How to Boost Your iPhone Reception in Fringe Areas


If you’re only getting 1 or 2 bars of signal strength in outlying areas, then here’s an easy way to eek out 1 or 2 more bars in many cases.

Let's Begin:

If you’re in a fringe area with weak cell phone service, you’ll probably find that surfing the web on your iPhone is especially slow and frequently frustrating as the signal comes and goes. When the closest cell tower is too far away, the iPhone just can’t establish a consistent and reliable data connection so only a trickle of data gets through, if any at all. Turns out there’s a trivially easy way to get a little better signal which might just be enough to accomplish the task you want to do:

The key is how you hold the iPhone. The obvious way to hold the iPhone of course is to cradle it in one hand which works great if there’s a strong cell phone signal.

photo showing how an iPhone is normally held by cradling it in your hand

But when you’re somewhere where there isn’t a good signal, your hand can actually block or impede what little signal there is. The reason for this is that the antenna is located in the back of the phone. On the original iPhone the antenna is inside the black plastic at the bottom on the back. When the iPhone 3G was introduced, they changed the back of the iPhone to an all plastic cover to provide more room for all the various antennae (cell phone, wi-fi, bluetooth and GPS) that had to be in there. Either way, covering an antenna with your hand will degrade the signal. While this isn’t a noticeable problem in strong signal areas, weak areas are another matter.

To boost the signal in weak reception areas (like when the iPhone is only showing 1 or 2 bars of signal strength), all you have to do is to move your hand out of the way. Instead of cradling the phone in your hand, hold it by the edges instead like this:

photo showing how to hold the iPhone by the edges to boost signal in weak areas

Doing so improves reception to the antenna and can give you an extra 1 or 2 bars of signal strength if you’re lucky. Sometimes this is enough to get a more reliable data connection with the cell tower and you can get enough data through to check your email or check out something on the web. It’s simple and it’s always worth a try. Note that the iPhone takes about 20 seconds or so to recognize a change in the cellular signal strength, so the bars displayed in the upper left won’t change immediately. So just hold your cell phone by the edges for a little while and see if there’s any effect. I’ve gotten lucky on many occasions where the phone was able to switch successfully from Edge to 3G in a weak area just by holding the iPhone as shown above. Give it a try!

Category: Apple iPhone