As a technical support and customer service agent for the wireless industry, I get up to 60 calls in an 8 hour period from customers that are having problems with their phones. No signal, interference, echoing and other issues are common. My intentions for this post is to help you solve these issues without having to call customer service.

By far, the number one troubleshooting tip I can give to anyone that is having a problem of any kind with their cell phone is “power cycle” which simply means turning your phone off and right back on again. It is a simple but very effective way to solve issues and works, if I had to guess, about 80% of the time. So, before you call customer service, turn the phone off and back on. You are likely to save yourself a lot of time and effort.

A common issue I see is a person who is showing full signal on their phone, but when they make a call nothing happens and there is just “dead air.” Usually, this is caused because of a glitch in the system. As you move from place to place the tower you are getting your signal on passes you to the next tower as you move away from it. Generally this happens seamlessly and without you noticing anything except maybe a click if you are on a call when this happens. Occasionally the “hand off” does not occur properly and you become stuck on one tower. As you move away from the tower, your phone picks up the signal of the closer towers but your phone is still registered on the one you passed. Since you are too far away from the tower for it to “see” your phone, you cannot make a call. To fix it, simply power your phone off for about 5 minutes to allow your registration to cancel and power it back on to re-register on the proper tower.

Another reason to power cycle your phone is the fact that from time to time service providers send out “Over the Air” (OTA) downloads. These update the software and sometimes the firmware in your phone to ensure the phone knows what towers it is allowed to use and what towers it is not allowed to use. Like a computer, you must restart your phone for these updates to take effect. Because you do not know when these downloads are sent it is a good idea to power cycle your phone once a day or at a minimum once a week.

These are only a couple of reasons to power cycle your phone regularly. If you have any questions or suggestions of your own, please leave me a comment.