Use a prepaid phone as a cellular signal meter

If you’re a professional installer, you’ll have pro-quality equipment. But, if you’re interested in figuring out whether or not you need a cell booster, a $400 meter is probably a little bit of overkill. It would be great if you could use your phone for this sort of thing, right?

Until recently, all iPhones and most Androids had this capability. In fact you’ll still find a lot of tutorials that say you can still do this but while you can still get to the hidden menu a lot of the measuring stuff is gone. On the Android side, you’ll find that some of the most popular ones have been locked down so tightly that you can’t get this information easily either.

That’s where I turn to my trusty prepaid cell phone. Now, I test cell signal a lot more than most of you, that’s true, but still not enough to feel like I have to pay for a very expensive meter. For a low price I got a prepaid cell phone. I didn’t even have to activate it in order to use it, meaning there’s nothing more to pay, ever.

I personally use the Signal Strength app which does a good job of showing cellular and Wi-Fi signal strengths on an attractive graph. It’s fast, it responds to different cellular situations, and it was free which is pretty awesome too. There are plenty of other apps out there if you don’t like that one.

Using this app I could easily find dead spots inside an office so I knew where to place cellular antennas for best results. I’m keeping the phone around but if you don’t need another phone you could always pass it along to someone else or keep it in the glove compartment just in case.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.