Negative Numbers for Signal (iPad 3rd Gen - Verizon LTE Model)

Discussion in 'iPad Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by bradpaulp, May 1, 2012.

  1. bradpaulp macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2011
    This is strange to me.
    I have the new iPad. The Verizon LTE Model and have it activated with Verizon service.
    However, the signal strength shows a negative number to indicate strength. It does also show to the right 3g, or LTE depending on the location/coverage. So it seems it picks it up fine, just instead of showing traditional BARS, it has a negative number. I cannot find anywhere online how to change this, or if its normal.

    Any ideas?

    Oh, I should definitely mention that when I first turned it on, It showed BARS and VERIZON next to it. However, I clicked on Restore from iCloud backup, and then after restoring settings and such which took about 5 minutes, it went back to the setup screen to continue, thats when it showed the negative numbers.
    The iPad I had before this was an iPad 2 WI-FI only. So there was no setting the would have carried over.

    Very weird.
  2. HazyCloud macrumors 68030


    Jun 30, 2010
    Sounds like it is in Field Test mode. I'd take in to Verizon or give them a call.

    The iPhone has the ability to go into something called Field Test mode. Once in this mode you can look at signal strength in both signal bars (what we are all used to seeing) and also in dBm. To put an iPhone into Field Test mode just punch in the following “number “on the phone keypad, including the "star" and "pound sign" keys:


    After you punch these numbers and symbols in, hit the Call button on the keypad and you'll end up with your iPhone screen looking like this:

    Take a look at where you usually see the signal bars and you'll see a negative number - this is the actual cell signal strength your phone is receiving in dBm referenced to 1 mW. In the above screen shot I'm measuring -102 dBm. Touch that signal strength number once and it toggles to the familiar signal strength bars. Touch it again and it toggles back to the signal strength number.

    What constitutes a good signal? Here's some rough signal strength guidelines:

    Full Signal:-70 or lower

    Optimal Signal:-70 to -75

    Fair Signal:-75 to -85

    Poor Signal: -85 or higher

    Remember, as a negative number increases in its numeric value it is actually decreasing with reference to zero. This means a -70 dBm signal is stronger than a -85 dBm signal.

    This is interesting to experiment with - check your signal strength in different locations see and how it correlates to the numbers of bars you are getting.

    To exit out of Field Test mode on the iPhone just hit the Home button.

    On September 8, Apple released iOS 4.1 and they’ve turned Field Test mode back on. You access it exactly the same way.

    Once you’ve updated your iPhone to iOS 4.1 be sure to give Field Test mode a try.
  3. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I agree that's probably what it is, though it's a mystery how it got on the new iPad, if the old iPad didn't have it. I doubt talking to Verizon will do any good, it's an iOS function, which they wouldn't know anything about. It's not like it affects actual operation, so I would just leave it alone. I also think if you tap the number, it swaps to bars, although on my iPhone it keeps switching back to numbers, and I've given up trying to getting it to stay in bar mode. If you really want to get rid of it, restoring and setting up as new should do it.
  4. HazyCloud macrumors 68030


    Jun 30, 2010
    Agreed. Restoring as new should definitely get rid of it.

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