The next major Android version may allow carriers to hide their signal strengths, according to Android Open Source Project commits spotted by XDA Developers.
Checking signal strength is currently available in Android 8.0 Oreo, but the feature may be removed as soon as Android 9.0 P.
Android P To Allow Carriers To Hide Signal Strength
Currently, Android smartphone users can check the signal strength of their carrier by heading to the Sim Status menu under their device's Settings. The signal strength will be shown numerically, with lower dBm numbers meaning weaker signals.
However, according to a discovery made by XDA Developers, Android device owners who want to check their carrier's signal strength may soon be limited to looking at the five signal bars shown at the status bar at the top of the smartphone.
A commit discovered on the Android Open Source Project shows that Google is working on hiding signal strengths, depending on the carrier's preference. The feature was apparently requested by carriers, though it is unclear which ones did and why Google decided to accept it.
Android 9.0 P is expected to launch in 2018, with the first developer preview to arrive in late winter or early spring before a bigger unveiling at the annual Google I/O developers' conference in May. It remains to be seen whether the next major Android version will really allow carriers to hide their signal strengths, but it appears that the feature will indeed arrive soon.
Why This Should Matter To You
While the feature is not widely used, checking the exact signal strength reveals how carriers perform in certain areas. The signal strength determines the quality of calls, internet connections, and battery life, which makes it valuable information for all Android users.
Third-party apps, as the code stands, will still be allowed to monitor signal strength. However, Google may also place restrictions on such functions in the future, if the carriers request it.
The removal of the feature will deny customers the chance to monitor the service that carriers provide, for less oversight on the performance of the companies.
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