Found out why my iPhone 7 Plus has weaker signal than 6

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
Original poster
May 31, 2007
6,099
8,780
Florida, USA
I had been wondering for a while why my iPhone 7 Plus has had a weaker signal from AT&T than my 6 and 5 did, even though I'm in exactly the same spot near the same tower. My previous phones would show a solid 5 dots all the time at home, whereas my 7 Plus shows 2-3 dots, maybe 4 at best.

The answer is band 30. The 7 Plus supports band 30, and the 6 did not. Band 30 penetrates less into buildings due to its higher (near 3GHz) frequency, so the signal strength will be less than other bands, even on the same tower. It took some experimenting with Field Test on two different phones swapping SIM cards and flipping airplane mode on and off to determine all this. Yes I'm a nerd, and yes I have too much time on my hands.

So yeah, the 7/7Plus's reception is just fine! If you see weaker signal than before in some places, it's probably due to being on band 30. Interestingly, even though the signal is weaker, performance is FAR higher; I can push 80 megabits on band 30! So I'm not going to complain.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,243
14,974
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
I had been wondering for a while why my iPhone 7 Plus has had a weaker signal from AT&T than my 6 and 5 did, even though I'm in exactly the same spot near the same tower. My previous phones would show a solid 5 dots all the time at home, whereas my 7 Plus shows 2-3 dots, maybe 4 at best.

The answer is band 30. The 7 Plus supports band 30, and the 6 did not. Band 30 penetrates less into buildings due to its higher (near 3GHz) frequency, so the signal strength will be less than other bands, even on the same tower. It took some experimenting with Field Test on two different phones swapping SIM cards and flipping airplane mode on and off to determine all this. Yes I'm a nerd, and yes I have too much time on my hands.

So yeah, the 7/7Plus's reception is just fine! If you see weaker signal than before in some places, it's probably due to being on band 30. Interestingly, even though the signal is weaker, performance is FAR higher; I can push 80 megabits on band 30! So I'm not going to complain.
There's a couple of jailbreak apps that make this much easier. Unfortunately, only one continues to function on iOS 9. But I have a jailbroken iPad on iOS 8 so it works on that.

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rachelsgoldens

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2016
87
77
I have noticed that poor signal eats at my 7+ battery when my 6s+ did not. I bet this is why. I work in an area of a building that is all concrete with no windows. Thanks!
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,441
34,509
I have noticed that poor signal eats at my 7+ battery when my 6s+ did not. I bet this is why. I work in an area of a building that is all concrete with no windows. Thanks!
Do you have wifi enabled at your workplace?
It would assist in the battery drain.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,441
34,509
Yes I do because I'm on the WiFi as I only have 10gb per month of data.
Understandable. I wouldn't want to go over either with additional charges. I do agree the 7 Plus battery depletes quickly when the signal is weak. And the phone itself gets warm where the antenna is.
 
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