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13 Ways to Get Better Cell Reception in Your Home

Getting lots of dropped and choppy calls at your house? Here are simple things you can do to fix the situation (that don't involve throwing your phone in frustration).

Brick House Framed with TreesSusan Law Cain/Shutterstock

Diagnose the problem

The experts at Wilson Amplifiers identify five main issues that can cause poor cell reception. If any of these sound like they could be your problem, then keep reading to find a solution:

    1. Long distance from a cell tower

    2. Tall trees, hills, or high structures outside of your home

    3. Heavy building materials (thick walls or energy-efficient installation)

    4. Interference caused by electronics, metal objects, or anything magnetic in your home

    5. Weather interference

Close up antenna repeater cell tower in city7th Son Studio/Shutterstock

Point toward the nearest cell tower

The experts at signalbooster.com say that if you stand in the part of your house that is closest to the nearest cell tower is (try using the OpenSignal app to find where it is), you are likely to get the best signal, especially if you stand outside with nothing obstructing. Try these other 17 hidden iPhone hacks you never knew about.

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Get near a window or go out in the open

Wikihow.com notes that thick walls or nearby structures can block your signal, so calling from deep inside a building or underground could be useless. Heading outside, or near an intersection if you’re already on the street, could improve the cell reception.

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Get higher

“Higher positions, be it within a building, or on a hill outside, will reduce the probability of obstructions blocking the cell signal,” note the experts at signalbooster.com. The higher you go, the less likely something will get in your way. Get your hands on these cell phone accessories that will make your life easier.

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Make sure your battery is charged

“Having enough cell phone power is needed to get good cell reception and hold a phone call,” says Holly Zink, a tech expert for Digital Addicts. “To ensure your phone can get a signal, make sure your phone battery is above 25 percent.” Learn how to fix the sneaky things that kill your phone battery.

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Use Wi-Fi calling

If your cell service is bad but you have good Wi-Fi, you’re set. The experts at Wilson Amplifiers point out that major carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, support Wi-Fi calling. Simply connect to your network and dial away. Here are 10 cell phone etiquette tips everyone needs to know.

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Turn airplane mode on and off

Ubersignal.com offers this quick fix: “If you’re in an area that should have good signal but your phone doesn’t show it, try turning on and off airplane mode to force the phone to reconnect.”

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Update your software

Don’t ignore messages to update your carrier software, say the experts at ubersignal.com. Without the right updates, your phone might not know which tower to connect to, so downloading the new software could clue your phone in. Learn about the 12 hidden smartphone codes you should start using ASAP.

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Don’t hold it in landscape mode

Every phone has a built-in antenna, and when you hold your phone sideways in landscape position, your hands may inadvertently be blocking it, say the experts at Wilson Amplifiers.

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Take it out of the case

Likewise, if you have a thick case, it could be blocking your antenna’s ability to maintain cell reception. Removing it while you make your call could clear up the signal. You won’t even want to know exactly how gross your phone screen is.

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Try to stay still

The signalbooster.com experts explain, “When you move around, the phone and network constantly have to adjust to cater to your changing location. This makes it much more difficult to obtain and hold on to strong signals.” By staying in one place, your phone can catch up with you.

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Switch between 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE

Many experts suggest going to your phone’s settings, choosing “Networks,” and trying each option to see which works best for you. “Different networks will have different signal strengths at a specific location,” according to signalbooster.com. “Experiment by switching between the networks to see which one works best for where you are.” Check out these other 13 easy ways to speed up your cell phone.

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Get a network extender

These are devices sold by your carrier that create a cell signal in your home through the Internet, according to ubersignal.com.

13 Ways to Get Better Cell Reception in Your HomeDean Drobot/Shutterstock

Buy a signal booster

Wilson Amplifiers explains that devices called signal boosters can make signals up to 32 times stronger before broadcasting it in a specific area, like your home or car. They note that boosters are compatible with any phone that uses 2G, 3G, and 4G signals. Next, learn how to use less cell phone data and lower your bills.

Joe McKinley
Joe McKinley is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest, covering cars, careers, tech and more.