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Tuesday 28 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C

There's a way to get a more accurate read of your phone's reception

You can get the exact decibel signal strength of your phone’s reception if you know how.

FOR MOST PHONES, you have the traditional four or five bars or dots telling you how strong your signal is.

For the most part, this is pretty sufficient but what you might not know is you can get a more accurate reading.

If you own an iPhone, you need to activate Field Test mode. This is used as a way to take multiple signal readings around an area or building to see which parts are weak and strong.

If you’re on iPhone, you can activate it by going into Phone and dialling *3001#12345#*.

If you’ve done this correctly, you will go into Field Test mode and your reception strength will change from bars to a minus number. You can look around the menu if you want to but unless you’re familiar with radio frequency terminology, it’s best to ignore it.

Phone number

If you’re on an Android device, it’s more straightforward. Go into Settings > About Phone > SIM Status and you will see the phone signal there.


The negative number is the decibel signal strength reading and the closer it is to zero, the stronger your reception. So for example, if it says -130, then you’re in a place with a weak signal.

If you want to switch back, just tap on the figure and it will revert back to the normal bar chart. You may have to enter in the number again if you want to get a more accurate reading, but at least you have the option.

Read: Pokémon Go is so popular, even hackers are claiming they’ve taken it down >

Read: Kids may start learning how to code in primary school >

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