The signal dots on the top left of your iPhone, whatever model you may use, have just been proven untrustworthy. Sorry, but those five dots (or bars) might say your signal is decent but why is the line still so staticky? Or crackly? Or cut-off-y? Well, this hack will tell you what your phone’s signal is actually at.
First, go to your iPhone’s keypad and enter “*3001#12345#*” and then press the green “call” button.
Your phone will now be in field-test mode. Hold down the Power and Home until it powers down.
Now press the Home button for six seconds. (Or if that doesn’t work and your phone has actually shut down, just turn your phone back on.) This brings back the home screen — but with numbers instead of bars for the signal.
The numbers are negative, so like in golf, the lower they are, the better. Between -40 and -77 means your phone has a strong signal. Anything less than -100 means your line is shaky and your phone hates you. Anything more than -40 means you should never, ever change your phone or subscriber again.
If the numbers are discouraging you and you want to go back to the dots, just tap the number where the dots used to be and you can continue to be disillusioned. If you want the numbers back, tap the dots. Simple as that.
We tested it and were shocked to find out the results. Downtown Toronto ranges from -82 to -128 in an average office building. The basement was predictably the worst at -128, in the elevator was -110 and it varied between -82 and -90 on the sixth floor. The stairs down to the subway seemed promising, starting at -77, but only got worse the lower we went.
Over in the suburbs in a three-storey home an hour outside Toronto, the bottom floor was unsurprisingly the worst at -120, which is what the garage also measured. It went to -111 on the main floor and the top floor was -102. Outside of said house, however, the results were an astounding -82. Which means we either need a new phone carrier — or we should get out more.