Ditch The Bars And Actually Measure Your iPhone’s Signal Strength With This Tutorial

Frustrated by the bars? Does the typical confining five bar arrangement leave you with more questions than answers? When I measure signals, I use a hidden feature on the iPhone that gives you an exact measured numerical value to indicate signal strength, and I’m going to teach you how to get it yourself, and decipher what it means to you.

iphone signal bar number

First I’ll give you the details on how to get the numbers:

  1. Go to your phone app.
  2. Enter *3001#12345#* as if making a call. This will take you to a hidden application called “field test” with a variety of cool measurements. For our purposes though, we’re only coming to this area as a step.
  3. Press and hold the “hold/power” button on the top of your phone until the slide to turn off slider appears. DO NOT TURN OFF.
  4. Now quickly switch from the power switch to holding your home button. Don’t stop holding until you’re back at your usual app screen/springboard (the official name).
  5. All Set. Your bars should be replaced with a number (measured in decibels) which I will show you how to understand below. If you ever want to switch back to bars, all you have to do is tap the number, and it will switch back, and you can even switch back and forth whenever you’d like.

How To Read The numbers, and what they mean

The number represents your signal strength. It will always be negative, but the closer you are to 0, the better your signal. For example, a -40 is a very good signal, while a -110 is very slow. For a decent connection, you’ll want something -78 or better.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Leave a comment if you’ve got any great iPhone tips and tricks to share.

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Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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