Is Raising Your Phone will Improve Your Cell Reception?

cell phone

Do you ever raise your arm to the sky in an effort to get cell phone service? Does putting our arms up actually help us get bars? You might think putting your arm up will get your phone closer to the cell tower or improve your chances of picking up a signal. In reality, cell signals are more or less homogenous and surround us.

If you don’t have signal now, the length of your arms won’t be enough to get it. I talked to Lin Zhong, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University about this behavior. – I think in general it’s insane. – Yeah? In general. The general answer is it’s insane. It doesn’t help that much. You may think the cell phone signal is like a spotlight when you’re on stage. It’s not. It’s already become effusive.

Therefore, when you raise your hand or change your orientation, the effects are very small. In general, I don’t think it helps a lot.- But with that said, walking a half block or so can help especially if you’re in a city because if you’re in a city, you’re receiving signals as they bounce off buildings so walking around a bit could change how the signal gets to you.

cell phone

As for the actual phones themselves, there isn’t much you can do to change the service you get. The manufacturers already do rigorous testing around cell signal and barring fluke situations like Antennagate with the iPhone 4, they do a good job of maintaining calls.

Of course, the service provider you have can also affect your service because not all providers are created equal. But if you’re in a dire situation and you need cell phone service, Lin recommends getting on your feet and walking.- Look at your situation. If you don’t have good call quality, it’s because a lot of people are nearby you, like a crowded concert.


Walking a few meters wouldn’t solve the problem but if you happen to be in an urban canyon, like in a downtown area with a lot of buildings, that could potentially abstract signals. Or you’re indoors in some location where you don’t have good reception, maybe walk a little bit.

The more you walk, maybe the better chance you have of a solution. You heard the man. Get out there. Maybe you’ll wander into service.