Tip to Boost iPhone 3G’s Signal Strength

We were assuming that Apple’s iPhone 3G will automatically fall back to 2G in case there is no 3G coverage for voice and data connections.

But based on complaints from many iPhone 3G users, it appears that iPhone 3G is not quick enough in switching from 3G to 2G which could result in low or no signal. So if you are observing low signal strength on your iPhone, then there is a simple but manual trick to solve the problem.

This comment over at iPhone Atlas reader, w4rmk confirms that iPhone 3G is not quick enough in switching from 3G to 2G.

W4rmk wrote "Yesterday I tried to make a phone call (new iPhone 3G). I was standing outside in the Denver, Colorado area (which has 3G) and the display said “No Signal”. I walked around waiting for a signal to come in for about 5min with no luck. I went into settings and turned off 3G and immediately got 4 bars on the edge network. So the iPhone is failing to switch to edge when there is no 3G connection."

I am a little surprised that iPhone 3G did not switch to  2G  automatically.

So in case you observe low or no signal strength on your new iPhone 3G, try turning off 3G manually, this will force iPhone to switch to 2G. It might take few seconds but you could see a boost in your iPhone’s signal strength as w4rmk observed. (The assumption here is that you are in an area with good 2G coverage).


iPhone 3G - Turn 3G off

iPhone 3G not switching between 3G and 2G quickly could be some technical issue as I have observed similar behavior with other 3G phones as well, lets hope Apple finds a solution, as turning 3G off manually is quite painful.

In case this tip doesn’t help, you might want to try out some of the iPhone tricks we had recommended to Boost signal strength of the first generation iPhone.

The comments section is all yours, let us know if you have faced this problem and if you have a better way to resolve it.

[via iPhone Atlas]

 

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  • http://www.djrayz.com Dj RaYz

    I have the same problem. I but I can still make phone calls when there is 0 bars and the 3G logo on.

  • irha

    3G or 2G, does it matter for voice calls?

  • SMK

    Just for a heads up for anyone in Japan. I had this issue with my 3G iPhone and when I switched 3G off I went from 1 bar to No Signal. I even restarted the phone and waited about 15 minutes with no change. When I turned 3G back on I got my 1 bar back but I don't think this will work for Japan.

  • toeggi

    3G/2G or none at all shouldn't matter for making phone calls…..

  • nicolasl46

    for what i've heard from and AT&T store manager (in a store where my friend works) is that 3G towers differ from EDGE towers, (they are not the same towers) there for, you'll have better EDGE reception than 3G in many places. We are facing the same problem that we had when AT&T wanted to switch from TDMA technology to GSM, TDMA would work everywhere, as for GSM sucked (around where i live at least) then GAIT phone would work on both networks. But little by little AT&T started knoking out and replacing TDMA antennas for GSM, until GSM got a lot better. So until 3G is set up in as many antennas as EDGE, we'll face these problems all over.

  • japanlurker

    @irha – the reason this doesn't work in Japan is that Softbank no longer provides 2G connectivity:

    http://www.softbankmobile.co.jp/en/news/press/2008/20080703_01/index.html

  • nicolasl46

    well thats going to happen in the us (some day). Once AT&T upgrades all customers to 3G devices, they will no longer support EDGE devices (2G). So unless AT&T goes full throtle on 3G we are going to experience low signal in many places. Oh and another thing, my iphone 3G does switch from 3G and EGDE from time to time, w/o me turning it of manually. Its not instant but it takes a couple of seconds, i reallized that last night i was in the couch surfing the web on the phone, and everything starting slowing down, and when i looked up, the screen read EDGE instead of 3G, and 3G was turned on, on the settings menu.

  • nicolasl46

    well thats going to happen in the us (some day). Once AT&T upgrades all customers to 3G devices, they will no longer support EDGE devices (2G). So unless AT&T goes full throtle on 3G we are going to experience low signal in many places. Oh and another thing, my iphone 3G does switch from 3G and EGDE from time to time, w/o me turning it of manually. Its not instant but it takes a couple of seconds, i reallized that last night i was in the couch surfing the web on the phone, and everything starting slowing down, and when i looked up, the screen read EDGE instead of 3G, and 3G was turned on, on the settings menu.

