We’ve all been desperate for cell service. Maybe you were at a music festival, or out in the woods, or just in your parents’ backyard when your phone lost a connection. You probably instinctively threw your arm in the sky in an attempt to get better reception.
I don’t know why we do this. It’s just a thing we’ve started doing. Does it help? No, not really.
I talked to Lin Zhong, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University, about this common behavior and whether it actually helps. He firmly said no. Lin tells me, as you can see in the video above, that cell reception is mostly homogenous around us. Lifting your arm won’t change your service, but, he says, walking could wrangle you more bars, especially if you’re in a city. Cell reception can be questionable in cities because buildings affect how the signal reaches your device. Walking even a few feet might change how the signal reaches you.
So stop raising your arm to the sky, it isn’t helping.