“It seems that the cellular signal strength on my iPhone X is weaker than that on my previous iPhone 7.” User Trodolak start a heated discussion on MacRumors with this doubt. Obviously, he is not the only one who notices the difference or the problem. Want to find a way to solve iPhone X weak signal issue? First of all, we need to find the reason why there is the problem.
Why does my iPhone X have the weak signal issue?
In that discussion, several users think the problem is caused by the hardware issue, while most of them believe that it is due to the two different modems adopted by iPhone X, Qualcomm and Intel LTE modem. According to a testing result posted by PC Magazine, it reveals that with only limited attenuation, or signal reduction in simple terms, the iPhone X with an Intel modem started to experience lower LTE download speeds than the iPhone X with a Qualcomm modem.
“While both modems started out with 195Mbps of download throughput on a 20MHz carrier, the Qualcomm difference appeared quickly, as the Intel modem dropped to 169Mbps at -87dBm. The Qualcomm modem took an additional -6dBm of attenuation to get to that speed.”
Cellular Insights said the difference is most noticeable in very weak signal conditions, in which the iPhone X with a Qualcomm modem experienced 67 percent faster LTE download speeds on average compared to the Intel model.
“At very weak signal strength, below -120dBm, the Qualcomm modem got speeds on average 67 percent faster than the Intel modem. The Intel modem finally died at -129dBm and the Qualcomm modem died at -130dBm, so we didn’t find a lot of difference in when the modems finally gave out.”
PC Magazine speculated that Apple could be artificially crippling the Qualcomm modem to have similar performance as the Intel modem, given the controversy that arose with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus last year. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X16 is a gigabit-class modem that supports 4×4 MIMO, for example, but the functionality is disabled in the iPhone X. The result is that both the Qualcomm and Intel versions of the iPhone X have a peak theoretical download speed of 600 Mbps in most countries.
All in all, what this all means is that customers who want to ensure they receive the weaker signal should put some thought into which iPhone model they purchase.
How to Find Out If Your iPhone X Has Qualcomm or Intel LTE modem?
iPhone X applies two different modem chips in iPhone X depending on the carrier and the market.
iPhone X A1865 model: Apple adopts the Qualcomm MDM9655 Snapdragon X16 LTE modem in the A1865 model for CDMA carriers (Verizon, Sprint) in the US, Australia, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand.
iPhone X A1902 model: Apple also adopts the Qualcomm MDM9655 Snapdragon X16 LTE modem in the A1902 model for Japan
iPhone X A1901 model: iPhone X Apple adopts the Intel XMM 7480 modem in the A1901 model for GSM carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile) in the US, Canada, Europe, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Phillippines, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Argentina, Russia, and Mexico.
You can guess the modem type from the country you bought iPhone X. However, there are two more accurate methods.
Step 1: Launch Settings app
Step 2: Choose General > About
Step 3: Scroll down and tap on Model. It will switch from the part number to reveal the actual model number.
Step 1: Navigating to Settings > About > Legal > Regulatory.
Step 2: You will find the model number of your iPhone X right at the top.
How to Fix iPhone X Weak Signal Issue?
After you check the modem type of your iPhone X, you may know the reason. If the modem is Qualcomm, you should check your SIM card and try to find solutions from the telecom operator. If the modem is LTE modem, you can try to find the problem with SIM card as well, but it’s greatly possible can’t solve the problem. You can try to visit Apple Store and look for after-sale help. However, you can’t ask them to change the modem type of your iPhone X.
But as the last try, you can turn off the Wi-Fi assistant and see if it will help. The Wi-Fi Assistant is iOS 11 feature that helps your iPhone X to use the best connection available. It continually checks if the active internet connection is providing you the fastest data transfer. If it decides that there is a network with a higher speed, it automatically disconnects the old network and connects to the fastest one, even if it is the cellular network. When you are experiencing signal drop issues, the Wi-Fi Assistant might often join and disconnect to various networks, making the overall connectivity experience malfunctioning. To avoid the possibility of this scenario, you can simply turn off the Wi-Fi Assistant on your iPhone X. Here is how:
- Go to Settings and tap on Cellular.
- Locate the Wi-Fi Assistant Toggle.
- Change its status to OFF. (Now your iPhone will stay connected to one Wi-Fi network even it does not provide the fastest data transfer)
For those who haven’t buy your iPhone X, if you want the best possible LTE performance, purchasing the A1865 model is your best option.