  • Darwin

    It happened to me too, I was at work(in New York Brooklyn) and I had 1 bar, and when I was going home at the end of the night, I called AT&T to add data plan on my wife's blackberry, I was on my 3G and the call drooped, I saw the phone and it says Called failed :-S

  • Louis

    I think it's the 2.0 software.. Its funky! Sometimes I'll be writing an SMS and it will just go into Auto Lock after like 5 seconds…It does not happen every time. Someone at my office put 2.0 on their old iphone and was experiencing the apps not launching when tapping them or they'd launch and then crash.

    As for the delay in 3G to 2G I have seen that too. What you'll see is a l little white dot where the E or G would be but no signal bars..

    i before e except after G

    Just keep 3G off.. This really sucks we are all paying for 3G service and are getting 2G. Don't see a difference in the internet it's not kickas.

    As soon as the dev team releases the unlock i~plan to move back to t-mobile. But the app store rocks.

  • nicolasl46

    2.0 software has a lot of problems. another thing that i noticed is that when i,m typing or fliping pictures, the screen flickers quickly, like if it is refreshing or something

  • Gav

    I agree with the last few comments who are having trouble and think its the software.

    Since the update Iv had numerous problems from not being able to type as fast (the letters slowly appear). To things freezing in the ipod mode and even general applications such as the phone. Someone tried calling me the other day and i couldn't answer it.

  • Louis

    I thought it was my imagination, but yeah… that's so true the keyboard freezes up on the iphone. Apple will deny it of course.

    I remember when I called customer service about my i-mac 24 inch building up condensation on the screen the apple tec said go to the apple menu/system preferences/Display and make sure your display setting is set to normal.

    Let's see what they say about these glitches…. We may have to adjust the system pref

  • SMK

    @japanlurker

    Thanks for the info! So does this mean since we are all 3G in Japan now that this low signal problem is not going to get any better? If so that really blows.

    A wierd thing is when I go to places that I should get no signal I get full bars. Like driving through a tunnel or going into stores that used to give me nothing. I'm assuming they put some type of hotspots inside there giving the boost, but it's pretty lame to only get 1 to 2 bars out in town but get full signal in a tunnel.

  • nicolasl46

    they might be updating towers from 2G to 3G little by little, but wait, if you are in Japan, you guys should be set up for 3G a long time ago, right?

  • xgman

    This works for email issues with 3g also.

  • John Cipolletti

    I have a 1st generation phone with firmware 1.1.4. I wanted to know if I should upgrade it to 2.0.2. But after reading some of these comments, I wonder if upgrading gains me any advantages. What do you all think?

    JCip

  • John Cipolletti

    I knew something was up when Apple sent out a fix for the poor signal on its 3G. As a programmer I wondered if the fix was a "quick fix". It seems now that the software just switches the Iphone to the Edge system. What is sad here is that the new generation Iphone that actually costs more when you factor in the AT&T charges still uses that old Edge network. Oh, can someone tell me if the 3rd party apps at the Istore run on my 1st generation phone.

    JCip

  • BarryA

    I just bought a 16GB 3G iPhone 2 days ago and was getting 1 or 2 bars at home, which is terrible. I read about turning off 3G to remedy the situation, and now I get 5 bars! I use WiFi at home, so turning off 3G here is not a problem. I don't know why it works, but it does.

  • http://www.free3giphone.com Joe B

    Thank you Barry A! ^^^ I just read what you did and tried it myself and it works!, I now get a full signal, but, what's the point in 3G if I can't use it, I sold my old iPhone cos it was replaced by my 3G? Does anybody else know of another soloution

  • Unknown89

    I work for vodafone and have been advised that all networks have sites (bast transmitter stations) that give out 3g signals! At the moment there are very little 3g sites all over the uk but as 3g handsets and broadband are using 3g, there are a lot of planned 3g sites around the country which will IN TIME increase ur 3g signal but as always this will probably take around 5-10 years as they never seem to do what they say they will! I have to admit tho that vodafone have great 3g coverage! I am on o2 as the iPhone hasn't been released yet and I couldn't wait any longer to get 1, but it seems that o2 have hardly any 3g sites! hopefully his will increase in the future and if not I will be switching my contract to vodafone!