How to fix poor iPhone cell reception in your home and office

Animated GIF showing decreasing cell phone reception.

— How to fix poor iPhone cell reception in your home and office —

Do you have poor cellular coverage in your home or office? When you call people from your iPhone, do they ask you to repeat what you said, because the sound dropped out? Do they ask you to quit walking around– even though you’re sitting still? Do they say it sounds like you’re in a tunnel when actually you’re in your home?

If you answered Yes to any of the above, you know how irritating these problems are. Fortunately, there is a solution, and it’s easy, and it’s free. The solution to your problems is WiFi Calling.

WiFi Calling is OFF by default. You want to turn it ON. I’ll show you how to turn WiFi Calling on, then I’ll explain what it is and why it works.

1. Go to Settings
2. Tap “Phone.”
3. Turn WiFi Calling on.

Phone settings withing the Settings app
Phone settings within the Settings app

WiFi Calling "On" in Phone settings in iOS 10
WiFi Calling “On”

When you turn WiFi Calling on you’ll get some warnings about the 911 system. Follow the prompts and do what they say. Your iPhone will use the cellular system for 911 calls when cellular service is available, whether WiFi Calling is on or not.

If you don’t see anything about WiFi Calling in Settings/Phone, you either have an older iPhone (you have to have an iPhone 5c or newer), or your carrier doesn’t support the WiFi Calling feature. For those in the United States, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile all support WiFi Calling. See this page from Apple for a world-wide list of carriers showing whether or not they support WiFi Calling.

(You might have to turn your iPhone off– all the way– and then back on for WiFi Calling to take effect. You’ll see “WiFi” after the carrier name in the status bar at the top of your iPhone’s screen when WiFi Calling is turned on and available.)

iPhone Status Bar showing WiFi Calling ON
Status Bar showing WiFi Calling ON

iOS Status Bar showing WiFi Calling OFF
Status Bar showing WiFi Calling OFF

That’s it! From now on, when your iPhone’s connected to a WiFi network, you’ll enjoy improved phone call sound quality (on both ends of the call), and increased connection reliability. The people on the other end of your calls won’t know that you’re using WiFi Calling– to them, it’s just another phone call– but the connection will be solid, and the sound will be great. It doesn’t matter whether the cell phone signal at your location is strong or weak (or even non-existent)– with WiFi Calling, your calls will stay connected, and sound great.

Of course this will only work if you are connected to a WiFi network. Check by going to Settings and looking near the top for WiFi. You should see the name of the network your iPhone is connected to. If you don’t see a network name, tap WiFi, make sure WiFi is on, and choose a network.


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How WiFi Calling works

When you use WiFi Calling, phone calls go from your iPhone to the WiFi in your home or office, then onto the internet, and then into the phone system. (Without WiFi calling, phone calls go from your iPhone to a cell phone tower and then into the phone system.) Turns out it makes a big difference when your iPhone connects to a nearby WiFi base station rather than a cell phone tower somewhere outside your home or office. The result is a significant increase in sound quality and connection reliability.

(If this sounds a lot like Skype, or like FaceTime voice calls, that’s because it IS a lot like Skype or FaceTime voice calls. The big advantage of using WiFi Calling is that you don’t need to install or use a special app, and neither will the people at the other end. WiFi Calling is integrated into the iPhone’s Phone app so completely that you won’t have to think about it at all.)

WiFi Calling works with all of the major carriers, at no cost to you. As my friend Sondra would say, “It’s a no brainer– turn it on.” When you’re on a WiFi network you’ll enjoy the improvements that WiFi Calling brings. When you’re not on WiFi your iPhone will automatically switch to the regular cell phone tower system. Take 30 seconds and turn WiFi Calling on now. You will be glad you did, and so will the people you call.

Note: technically, you’re not “fixing poor iPhone cell reception in your home and office” by using WiFi Calling. You’re going down another, better path. Just thought I’d be clear.

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2 thoughts on “How to fix poor iPhone cell reception in your home and office

  1. Hi Christian!
    Just a note about this article. It’s a no brainer if you are in the US to do this. However, if you are in other countries (notably, Canada), it will require that your telephony provider supports Wi Fi calling, and that’s not exactly a given. In fact, it’s kind of rare, depending on where you live. Anyway, it’s one of those things the US does better, and I’m glad you are telling people about it.
    Cheers,
    David Drucker

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