Where has iOS 11 Field Test mode signal bars strength indicator gone on iPhone in the latest firmware version? We try and explain it all here.

Companies like Apple may make a song and dance about new features added to major new platforms, such as those added into iOS 11, but that doesn’t mean a device doesn’t contain miscellaneous inclusions or small easter eggs which are fun to discover and experience. One such feature, called Field Test mode, has been accessible in all versions of iOS to date and still is with iOS 11, but one of the most important aspects of it has been removed without any warning from Apple.

Anyone who has been a very loyal reader of ours will likely vaguely remember that back in 2011 we let you know about this secret hidden Field Test mode on Apple’s mobile devices. This hidden feature basically unlocks a number of items of interest which are generally locked away and not accessible through the menu systems on the device. Purely from an interest perspective, device owners used this feature to convert signal bars on the device to a numerical figure which represented how strong their signal actually was. The number was displayed in decibels, and simply put, the closer to zero it was then the stronger the signal was.

It really acted as a very accurate and interesting way of seeing how different locations and environment types directly affected the signal received on the device in exact numerical values instead of the usual graphical indicators.

We aren’t exactly sure how many people used and interacted with that feature, but as thing stands with iOS 11, it has been entirely removed. The Field Test mode is still active, which a user can enter by inputting *3001#12345#* on the Phone app’s dial pad and then invoking a call to that number. Most of the options are still active but the conversion from signal bars to decibels have actually been removed for one reason or another.

It’s probably likely that only Apple will ever know why this information has been obfuscated from the user, and it’s actually possible that it could make a reappearance in later versions of iOS 11 as time progresses. It’s not exactly one of those features that will make or break the user-experience for those people running an iPhone, but for those who regularly made use of it, and who like having that additional power, it will be a miss. Let’s hope that Apple brings it back in future versions of iOS 11.x.

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