Carriers might hide signal strength in future versions of Android


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Staff member
The future version of Android might give carriers an option to disable the “Signal strength” metric from appearing in Settings according to the findings of XDA developers in a recent commit to the Android Open Source Project. Though the intention and motivation for this move is a mystery for now.

The commit discovered shows that the signal strength shown in “SIM Status” in system settings might be restricted depending on the carrier. The signal strength is approximated with five signal bars displayed in the status bar. However, this is not very accurate, and the actual signal strength cannot be determined using this. The signal strength in the system settings menu is the actual numerical signal strength measured in dBm or asu. Lower the dBm number, the worse the device’s network signal is.

Signal strength is a significant factor for call quality, data connectivity/speed, and battery life, though most users wouldn’t really consider checking the dBm value, it is useful to have for those who compare the signal strength or have a habit of doing so. However, even if carriers disable the option of showing signal strength, users will still be able to apps like LTE Discovery or Signal Strength to know the strength.

The idea or motivation behind this change remains a mystery, and we are inclined to believe that Google might be doing it after getting requests from carriers. However, Google can still change its mind and not include in the final version when it releases.