Google via Text Messaging and Other Secret Codes

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Did you know you can text message Google (466453) from your phone for information when a data connection isn't reliable? They'll actually text you back results within seconds, nearly as quick as a search query online! I just tested the feature this morning, inquiring "What's the weather forecast for Los Angeles?" and I was immediately texted the weekend forecast above.

There's also a tip I've seen for typing in *3370# to tap into "hidden battery power", but sadly and not surprisingly this didn't work with either the iPhone or Android devices (upon researching,  the code reportedly worked with some older feature phones from Nokia). If by chance you still use a non-smartphone, you might want to check this site for a collection of similar hidden feature codes.

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What does come in handy, at least for AT&T iPhone users, is dialing *3001#12345#* and press call.

Dial the sequence and you're granted a behind the curtain look using the Field Test app. From there you can further clarify the ambiguous and often unreliable reception bar graphic with a numerical signal measurement.

For example, I've long known I live in a weak 3G/LTE area of Los Angeles tucked between the bottom of two hills. But those 1-2 bars do not inform me specifically how weak the reception really is. Using the Field Test Code I was given a numeric signal rating (-102); the higher the number, the weaker the signal and the closer to zero the better. Obviously, I need a signal booster!

Like this more specific display instead of the default bars? You can make the numerical signal rating permanent by following these instructions: 

  • Phone *3001#12345#* and press call. 
  • Tap on the number from the Field Test screen.
  • Hold down on the Power button until you see the ‘slide to power off’ bar (don't slide!)
  • Now press and hold the Home button at the bottom until the "power off" slider disappears. Voila! Your phone will now display numbers instead of bars for more accurate readings.
  • To return back to a bar display, just follow the directions above, but tap the upper left to revert.

(Images: Gregory Han)