How to Switch Cell Phone Towers on Your Phone

By Mandy Slake

Updated September 28, 2017

Cell pones switch to the closest tower automatically, but you can force the process by power cycling.
i Cell Phone Tower image by Jim Mills from

Cell phones work by transmitting radio signals to the nearest cellular tower. The signal strength displays in the form of bars that appear at the top of the phone's screen. The more bars the phone has, the better the signal. Usually the phone will switch from one tower to the next automatically, but sometimes the signal gets stuck on a tower that's farther away. That's when you have problems with low or no signal. You can encourage your phone to switch towers by power cycling the phone.

Press the power button and hold it down until the phone powers off. Some phones have a dedicated power button, but on most phones it's the END key. Look for a key with a circle symbol with a vertical line through the top.

Wait a few seconds.

Press down on the power button until the phone comes back on again. The phone will power on and immediately search for the nearest tower.


On CDMA carriers, you can update the phone's list of roaming towers by dialing *228.