Is There an App to Check Mobile Signal Strength?
Knowing how strong or weak your signal is will help you understand why you have trouble staying connected. It’s also the first step in installing a signal booster.
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Luckily, there are lots of cell signal analyzer apps that can easily and quickly identify your cellular signal strength.
Before we get into our top app recommendations, a little lesson.
Don’t Trust Your Signal Bars
Bars are subjective.
Despite having the EXACT same signal and performing at the EXACT same speeds, four bars on a Verizon might be three on AT&T or two on T-Mobile. There’s no standard.
Carriers and phone manufacturers decide what 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 bars represent for their service or device.
So, How Can I Get Accurate Signal Readings?
Decibels (dB) are the best way to measure your cell phone signal strength. They’re a logarithmic signal unit used to calculate signal loss or gain. Decibels with respect to one milliwatt, known as dBm, accurately define signal strength.
Cell signal strength ranges from -50 dBm to -120 dBm for all cellular devices. Typically:
- -50 to -79 dBm = great signal (4 to 5 bars).
- -80 to -89 dBm = good signal (3 to 4 bars).
- -90 to -99 dBm = average signal (2 to 3 bars).
- -100 to -109 dBm = poor signal (1 to 2 bars).
- -110 to -120 dBm = very poor signal or a dead zone (0 to 1 bar).
dBm readings are not subjective. They don’t fluctuate based on carriers or manufacturers. The closer you are to -50 dBm, the better your signal. For those closer to -120 dBm, a signal booster or repeater will help improve your service.
How to Check Cell Signal Strength?
There are two ways:
- Field Test Mode
- Cell Signal Strength Apps
Android users can use either method. However, things are a little bit more complicated for Apple users.
The Apple App Store doesn’t offer apps designed to show live dBm readings. Though, there are backup application options, which we will explain soon.
Field test mode is the only method that allows most iPhone users to check their dBm. Keyword being most. Every iPhone can access field test mode, BUT not every iPhone displays dBm readings. It all depends on your device’s carrier and chipset. It’s still worth trying though.
For step-by-step Android and Apple field test mode instructions, visit How to Read Cell Phone Signal Strength the Right Way.
If field test mode doesn’t work for you, keep reading for app recommendations.
Recommended Cell Phone Signal Strength Apps for Androids
The Google Play Store is flooded with signal strength apps. Here are our free favorites:
The weBoost mobile app by Wilson Electronics was launched in May 2022. It’s user-friendly and requires little data. The developers made it a point to make this app downloadable and usable even with very weak signal. This app is intended to help users install cell boosters, find towers, and measure signal.
To check your signal strength, go to the “Signal” tab and tap scan. You’ll have your dBm results in seconds. The colorful signal meter visually shows you how strong or weak your signal is. To learn more about this app, click here.
Network Cell Info Lite (4.4★)
Network Cell Info Lite is our most recommended app. It features extensive measurement and diagnostics tools for cellular and WiFi networks. The most important is a color-coded gauge that makes reading and understanding your signal strength easy. It provides almost real-time results.
In addition, unlike most signal strength apps, this one also provides RSSNR (Reference Signal Signal to Noise Ratio) info.
Signal Strength (4.4★)
Signal Strength is a basic cellular and WiFi signal strength app. It offers very minimal information about your mobile connectivity. Users seem to really like the simplicity and clean layout.
On the main screen, the app rates your signal from good to low and displays your signal strength in ASU. It’s the rate at which your device can update its location by connecting to the nearest tower. View your results in dBm by tapping the three lines on the top left and selecting network info.
LTE Discovery (4.2★)
LTE Discovery doesn’t have the nicest layout, but it’s a powerful tool that offers tons of information. Data is based on available LTE, 4G, and 5G networks.
When you open the app, all the data you need is front and center. Your signal strength is automatically calculated and displayed on the top right. The app also identifies frequency bands, the direction of your cell tower, and more.
Network Signal info (4.1★)
Network Signal Info is an easy-to-use app that provides detailed and accurate data. Like many of the other apps, this one also shows the strength of your signal in gauge form. Below the gauge, you’ll see more information about your network. If you tap the cell location tab, you can easily find your nearest cell towers.
The PRO version uses a better online tower database and features a signal tracker log.
Recommended Cell Phone Signal Strength Apps for iPhone
As mentioned earlier, there aren’t dBm measuring apps available in the App Store. Aside from field test mode, there is no accurate way to obtain signal strength on iPhones.
The next best thing is speed test apps. Results are much more reliable than bars but not as great as dBm. Here are our favorites:
The weBoost mobile app isn’t a speed test app, but it’s worth mentioning. Designed by Wilson Electronics, it helps users install cell boosters, find towers, and test signal strength. While it doesn’t calculate dBm on iPhones, it will guide you through the field test mode process. To learn more about this app, click here.
OpenSignal is a highly trusted speed test tool. It allows you to test download, upload, and latency for 4G LTE, 5G, and WiFi. You can also access cell coverage heat maps to identify how good any carrier's coverage is in your area. Data is crowdsourced to provide the most accurate results.
Speed Test by Ookla (4.1★)
Speed Test by Ookla is amongst the most popular network speed analyzer apps. With the tap of a button, you’ll get your mobile data’s download and upload speeds within seconds. Thanks to their massive global server network, they can provide you with the best results.
Pro Tip for iPhone Users:
If you want to find your exact dBm readings, buy yourself a cheap Android phone or borrow one from a friend. Download one of the recommended Android apps to check cell signal and test away.
Now That I Know How to Find My Signal Strength, What’s Next?
The next step is to test your cell signal. Open the application of your choice and walk around your house to find the places that get the best or worst signal.
Most of the recommended signal strength apps for Android automatically detect signal changes. As you move around, your dBm will continuously update. It may take a few seconds, so walk slowly. The exception is the weBoost app. This app requires manual signal scans. You’ll have to tap scan in all the areas you want to test your signal.
iPhone users, we suggest running multiple speed tests in different rooms. Having a sample of tests for each room will help paint a better signal strength picture. Download speed is the most important value. It’s what identifies your data speeds. The higher it is, the stronger your signal.
If you test the entire perimeter of your home, you can generally tell the location of your cell tower. Your dBm reading will dip towards -50 dBm, or your speed test will yield the fastest results. How’s that for two birds with one stone?
How to Improve My Signal Strength? Is There a Signal Booster App?
While there are many apps that claim to boost cell reception, they don’t amplify your signal. They are simply performance boosters. With your permission, they can refresh your network, free up storage, manage background apps, and more. As a result, your device may receive a better connection and operate faster.
The best way to get your signal as close to -50 dBm as possible is with a cell phone signal booster. They take your weak outside signal, amplify it, and rebroadcast it inside homes, vehicles, or offices. Dropped calls, unsent texts, and slow data will be a thing of the past.
If you’re ready to end your poor signal woes, our complete guide on cellular signal boosters is a great place to start. Email us ([email protected]), call us (1-800-568-2723), or chat with us if you have any questions. We’re happy to help.
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