iOS 8 shows "Low Signal" in the battery usage stats, like here:


How great is the effect of signal quality on battery life? In other words, if the signal quality was better, would the stats be more like, let's say, 10% or 20% instead of the 31% for Personal Hotspot?

  • 1
    Asking for clarification--not my answer. I too have this issue, using up to 75% battery in 24hrs with "Phone low signal", yet the ATT bars show 3 or 4 filled circles. ATT says that is good signal strength but the Phone seems to 'think' otherwise. If this is related to my iPhone's transmission strength then is it time to get a new phone or can the iPhone 5C (iOS 9.3.3) be fixed and signal reception/connection improved? My wife and I both have a iPhone 5C from Dec 2014--with current iOS9.3.3 Of course ATT says it is an Apple problem, Apple says 'nope' your phone is fine, it's an ATT&T problem.
    – user194242
    Jul 30, 2016 at 22:09

5 Answers 5


You’ll see “low signal” when you are using service in a poor reception area. When the phone needs to search for a signal all the time it uses more battery life. We normally see this on Home & Lock Screen and Personal Hotspot. The best thing to do to save battery in these situations is look for a way to get a better signal, or maybe even turn cellular off when you are in really bad reception areas. You can turn off cellular by going to Settings -> Cellular -> Off. With this off you can’t make calls, so you don’t want to leave this off all the time, but it can help in some situations.

"Better" is relative so the percentages would probably vary by situation.


The percentage of battery used also factors in the amount of time you were using either the personal hotspot or the phone. Therefore, the percentage of battery use will also change, based on which service you use more frequently.

Popstar is exactly right: constantly searching for a signal requires more power than maintaining a good signal.

You could look at the difference by starting with a fully charged battery and performing tasks while connected to a poor signal and then repeating the same tasks (with a fully charged battery), for the same amount of time, while connected to a full signal.


It's more to do with the power level of the transmitter in the phone to maintain a connection than actually searching for a signal. If it was searching then no data could pass. As the signal between the tower and device drops, the phone compensates by increasing output power to maintain the connection therefore using more power.


Any phone with a bad signal strains to maintain the connection, which can eat away at battery life, there is the relevance.

  • Why the down vote? This is a perfectly accurate statement. Sep 30, 2014 at 20:24
  • It probably is Downvoted because you just repeated what others have already answered
    – Rene Pot
    Oct 16, 2016 at 8:24

Signal quality is not dependant upon you as a user; it is up to the carrier to supply these needs. At the cost that one of these carriers would charge on a monthly basis, the least they can do is provide a cellular service in which they sell the device is this not relevant

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