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Home / Tips and Tricks / Here are our best tips to improve your phone’s slow data connection and poor signal strength

Here are our best tips to improve your phone’s slow data connection and poor signal strength


Struggling with a bad signal is a frustrating experience.

Angela Lang / CNET

It can be frustrating to stare at the progress bar while your phone is trying to send a text message, especially when you are in a place where you normally have reliable service. Personally, I get really annoyed when it takes too long to update my emails or load a website because my data connection is having problems.

And many of us have transitioned to work from home or helped our children during distance learning Coronavirus pandemic Having a reliable data connection is more important than ever, especially when your internet service goes down and you have to Use the hotspot function on your phone. However, there are a few steps you can take to get your phone back in top shape.

Sure, you could take the tried and true approach of turning on airplane mode, waiting a few seconds, and then turning it off. However, this doesn’t always work, and when it doesn’t, you need to take more drastic steps such as: E.g. removing your SIM card or resetting network settings.

Before you get to that point, we’d like to offer you the best troubleshooting steps that you can take to get your phone back to working from max to extremely high performance.

Airplane Mode Android iPhone

Left: Toggle airplane mode on your iPhone. Right: Airplane mode toggles on a Pixel 3 XL.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Toggle airplane mode

Switching the phone connection is the fastest and easiest way to resolve your signal problems.

Android: You can swipe down from the top of the screen to display the Quick Settings panel. Tap the airplane icon and wait for your phone to completely disconnect from WiFi and cellular connections. It doesn’t happen right away, so give it a good 30 seconds before you tap the airplane mode icon again.

iPhone: Open control center – iPhone X.Series users can swipe down from the top-right corner, swipe older iPhone models up from the bottom of the screen – and tap the airplane mode icon. It turns orange when activated. Again, wait up to a minute before turning it off.

Restart Android iPhone

Left: restarting an Android phone. Right: turn off an iPhone.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Reboot your phone

Our phones are miniature computers, and just like computers, sometimes you can fix problems by restarting them.

Android: Press and hold the power key or the power key and the volume down key, depending on your Android phone, until the on-screen menu appears, then select Restart. If your phone doesn’t offer a restart option, press and hold the power button until the screen goes black, then turn it back on. You may also be able to turn off your phone from the Settings menu (look for the gear icon).

iPhone: If your iPhone has a home button, you can press and hold the sleep / wake button until the power button appears. Drag the slider to the right. After turning off the device, press and hold the Sleep / Wake button until you see the Apple logo.

IPhone X series users need to press and hold the side button along with the volume up or down button at the same time. Eventually the same power knob will be displayed. Slide it to the right to turn off the phone. After turning off the phone, press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo.


Removing and reinserting your SIM card in your phone only takes a few seconds.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

Remove your SIM card

Another troubleshooting step is to remove yours and then place them SIM card back in your phone with the phone switched on. You will need a SIM card tool – usually included with your phone – or an opened paper clip to get the SIM tray out of your phone.

All phones: Remove the SIM card, check that it is damaged and that it is correctly in the SIM tray, and then put it back in your phone.

e.g.: For phones with an eSIM – that is, the embedded electronic SIM in your phone – you don’t need to remove anything. The best thing you can do is restart your phone.

Look at that:

5G made easy


Tips for your iPhone only

You can find some of the tips above on the Apple Support page for troubleshooting signal issues. It also highlights two things that you should try that are iPhone specific.

Check the carrier settings

iPhone View 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, chances are you have received a warning, if only briefly, that your carrier settings are up to date. These updates help iPhone optimize connectivity.

Open to force your iPhone to check for a carrier settings update the settings > General > over on your phone. If there is an update available, you will be prompted to install it.

Reset the network settings

iPhone reset 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 board to fix a pesky problem. Updating your phone’s network settings is another tip that Apple suggests.

Be warned, however, that resetting your network settings will also reset any saved Wi-Fi passwords, VPN connections, and operator-defined APN settings that require additional settings.

If you are good with it, go to the settings > General > Reset to default > Reset network settings. Confirm your selection and your phone will restart. Make sure you reconnect your phone to your home and use Wi-Fi networks.


Sometimes your network operator is the only way to solve signal problems.

Angela Lang / CNET

Contact your wireless service provider

Sometimes unexpected signal problems can be traced back to problems with your carrier. A cell tower could have shut down or the tower’s fiber optic cable could have been cut, which could lead to failure.

If you have persistent problems locking into a cellular or data network, and staying on a cellular or data network, it is possible that your network operator’s coverage does not extend well to your neighborhood. Some carriers offer a network extender, a device that acts as a small wireless tower based on your Internet connection, such as B. MicroCell from AT&T or Personal CellSpot from T-Mobile.

In other cases, a newly found signal problem could be due to a defect in your phone or a defective SIM card. Contacting your carrier to start troubleshooting after trying these fixes is the next best step in solving 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 the troubleshooting steps, including speaking with your carrier to discuss your options, you’re still having trouble getting a good signal, try a booster. A signal repeater receives the same cellular signal that your carrier uses, and then amplifies it just enough to cover it in a room or throughout your home.

It’s been a while since we’ve checked all of the signal boosters, but we’ve seen Wilson Electronics boosters consistently deliver on their promise to boost the signal.

The only downside here is the cost. Wilson has three different home boosters that range in price from $ 399 for single room insurance and $ 999 for total home insurance. To be clear, we did not specifically test these models. Wilson offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a two-year guarantee in case you run into problems.

When your signal issues are resolved, it’s easy to use your phone as a portable hotspot for a backup connection. But there are some things that you need to know. If you’re looking for iPhone-specific tips and tricks, Read our guide to iOS 13. And for Android fans, we have a few Tips to help you get the most out of Android 10.

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