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Each trick we all know to assist enhance your cellphone’s sluggish information connection and poor sign power

Battling poor sign is a irritating expertise. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Watching your sign meter or the progress bar as you attempt to load a webpage or ship a textual content message in your cellphone is a irritating expertise. It is much more maddening if it occurs once you’re in a spot the place you understand you will have dependable service. Personally, I get aggravated when it takes far too lengthy to refresh my e mail or ship a message, all as a result of my information connection is struggling. 

The tried-and-true strategy of turning Airplane mode on, ready a number of seconds, after which biking it off can assist. However that does not all the time work, and when it does not, you will have to take extra drastic steps, like eradicating your SIM card or resetting community settings. 

Earlier than you get to that time, I wish to provide the perfect troubleshooting steps you’ll be able to take to get your cellphone working at peak efficiency as soon as once more. The steps beneath go from easy to excessive. 


Left: Toggle Airplane Mode in your iPhone. Proper: The Airplane Mode toggle on a Pixel 3 XL. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Toggle Airplane mode on and off

Toggling your cellphone’s connection is the quickest and best technique to try to repair your sign woes. For me, it really works 99% of the time. 

Android: You possibly can swipe down from the highest of your display screen to view the Fast Settings panel. Faucet on the Airplane icon, then wait to your cellphone to utterly disconnect from its Wi-Fi and mobile connections. It does not occur immediately, so give it an excellent 30 seconds earlier than you faucet on the Airplane mode icon once more.

iPhone: Open Management Heart — iPhone X-series customers can swipe down from the top-right nook, older iPhone fashions swipe up from the underside of the display screen — and faucet the Airplane mode icon. It should flip orange when it is enabled. Once more, wait as much as a minute earlier than turning it off.


Left: Restarting an Android cellphone. Proper: Powering off an iPhone. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Restart your cellphone. Do not simply flip it off after which again on. 

Our telephones are miniature computer systems, and similar to computer systems, typically you’ll be able to repair points by restarting them.

Android: Maintain within the energy button, or energy button and quantity down key relying in your Android cellphone, till the onscreen menu reveals up after which choose restart. In case your cellphone does not provide a restart possibility, maintain within the energy button till the display screen goes black after which turns again on. You may additionally be capable to energy off your cellphone by the settings menu (search for the Gear icon.)

iPhone: In case your iPhone has a house button, you’ll be able to maintain within the sleep/wake button till the ability slider is displayed. Drag the slider to the proper. As soon as the gadget is turned off, press and maintain the sleep/wake button till you see the Apple emblem.

iPhone X-series or newer customers might want to press the amount up button, adopted by the amount down button after which press and maintain the facet button. Maintain holding it in, even after your cellphone’s display screen goes black, till you see the Apple emblem seem once more. 


Eradicating and placing your SIM card again into your cellphone takes simply a few seconds. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Take your SIM card out for a minute

One other troubleshooting step to strive is to take away after which place your SIM card again in your cellphone with the cellphone turned on. You may want a SIM card device — often included in your cellphone’s field — or an unfolded paperclip to get the SIM tray out of your cellphone.

All telephones: Take away the SIM card, verify to see if it is broken and within the SIM tray accurately, then put it again in your cellphone.

eSIM: For telephones with an eSIM — that’s, the embedded digital SIM in your cellphone — there’s nothing so that you can take away. The most effective you are able to do is restart your cellphone.

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Tips just for your iPhone

Apple’s support page for troubleshooting signal issues has some of the tips mentioned above, but it also highlights two things to try that are iPhone specific.

Check carrier settings


View the carrier settings on your iPhone to check for an update. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

If you’ve used an iPhone for a while, you’ve probably seen an alert, even if just briefly, that your carrier settings are up to date. Those updates help the iPhone optimize connectivity.

To force your iPhone to check for a carrier settings update, open Settings > General > About on your phone. If an update is available, you’ll be prompted to install it.

Reset the network settings


Resetting network settings on an iPhone should be one of the last troubleshooting steps you should try. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Sometimes all you need is a clean slate to fix an annoying issue. Refreshing your phone’s network settings is another tip that Apple suggests trying. But be forewarned, resetting your network settings will also reset any saved Wi-Fi passwords, VPN connections and any custom APN settings for those on carriers that require additional setup.

If you’re good with that, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Confirm your selection and your phone will restart. Just remember to reconnect your phone to your home and work Wi-Fi networks.


Sometimes your carrier is the only way to get signal issues resolved. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Contact your carrier

Sometimes unexpected signal issues can be traced back to problems with your wireless carrier. A cell tower could be down, or the tower’s fiber optic cable could have been cut, causing an outage.

For consistent problems latching onto and staying on a cellular or data network, it’s possible your carrier’s coverage doesn’t extend well into your neighborhood. Some carriers will offer a network extender, a device that acts as a small wireless tower that relies on your internet connection, such as AT&T’s MicroCell or T-Mobile’s Personal CellSpot

Other times, a newfound signal issue can be due to a defect with your phone or a SIM card that’s gone bad. Contacting your carrier to begin troubleshooting after you’ve tried these fixes is the next best step to resolving your spotty signal.


A signal booster is your last resort. 

Patrick Holland/CNET

If all else fails, try this

If after going through all of our troubleshooting steps, including talking to your carrier to go over your options and you’re still struggling to keep a good signal — try a booster. A signal booster receives the same cellular signal your carrier uses, then amplifies it just enough to provide coverage in a room or your entire house. 

It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed any signal boosters, but we saw Wilson Electronics’ boosters consistently live up to their promise of increasing signal. 

The only downside here is the cost. Wilson has three different boosters designed for home use, ranging in price from $399 for single room coverage, to $999 for entire home coverage. To be clear, we haven’t specifically tested these models. Wilson offers a 30-day money back guarantee and a two-year warranty should you have any issues. 

With your signal issues resolved, using your phone as a mobile hotspot for a backup connection is easy, but there are some things you need to know. If you’re looking for iPhone-specific tips and tricks, check out our guide to iOS 14. And for Android fans, we have some tips to help you get the most out of Android 11

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