How to check cellular signal strength of your iPhone

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Sometimes, you cannot load any webpages using your cellular data on your iPhone since the signal only has two bars. Sometimes, you see up to full bars, but your friend with the same network only has three bars. We’ are usually reliant on the signal bars to know how strong the cellular connection on our phone is. But, in fact, they are bullshit.

The signal bars are often whimsical. More bars mean a stronger signal, but there is not any standard for this. Although every smartphone manufacturer decides how much signal strength equals to the bars, it’s different from models to models.

If you are curious to know how strong the signal is, you can directly look at the measurement of the signal strength in decibels. Luckily, there is a hidden “Field Test” menu on your iPhone that is available for you to do that. While it’s not convenient, it is quite interesting.

How to open the Field Test menu on your iPhone

The Field Test menu has already changed with iOS versions, but this post will be for devices that are running on iOS 11 or iOS 12 version.

  • First, swipe from the bottom ( or the top right corner) to open up the Control Center and disable Wi-Fi.
  • Next, open the Phone app and enter the following numbers and symbols:
  • Now, press the Call button, and you will see the Field Test menu on the screen.

Check your cell signal strength with Field Test

When you are in the Field Test menu, the next question is how to check your cellular signal strength.

While there’s a lot of stuff in here, it’s not pretty labeled. It’s not a menu for regular users, instead, it’s for service technicians.

  • You can start by selecting “LTE” option from the first menu.
  • Now, look for a menu, called “Serving Cell Meas,” which include the measurements taken from the “serving” cell that you’re currently connected to.

  • Simply choose Serving Cell Meas and you will be taken to a page of data. From there, you can see the order of the listing that changes after every few seconds, since the measurements always update.
  • You simply look for “rsrp0,” which stands for Reference Signal Received Power for the tower that is closest to you.

It’s better a negative number, in a range from -40 to -140. If that number is closer to -40, that means it is a really strong signal, while the number is closer to -140, you are in a poor signal. Anything in the range from -40 and -80 is good and there will not be any signal problems. If the signal is below -120, that means it is very poor, and you might deal with interruptions in your connection as well as low data speeds.


From this page, there is another useful data point you should know, which is RSRQ0 (standing for Reference Signal Received Quality). It’s a value detailed for both the signal strength and interference. The range will be between -3 (good) and -19.5 (bad). There is a chance it comes with a lower number, but you must be in a very low-power signal.


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