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How To Show iPhone Signal Strength in Number Instead of Bars

iPhone Signal Strength in NumberHow do you usually measure the signal strength on your iPhone? The bars on top? That’s pretty inaccurate. How about we tell you about a hidden setting in your iPhone that gives you an accurate value of your phone’s signal strength? So, yes, measured in Decibels, the tip we’ll share will allow you to get a number denoting the strength – the closer to zero, the stronger the signal.

What’s good is that when you’ll be in an area which is devoid of signals, this number will help you get to a better location, on the basis of its changing value as you move.

Here’s a step-by-step guide. This sure is a hidden trick but does not require your iPhone to be jailbroken or anything.  We’re pretty sure it works on all iPhone models, though we’re dead sure of iPhone 4 models as we’ve tried it our self here.

Step 1:

Dial the following number on your iPhone:


Now press ‘Call’.

Enter Field Test Mode

Step 2:

Your iPhone is now in the Field Test mode. Do you see a signal strength value on the upper left hand corner? You can still switch to the old strength bars instead of the number value, by taping on it. Just to let you know, this process is completely reversible, so don’t worry. You can revert to the bars any time, just lie now, by closing the app by pressing the home button. If you want to have the number indicator permanently (which is again reversible to bars), proceed to step 3.

Field Test Mode iPhone

Step 3:

Now hold on to the power button until you see the bar that says ‘slide to power off’. Here, do NOT power off your iPhone.

Step 4:

Now press the home button again until the app is exited and you’re on to the home screen. There you go! Done.

Signal Strength in Number

What Does the Signal Number Mean?

The numeric signal strength usually ranges from -50 to -120. The closer the number is to zero, the better is the signal strength. In general, below is how you can interpret the values:

-50 to -75: Excellent Signal Strength
-75 to -90: Good Signal Strength
-90 to -110: Fair Signal Strength
-110 or below: Poor Signal Strength / Hardly get any signal

Revert Back to the Signal Bar

To revert to the original signal strength representation, dial *3001#12345#* and press ‘Call’ to enter the field test mode again. Then press the home button once. There you go. Back to the bars!

About Farrukh Zafar

Farrukh Zafar is the inside-out gadget guy at Simonblog. You can always reach him at


25 Responses to How To Show iPhone Signal Strength in Number Instead of Bars

  1. steve e December 1, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    Keep pressing the home key, it takes a while to exit the app.
    I was just about to post that it doesn’t exit – and it did..

  2. Ashley December 1, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    I was wondering how to do this. Great blog. If you’re into app design, check out my page and let me know what you think!

  3. Chris December 1, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    iPhone 4 user. Have tried multiple times, but each time it flips back to bars. It takes about 60 seconds after pushing the Home key for it to exit (maybe even timing out?). Any suggestions?

  4. ragatazz December 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    When you see the slide to power off. Hold down the home key,keep holding it down.

  5. ragatazz December 1, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    I love it, thahks for the tip.

  6. zexthatico December 5, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    it worked, i have numbers instead of bars now. but i can’t get back to the bars :( i have a 3G. it exists the field test ok but it also keeps the numbers and i want the bars back..

    • David May 6, 2012 at 2:47 am #

      If you want to get back to normal, press *3001#12345*# and then dial. When done, restart your phone by pressing home button and power button until the screen goes black and the apple-logo shows up. Start your phone, now everything goes back to normal :)

  7. Richard December 11, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Iphone 4S
    iOS 5.0.1

    I’ve tried this multiple times now and everytime I put it into Field Test mode I see the numbers, but the moment I exit by pressing Home it goes back to bars. I’ve tried all the above steps mutliple times all the way through and the bars are still there.

    Any suggestions on how to get it to stay?

    • Ford December 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      Keep holding the home key (about 35 seconds) and it will work.

      I have iphone 4s on ios 5 and it worked the first time!!

      make sure to add a contact with the number info so you can revert back to bars if you wish.

      saves you frantically seaching for this page again.

      • Aaron March 21, 2012 at 6:44 am #

        Once you’ve done this, you can press on the numbers to go back to bars and visa versa. Just be sure to press on the very upper left hand corner of the screen to make the transition.

  8. Joe December 20, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    It does not stay on the main screen, but as soon as you open the phone app the numbers reappear.

  9. Aurora23 April 19, 2012 at 5:52 am #

    I did this and now I can’t get it back to bars, stays stuck on numbers. I even did a restore of my phone and the bars will not come back.

    I tried calling the number back and pressing the home button and it will not revert back to the bars.

    please help! Thank you

    • Aurora23 April 19, 2012 at 5:54 am #

      nevermind, it finally came off!

  10. Jon July 19, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    What does this signal in decibels number have to do with the 3g signal? Are the two signals one in the same?

  11. SEO Sydney August 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    I tried it a few times and only managed to get it after combining a few people’s instructions!
    Here is the comprehensive STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

    To turn decibels on:
    Dial *3001#12345#*
    Press and hold (5 secs) POWER button until slider displayed on screen.
    Release POWER button.
    Press and hold (5 secs) HOME button until Field Test Mode exits. DONE.

    To turn bars on:
    Dial *3001#12345#*
    Touch the screen on top left corner to toggle between bars and decibels. Select bars.
    Press (tap) HOME button. DONE.

    No need to restart your phone, no need to hold anything for more than 10 seconds.
    I can switch to decibels, back to home page then switch to bars, back to home page in less than 30 seconds.

    Thank you Farrukh for the original post.

  12. Chris K October 2, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    Does anyone know if this has a deleterious effect on battery?

    • Thomas Wong SEO October 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

      I have used this feature for 2 months now and I haven’t noticed any decrease in battery performance.
      At the same time I haven’t precisely measured it so I can’t say it does or doesn’t.
      Just a bit of feedback – I’ve noticed some of the comments on this page says people have switched it back to normal mode.
      I personally haven’t but I don’t find this feature very useful either.
      The values aren’t precise (the increment in numbers is not 1, 5 or 10) and the refresh rate is over 10 seconds (this may depend on your carrier, I don’t know).
      So I suspect you will probably switch back too haha

  13. habib October 18, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    wid mistke restart my phne nd now it hacks on apple logo wht did i do i hve 3gs

  14. Joe March 12, 2013 at 5:52 am #

    Doesn’t work on iphone 5?

    • Seth March 14, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

      It worked for me. Don’t know what you did wrong but I did it on my iPhone 5. Follow everything exactly and it should work for you also.

      • Phil September 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

        Didn’t work for me either, or more specifically after I force quit Field Test, it immediately opens Field Test again and then a second after I close it I get the circles back. Actually sliding to ‘power off’ though DOES work (iPhone 5 on iOS7).

  15. MaximumPhill June 13, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    This works on ios 7 too, just tried it.


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