In 2005, an email titled “Five Things you Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do” went viral. It consisted of cellular tips and tricks that can be beneficial during an emergency. The “iPhone signal booster code” or "Android signal booster code" peaked many people's interest.
The email randomly makes its round in various versions and with different subject lines. With the power of social media, said tips, tricks, and codes have reached a larger audience.
If you’re reading this, you may have gotten an email or seen a TikTok saying you can boost your cell reception with a secret code. Well, we’re here to unveil the truth.
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The Email: Five Things you Never Knew your Cell Phone Could Do
Some of the tips in the email are wacky, others are misrepresented, and a few are partly true. It states...
During times of grave emergencies, your mobile device can be a lifesaver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things your phone can do:
112 is The Emergency Service Number Worldwide
If you find yourself out of your mobile network's coverage area during an emergency, you should dial 112. Dialing the number allows the phone to search for any existing network to connect your call with local emergency services.
Our Verdict: Partly true.
112 is the European emergency number. It’s also used by some non-EU countries. Dialing the number in those countries will connect you to emergency services, even outside your carrier's service area. However, the number is not magic. 911 works the same way in the United States. If dialing 112, some US cellular carriers may forward the call to 911. Though, that can cause delays. So, if you're in the US, you're better off just dialing 911.
Locked Keys in Car?
Those with remote keyless entry (RKE) can unlock their vehicle through a cell phone. If you lost or locked your keys inside your car, call someone that has access to the spare. Hold your phone about a foot from the car door and have the other person press the unlock button near their cell phone to successfully unlock the car.
Our Verdict: False.
That is simply not how cars with remote keyless entry systems work. RKE systems use radio signals to lock or unlock vehicles. Those radio signals can’t be effectively relayed through a phone call. To work, your key fob must be within range of your vehicle.
Hidden Battery Power / Boost Signal Strength
By pressing *3370# or #3370#, you’ll activate your phone’s “reserve battery power”. Battery life will increase by 50%. The reserve will automatically charge up the next time you change your device. Other claims state dialing the same sequence will boost cellular reception.
Our Verdict: False.
This is the most popular tip out of all, and the focus of this article. It has been heavily misinterpreted. More on it in the next section.
Disable a Stolen Phone
Dial *#06# to see your mobile phone’s serial number – a 15-digit code that is unique to your handset (also known as IMEI or MEID) – and write it down. If your device is ever lost or stolen, call your service provider to report the device and give them the IMEI number. They will block the phone and the thief will not be able to activate it with a different company's SIM card or sell it.
Our Verdict Partly true.
Dialing *#06# only works on some devices. Besides, YOU don’t need the IMEI handy to disable your stolen phone. All you must do is give your service provider your account information and tell them the phone was stolen. They’ll be able to help you make the device unusable.
Free Directory Service for Cells
Since not everybody has a telephone directory handy, people usually call 411 for information. Unfortunately, cell phone companies charge users for using the 411-information option. To avoid 411 information call charges, dial (800)-FREE411 or (800)373-3411.
Our Verdict: False.
FREE411 provides directory information at no charge. However, cellular providers might still charge for such calls.
Visit snopes.com to check out the complete email.
As mentioned, out of the 5 tips, the one that blew up the most was the secret *3370# or #3370# code. How exactly does it work and how was it misinterpreted?
What is *3370# and What Does it Do?
According to the email, the secret *3370# code is supposed to improve your phone's battery life. So, if you ever find yourself with very low battery and without a charger at hand, simply press the *3370# keys to activate the secret battery reserve.
After pressing the keys, the phone will restart and the instrument on your device will show a 50% increase in battery. What instrument are they talking about? No clue, I’m assuming they mean the battery logo.
The secret battery reserve will automatically charge the next time your device is charged.
The original intent of this tip was to inform people on how to improve their phone’s battery life. But, with so many people sharing the information, it evolved into a secret code that boosts cell phone signal strength.
Does the *3370# Code Improve Battery Life?
No, pressing the *3370# keys on your Apple or Android device does not improve cell phone battery life.
The hidden battery claim originated from Nokia phones. Some Nokia phones had the ability to switch to a different mode after the user punched in a “secret code”. One mode enhanced voice transmission, while the other enhanced battery performance.
Pressing *3370# activated the Enhanced Full Rate Codec (EFR). EFR mode improved sound quality at the expense of shorter battery life, which is the exact opposite of the claim.
If the goal is to improve battery life, then you would want to enable Half Rate Codec by pressing the *#4720# keys. This mode provides about 30% more talk time on a battery charge at the expense of lower sound quality.
These codes only work on specific Nokia phones. They do not work on iPhones, Samsungs, Google Pixels, LGs, or any other iOS and Android devices. If such code did work on all devices, why would cell phone companies keep such functionality a secret?
Does the *3370# Code Boost Cell Signal?
No, pressing the *3370# keys on your iPhone or Android device does not improve your cell phone signal.
As mentioned, the code *3370# activates Enhanced Full Rate Codec on specific devices. Since users would experience better voice quality after entering the code, many assumed it was due to better signal. But, the code doesn’t do anything to mitigate dropped incoming or outgoing calls, unsent SMS messages, or spotty signal in areas with poor service.
Truth be told, there are far more reliable ways to improve your cell phone signal.
Reliable Ways to Improve Your Cell Phone Signal
Boosters are designed to capture your existing signal (even if it’s just a sliver), amplify it, and broadcast it into your home, office, or vehicle. Receiving a reliable signal consistently helps your phone’s battery last much longer.
Cell signal boosters are not the only things that can improve your cell phone signal, but they are the best long-term solution. You could also try:
- Eliminate Obstructions: Anything sitting between your phone and a cell phone tower negatively affects your signal. Try moving to an area with the least amount of signal blocking obstacles to improve your cell reception. To find the best spot, set the phone to Field Test Mode. This will show you your phone's signal strength in dBm measurements. dBm measurements range from -50 to -100, the closer you are to -50 the better the connection is between your phone and the closest tower.
- Toggle Airplane Mode: This will reset your signal and hopefully improve it.
- Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth: These tools use a lot of energy, which your phone might need to look for and maintain a reliable signal.
- Don't Block Your Phone's Antenna: Heavy duty cases, orientation, and your hand can negatively interfere with the signal. Most smartphones work best when held with one hand (or hands-free) and in an upright position - not sideways or upside-down.
Contact Us to Boost Your Cell Signal
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