Best Smartphone Apps to Find Your Mobile Signal Strength
8th Oct 2018 /
by Wilson Amplifiers / Comments

Best Smartphone Apps to Find Your Mobile Signal Strength

Are there apps to boost my cellular reception?


We've already covered finding your nearest cell phone tower. Now you want to know: Are there any cell phone apps that can boost my signal strength?

Sadly, the answer is no.

However, there are legitimate smartphone apps that can tell you exactly how poor your signal is and even the nearest cell tower locations.

First, a little lesson.


The Truth About Cell Phone Bars


They're subjective across all carriers and networks.

One bar on T-Mobile might be three bars on Verizon, which might be two bars on Sprint, which might be full bars on AT&T - despite having the EXACT same signal and performing at the EXACT same speeds. Whether you are 3G or 4G LTE makes no difference, either.

There's no standard. Each carrier or phone manufacturer can determine what one, two, three, or full bars represent for their service or device. So who's telling the truth? Or - here's a better question for you - do you trust them?

Fortunately, there's a better way to measure your cell phone signal and that's by looking at decibel gain.

Cell phone signals are measured in dB (decibels). They're AM/FM radio waves, the kind that are great at traveling long distances but are easily interrupted and lead to spotty service. That's when a cell phone signal booster comes in handy.

All cellular devices operate within this standard:-50 dB to -120 dB frequency.

-50 dB is considered full strength (full bars). -120 dB is considered a dead zone (no service).

dB readings are not subjective. All cell phone signals in the US and Canada need to operate within this range to work. The closer you are to -50 dB, the better your signal. The closer to -120 dB, the worse your signal. Many smartphones have the ability to display dB readings.


Recommended Cell Phone Apps to Find Signal Strength for iPhone:




Unfortunately, recent models of iPhone have removed the ability to read dB levels. Therefore, there is no perfectly accurate way to read your dB level. The best app we have found for this purpose is the SpeedTest app by Ookla (picture). However, this only measures data rates and may not represent the best results.


How to Find an Accurate dB Reading on your iPhone:


Starting with iOS 11 and 12, Apple has hidden dBm readings in iPhone field test mode. However, depending on your iPhone chipset (Intel or Qualcomm) and your carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint), there’s a slim chance to find your dBm readings through this workaround.

Here’s how:

AT&T or T-Mobile iPhone with Intel chipset (iOS 11 & 12)

  • Dial *3001#12345#*
  • Tap LTE.
  • Tap Serving Cell Meas.
  • Your dBm is read as rsrp0.

Verizon or Sprint iPhone with Qualcomm chipset (iOS 11 & 12)

  • Dial *3001#12345#*
  • Tap 1xEV-DO.
  • Your dBm is read as RX AGC0.

For any iPhone pre-iOS 11

  • Dial *3001#12345#*
  • Swipe down notifications bar.
  • Your dBm is in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

If you’re unable to find any of these options during your field test mode process, you most likely have an incompatible carrier and chipset. The next best method is performing a speed test around areas inside and outside your home. But once we crack the code on dBm readings on your iPhone, we’ll update as soon as possible.


Recommended Cell Phone Apps to Find Signal Strength for Android:


There are several excellent apps available to measure your cell phone's signal strength for Android. The two we recommend most highly are LTE Discovery and Network Cell Info Lite. These apps are used even by professional cell phone signal booster installers, all of whom we've talked to swear by them.


How to Find an Accurate dB Reading on your Android:

Field test mode on Android varies by phone model and Android OS version. However, it is generally found under the Settings menu.

Typical sequence:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap About Phone
  • Tap Status or Network
  • Tap SIM Status
  • Your dBm is under Signal strength

Once you have your dBm reading through field test mode or app, walk around inside and outside the perimeter of your home. Make note which areas get the best dBm reading. This shows you the general direction of your cell tower and which rooms inside your home have the best reception.


Now you understand how to read and find dB values on your phone. Walk around the house and find that place to get better signal.

Once you have a dB reading, then you know just how good, average, or bad your signal strength is. -50 dB to - 79 dB is very good signal. -80 dB to - 99 dB is an average signal. -100 dB to -120 dB is below average or poor signal.

And if you walk around the perimeter of your house, you can generally tell the location of your cell tower because your dB reading will dip towards -50 dB. How's that for two birds and one stone?

For more reading, check out our guide on finding cell towers and for people suffering from poor signal, our ultimate guide on cell phone signal boosters is a great place to start.


How May We Help You?


Wilson Amplifiers is the leading provider of cell phone signal boosters. Cell phone boosters amplify 3G & 4G LTE for any phone with any carrier for home, office, or vehicle.

We seriously hate dropped calls and poor coverage, so it's our goal in life to stomp on spotty signal like the little roaches they are:

  • Free consultation (ask us anything) with our US-based customer support (sales@wilsonamplifiers.com) or call us at 1-800-568-2723.
  • Free shipping.
  • Better signal or industry-leading 90 money-back guaranteed. No questions asked.
  • We want everyone to be satisfied, so we provide lifetime technical support and a 2-year warranty for all products.

Ask us anything and we'll be glad to help.

Get better signal contact our experts 24/7:

1-800-568-2723

Questions or Comments? Contact Us.