Measuring Wi-Fi signal strength from iOS

Updated

Q: Is there an app I can get for my iPhone that will actually let me walk around and measure the strength of my Wi-Fi network in various parts of my house? I’m trying to figure out the best place to put my Wi-Fi router and the normal Wi-Fi indicator on the iPhone seems kind of random to me.

– Ken

A: Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t allow third-party developers direct access to the hardware in iOS devices, which makes it difficult to develop an app that can monitor things like actual Wi-Fi signal strength.

That said, however, there are a few apps out there that can work around this by monitoring secondary factors, such as network throughput. Apps like Speedtest.net can measure network performance on-demand over both a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, and there are several others that perform similar functions.

Following along these lines, Network Multimeter uses a similar design but displays the information in real-time as you’re walking around your house. Again, this app won’t measure actual Wi-Fi signal strength, but it does measure data throughput, based on an actual file transfer or a network “ping” response out to the Internet, and uses this information to provide near instantaneous feedback on the conditions where you’re currently standing. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s likely the best approach you’re going to find as a result of Apple’s iOS limitations.

Photo of author

Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.