Future Android version may let carriers hide signal strength from phone

Wonder why network carriers would want to hide their signal strength. Any guesses?

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Highlights

    • The future Android version, Android P, might restrict signal strength visibility
    • Carriers said to have requested Google for the feature
    • The change unlikely to impact third-party apps

The earlier versions of Android didn’t have an option of checking the network signal strength. But the new Android versions give the benefit of checking the network signal strength which you can access by heading to Phone Settings>About Phone>Status>SIM Status.

However, carriers might soon have the ability to hide the signal strength on the upcoming Android OS version, Android P. As per the folks at XDA on the Android Open Source Project, the future Android build might give carriers an option to disable “signal strength” metric from showing in the Settings menu.

Notably, the value of signal strength measured in dBm or asu can be used to compare network performance on several devices. The dBm which stands for decibel relative to one milliwatt can be found in numerical form on SIM Status under Settings on your Android phone. XDA notes that device signal strength is important for call quality, data connectivity and battery life. A low dBm value signifies that the device network signal is poor. The numerical figures are translated to signal bars that you see at the top of your phone.

Even if carriers disable the options of showing signal strength, users will still be able to check it by downloading third-party apps, since the change is unlikely to have any impact on Android APIs on these apps. Reports indicate that disabling the feature was requested by certain network carriers and Google agreed to the request in future Android builds. While this remains a mystery as to why carriers want to disable the feature, its implementation will take time as even the latest Android Oreo version has hit just a meager number of Android devices so far.