Recently, Ive been getting only 2 bars

  • 23 September 2018
  • 23 replies

Before, the signal was great, always staying at 4 bars. I don't know what happened within the last couple of months. The maximum amount I can get is 2 bars, connected to my wifi or on LTE. Sometimes I even get no service. Ive tested my internet connection online and it always says that there's nothing wrong. What can I do to get the 4 bars again?


Best answer by tmo_chris 27 September 2018, 16:46

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23 replies

Userlevel 5

Has there been any new construction nearby like buildings or other electronic equipment? Do you live in an apartment where vacant units may now be occupied creating interference?

There hasn't been any construction nearby. Also, I don't live in an apartment.

Userlevel 5

Which particular make and model device are you using and have you changed Hardware in this same amount of time?

Make sure your phone is not connected to “wifi preferred” in your connection settings but “cellular network preferred”. That setting can cause a lot of unknown service issue. Hope it helps.

I'm using an iPhone 6s IOS 12. I recently updated, but that probably isn't the problem because my network has been bad even before updating.

Where can I get to this setting?

Userlevel 5

iPhones use wifi calling as a default.

It could be, seriously, that your battery is degraded to the point the system has slowed as well as reduced available power for the modem and radio.  This would affect signal strength negatively. Intel modems are already weak by design.

That might be the issue. My phone is a few years old and the battery health is at 75%.

Settings> cellular> Wifi calling. If its ON, turn it OFF and restart your device. If its already OFF than that rules out this being one of your problems.

Userlevel 5

WiFi being on or off won't make the lte stronger.

If anything, the signal would be better on wifi .

Wifi CALLING is different from WIFI. Its just an additional step you could possibly try.

Userlevel 5

WiFi calling uses wifi.  As such, LTE would not be needed. Typically, wifi, when available, is stronger  than LTE due to range and proximity.

Userlevel 4

Hey @magenta6261290 

Do you notice if the signal is any better when you are outside of your home or in other locations?

It still stays at 2 bars even outside of my home. I do feel like the network is slightly faster despite that.

Userlevel 5

The appearance of bars can be rather deceiving because you can have several megabits per second speed difference within the same number of bars. The software controls how it reads the signal and displays the bars accordingly. You may recall several years ago with the Apple iPhone 4 that reception was reported to seem weak so Apple sent an update to the software that made it appear as if the signal had gained strength by increasing the threshold for the bars. in other words all the software did was give you an extra bar even if the signal had not increased.

Userlevel 4

Well that is a plus haha! AS far as the strength goes, if you are getting no signal, that is something that we will definitely want to look into. Please give us a call when you have a moment so we can get a service ticket opened for your location.

Thank you so much turning off WiFi calling actually worked and made my bars go up from 2 to 4 plus it’s faster !

I also am only getting 2 bars..received replacement unit today and same issue..very very slow speeds

I live in Houston Texas and Sugarland Texas 

I have an iPhone 12

I am blocks away from Hwy 59, a major road. 
I have rarely gotten more than two bars, three sometimes, and four never. 
ive recently moved and have no internet, so I’m kind of screwed

what is going on?

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

It’s possible that you’re connecting on a different band.

From ‘1’ site, you can be connecting to the following bands - listed from ‘strongest to weakest’ as typically displayed on your device:

B71 LTE (600MHz)

B12 LTE (700MHz)

B2 LTE (1900MHz)

B4 LTE (1700/2100MHz)

B41 LTE (2500MHz)

Similarly on 5G …

n71 (600MHz)

n41 (2500MHz).

Eg.  At home, on n71, I’ll have 3 bars of signal, from a distant tower, and very slow service.  On n41, its 1 bar at best.  1 bar on n41 will give me ~50Mbps, 3 bars on n71 will give me 5 Mbps.


I have been having this issue for the last two months. My phone only ever shows 1 or 2 bars of service and most calls I make within my home are dropped or sound like I’m under water. If I’m lucky the call will hold up while I’m outside of the home. I have an iPhone XR, have updated to the latest iOS, tried connecting and disconnecting from wifi calling it doesn’t matter what I do. It’s becoming very frustrating and I can’t make a phone call to T-Mobile because it drops. A customer support email for T-Mobile to address problems like this would be helpful. 

Nobody wants to see 2 bars for their cell signal. I hate having this problem too. I went to:


Settings > Cellular > Network Selection >


Uncheck “Automatic” and guess what? T-Mobile *AND* Verizon cellular networks are in the options… ummm, WHY?? when I chose T-Mobile as the default, my bars increased to full bars and then down to 3 instead of 2. I found this very strange. Data roaming is probably playing a role as well although I don’t know how much of a role. T-Mobile needs to sort it out and give us the strong signals we paid for when we signed up!

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

Just as a note on the ‘roaming’ … unless you’re in an area that T-Mobile actually allows roaming, you’ll end up on ‘Emergency Service Only’.  

You will know when you are roaming, as T-Mobile has a cap on data (200MB?)

I have roamed in Maine on US Cellular

Similarly, in California (SoCal / SLO Cal) if my device loses service for ~1 min, my phone will connect to AT&T / Verizon, and data + calls are disabled.

T-Mobile claims 4G LTE + 5G service in those areas, but none exists for miles.

Attempting to get T-Mobile to even acknowledge the issue is basically an act of congress.   

You can escalate through T-Mobile , but from experience, unless it is a ‘big’ traffic area, or has some external funding (gov’t or commercial push), you’ll probably not have much luck.