Join us at TNW Conference 2022 for insights into the future of tech →

The heart of tech

This article was published on July 10, 2014

OpenSignal’s crowdsourced cellular coverage app for iPhone just got way more useful

OpenSignal’s crowdsourced cellular coverage app for iPhone just got way more useful
Paul Sawers
Story by

Paul Sawers

Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.

We’re big fans of OpenSignal, the London-based startup that creates maps of mobile phone network coverage based on information crowdsourced from smartphone users.

OpenSignal has emerged as one of the biggest independent sources of data on the speed and coverage of mobile phone carriers around the world. Rather than relying on coverage maps provided by networks themselves, OpenSignal gathers this information directly from users and opens it to anyone, so they can see for themselves which ones offer the best coverage where they are.

Up until last April, OpenSignal garnered the chunk of its data from Android users only, but with its arrival on iPhone, it was in theory able to double-up on the data it can access. And now, 15 months on, OpenSignal is rolling out a substantial overhaul to its iPhone app.

Design with iOS 7 in mind

While iOS 8 may almost be upon us, OpenSignal is only now bringing its iPhone app up to speed with iOS 7, making use of enhanced permissions that weren’t available in iOS 6 and earlier.

This also effectively brings it into line with the Android incarnation, as it can now collect data in the background when the app isn’t active, meaning users are able to contribute much more to the project. It’s worth noting here that you can still opt-out of having it running in the background by going to your Settings, but with it switched on, this should mean better coverage maps from OpenSignal in the future.

Photo 09-07-2014 17 19 47
   
Photo 09-07-2014 17 20 29

In addition to a completely fresh interface designed with iOS 7 in mind (read: ‘flat‘), the iPhone incarnation also now sports better stats that reveal how your network has been working over a specific period of time – for example, how long you’ve had a good 3G connection for this past month, how long you’ve had no signal for, and how much data you’ve used compared to the typical user.

Photo 09-07-2014 17 19 57
   
Photo 09-07-2014 17 20 17

To date, OpenSignal has had around 7.5 million downloads on Android, and nearly half-a-million on iOS, so it already has a considerable global, cross-platform reach. But today heralds a welcome update for OpenSignal, and you can download the updated version from the App Store now.

OpenSignal | App Store