength, why it matters, and its implications on mobile use.

Video Tutorial:

What’s Needed

Before going into the different methods to check cellular signal strength on iPhone, you must have a functional device, updated software, and a stable data network to get the most accurate results. This method works for every iPhone model, including the newest iPhone 12 and iOS 14 software.

What Requires Your Focus?

The three aspects that require your focus when checking cellular signal strength include the signal bars, the signal strength numbers, and a carrier settings update. These elements show the quality of your device’s connection in a particular location. If the signal numbers or bars are low, you may want to switch carriers in your area or upgrade your device for better connectivity.

Different Methods to Check Cellular Signal Strength on iPhone

Here are the three methods you can use to check cellular Signal strength on your iPhone. Each is unique and can be used based on your preference, with detailed steps and pros and cons beneath each.

Method 1: Using the Field Test Mode

If you want to check your cellular signal strength on iPhone, you can use the Field Test mode.

Step 1: Open your iPhone’s dialer app and input "*3001#12345#*."

Step 2: Press the call button, and this will prompt the field test mode.

Step 3: The signal bars will be replaced with the number used to denote the signal strength in decibels (dBm).

Step 4: Move around or go to other areas to see if the numbers change. The higher the -dBm, the better the signal strength.


– Gives a more accurate reading of cellular signal strength.

– It’s a built-in feature that works on any iPhone model.

– Shows the signal strength in both numbers and bars.


– Can be confusing for average users who aren’t familiar with the decibel signal system.

– It alters some elements of your iPhone’s user interface.

Method 2: Using the iPhone Settings App

You can also use your iPhone’s settings app to check cellular signal strength.

Step 1: Open the settings app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Tap on "cellular," then select "cellular data options."

Step 3: Toggle on "enable LTE" and select "voice and data."

Step 4: Go back to the previous screen and tap on "cellular data network."

Step 5: Scroll down to "cellular data," and next to "APN," tap on "enter ‘internet.'"

Step 6: Scroll down to "carrier," and next to "numerical value," input "99."

Step 7: Press the home button to return to the main screen.

Step 7: hold down the home and power buttons until the screen goes black.

Step 8: Wait until the Apple logo appears and then press the sleep/wake button for three seconds.

Step 9: Check the top left corner of the screen. If you see "test," it means you’re in Field Test mode.

Step 10: Check the number on the top left corner for a more accurate reading of your cellular signal strength.


– Relatively easy and quick to activate.

– Gives a more accurate reading of cellular signal strength.


– The steps are relatively complex.

– Changes some elements of your iPhone’s user interface.

Method 3: Using a Third-Party App

If you’re not comfortable with the first two methods, the app store has numerous third-party applications that can help you check your iPhone’s signal strength. One such app is OpenSignal.

Step 1: Download the "OpenSignal" app from the app store.

Step 2: Open the application.

Step 3: Allow the application to use your location.

Step 4: The app will display the signal strength of your current location.

Step 5: You can also move around and see how the numbers change.


– Simplifies the process of checking your iPhone’s signal strength.

– Provides additional data on cell towers, networks, and overalls coverage maps.


– Uses your phone’s battery life extensively.

– May consume data without your permission.

Why Can’t I Check Cellular Signal Strength on iPhone?

Several reasons can make it difficult for you to check cellular signal strength on your iPhone. Some common reasons why you can’t check cellular signal strength on your iPhone include:

1. The Dialer Code Doesn’t Work: In rare cases, inputting "*3001#12345#*" does not activate Field Test mode.

Fix: Restart your device or check for any software updates.

2. Signal Bars are Unreliable: The signal bars on your iPhone may not always give you an accurate reading of the signal strength.

Fix: Use the Field Test mode for a more accurate reading.

3. Software Glitches: Glitches in the iOS software can sometimes make it difficult to check your iPhone’s signal strength.

Fix: Check for any software updates or restore your device to its factory settings.

Implications and Recommendations

Using the right method to check your iPhone’s cellular signal strength can have a significant impact on your mobile experience. It ensures that you don’t encounter slow internet, unstable connections, and poor cellular reception. It’s recommended that you check your cellular signal strength regularly to improve your device’s performance. Some tips for improving signal strength include:

1. Switching Carriers: Different carriers have various network capacities. Switching a carrier in your area can give you better coverage.

2. Keep Your Battery Charged: A low battery can interfere with your device’s signal.

3. Upgrade Your Device: Older iPhone models may not have the latest network capabilities. Upgrading to a newer model can provide better connectivity.

5 FAQs about Checking Cellular Signal Strength on iPhone

Q1: How Often Should You Check Your iPhone’s Signal Strength?

A: Check your signal strength anytime you experience slow internet speed or when making important calls.

Q2: How Can I Improve My iPhone’s Signal Strength?

A: You can improve your iPhone’s signal strength by switching carriers, upgrading your device, or simply moving to a different location.

Q3: Why is Cellular Network Speed Important?

A: Cellular network speed affects the quality of your internet connection, making it crucial for streaming, gaming, and browsing.

Q4: What Does Poor Signal Strength Look Like?

A: Poor signal strength is indicated by low signal numbers or bars. This may lead to slow internet, dropped calls, or an unstable connection.

Q5: Can Signal Strength Be Improved Without Buying a New Phone?

A: Yes, you can improve signal strength by moving to a different location, switching carriers, or simply restarting your device.

Final Words

Checking cellular signal strength is a vital aspect of ensuring a good mobile experience. We hope this article has provided you with insightful information on how to check your iPhone’s signal strength, the different methods, and why it’s crucial. Don’t hesitate to contact your carrier service provider if you continue to experience poor signal strength or unstable connections.

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