20 of the Best Ways to Improve Your Cell Phone Signal
By Courtney on
With so much of our everyday life relying on our cell phone, things like weak signal, dropped calls or slow data speeds can have a major impact. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to improve your cell signal for clear calls and fast data speeds.
We’ll cover 20 things that you can do to help improve your cell signal today.
Cell Phone Carrier Certified Solutions
- Get a cell phone signal booster. Cell phone signal boosters are the only solution certified and recommended by all of the major carriers and the FCC to take an existing outside cell signal, amplify it, and then distribute the strong signal inside your home, business or vehicle. They work with all networks simultaneously, have no recurring fees, and are a great option if you have an existing outside signal that you can boost.
If you're interested in a booster, check out our article about the best cell phone signal boosters for 2023 where we've narrowed down the best signal booster for every situation.
- Get a Verizon network extender. This solution is only for people who have Verizon Wireless, as they are the only carrier who still offers a network extender. A network extender, also called a femtocell or microcell, is a device sold by Verizon that creates a cell signal in your home and routes all of your cellular calls and data over your broadband internet. While there are some downsides to network extenders, like call handoff issues, if you don’t have any existing cell signal outside, then it's going to be your best option.
- Use WiFi calling While not technically a method to improve your cell signal, making calls and using data over WiFi is one way to maintain contact with the outside world when there is no cell signal available for you to improve. Here are instructions on how to use WiFi calling on your iPhone and Android phones.
Make Sure Your Phone is in Peak Working Condition
- Update your software. You know those messages you sometimes receive about updating your carrier software? Those updates are what tell your phone what towers to connect to. Ideally, you should always update, but if you haven’t recently, then you should check now whether you need to. Follow the applicable instructions for your Android or iPhone phone.
- Turn off any services you’re not currently using. Services like WiFi, Bluetooth and Near-Field Communication (NFC) can sometimes cause problems by either trying to send your calls and data over a different service or allowing other devices to use up bandwidth that is needed for fast data or clear calls. Try disabling them on your phone and see if your signal improves.
- Change your Voice and Data settings. Sometimes the 4G LTE network that you're on is overloaded and the 3G network, while technically slower, is actually a better option. If you’re on the 4G LTE network, try disabling it on your iPhone or Android phone (if supported), which will automatically switch you to the 3G network.
- Turn airplane mode on and off. This will force your phone to reconnect to the cellular network. If you’re in an area that should have good signal but your phone doesn’t show it, try turning on and off airplane mode to force the phone to reconnect.
- Reset your network settings. This is a last resort of you still can’t get your phone to connect and other phones from the same carrier are working in your location. Here are the instructions for Android and iPhones phones.
- Manually re-select the network operator. This one only works for Android phones. Go to "Settings > Find Mobile Networks > Network operators". It will re-scan for all the networks available in your area. Check out this video to see how it's done.
- Have your phone checked for damage. If you're in a location where other people with phones on your carrier have good service, but you don't, then that might be a sign that your phone, or more specifically the internal antenna, has been damaged. Your best bet is to bring it into the store where you originally purchased the phone and have them perform an analysis to see if the phone is operating as it should. If not, then it might be time for a new phone.
Change Your Location
- Move up a floor (or multiple floors). Signal tends to be better on higher floors, as you're able to clear obstructions closer to ground level. If you're in a basement, moving up to the ground floor can help immensely.
- Move closer to a window. Cell signal has an easier time entering a building when it’s not blocked by the construction materials, like brick, block, siding, or sheet metal, that the building is made of, so windows are typically areas where you'll receive stronger signal than behind a solid wall.
- Go outside. The construction materials that make up the walls and roof of a building block cell signal, so going outside should allow you to receive a stronger signal from the local cell towers.
- Move to higher ground. Mountains, hills, trees and other obstructions can often block signal. Moving to higher ground makes you more likely to connect with a cell tower and receive stronger signal.
- Find our where your closest cell tower is. Put your city or zip code into Cell Reception or Open Signal to see a map of your local towers, and then try to either locate yourself on the same side of the building, or change your location entirely.
Improve Your Surroundings
- Reorganize your space. Certain objects in your home or office tend to block signal, like metal filing cabinets, refrigerators, decorative waterfalls, and solid furniture. Rearranging these objects so they’re not between you and the outside cell signal can help.
- Remove trees & bushes. Trees, bushes and any other living thing is made up of water, which blocks cell signal to varying degrees. If possible, trim unnecessary branches, remove overgrown bushes, or cut down entire trees to create a more open surroundings.
- Use different construction materials. Next time you’re deciding on a home improvement project, consider researching how that material might affect your signal. Metal roofs, brick walls, and energy efficient building materials all block signal more than alternative materials.
- Open your window. If your windows have an energy efficient coating applied to them, then unfortunately it also blocks cell signal, so opening your window can allow the cell signal to penetrate into the room.
- Switch to a carrier that has better coverage in your area. If all else fails, then switching to a carrier with better coverage in your area is your last resort to solve your cell signal problems. Review the coverage maps for each carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular) and talk your neighbors to find out what carrier other people in the area use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Improving Cell Signal
We've put together a list of some of the questions and answers that we frequently get about improving cell signal. If you have any questions that aren't answered in this post, then please call us at 800-590-3564 and we'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
What are the best cell phone boosters?
Here are our expert picks on the best cell phone signal booster for every situation:
- The Smartest and Most Powerful Signal Booster: Cel-Fi GO X
- The Best Signal Booster for your Whole Home: weBoost Office 100
- The Best Signal Booster for a Few Rooms: weBoost Home MultiRoom
- The Best Signal Booster for a Single Room or Small Space: SureCall Fusion4Home
- The Best Signal Booster for Your Home that Includes Installation: weBoost Installed | Home Complete with Installation
- The Best Signal Booster for Your Business: weBoost Office 200
- The Best Signal Booster for Your Business that Includes Installation: weBoost Installed | Office 200 with Professional Installation
- The Best Signal Booster for Your Car: weBoost Drive Reach
- The Best Signal Booster for Your Truck: weBoost Drive Reach OTR
- The Best Signal Booster for Your RV: SureCall Fusion2Go RV
- The Best Signal Booster for Your Boat: Drive Reach Marine
- The Best Enterprise Solution: Cel-Fi QUATRA Active DAS Hybrid
Please see our complete list of the best cell phone signal boosters to learn more and find the right signal booster for your situation.
Do cell phone signal boosters actually work?
One of the biggest questions that we get is "do cell phone signal boosters really work?". This is a reasonable question, especially with all of the scammy products that have been released in the past claiming to give you better signal.
The answer is yes, they absolutely do.
But you don't have to take our word for it, the FCC and the major cellular carriers have all independently tested every signal booster that is sold on the market today, and have not only approved them for use, but recommend them as a preferred solution for getting better cell signal in your home, office or vehicle.
How can I boost my cell phone signal at home?
A cell phone signal booster will boost the existing outside cell signal and distribute it throughout your home. We picked the best cell phone signal boosters for every situation, including your home to make it as easy as possible to select the right one for you.
What if I do not have any existing outside cell signal?
If you do not have any existing outside signal, but do have a quality broadband internet connection (NOT satellite internet) and Verizon is your carrier, then you can contact Verizon about getting a network extender.
If you have a carrier other than Verizon, then your best option is going to be to use WiFi calling on your mobile devices while in your home or business.