If you've ever lost a strong signal on a smartphone, this trick may get you back online in 2 seconds. The last time my family went on a fairly long trip by car we drove through a rural part of the country. I heard a simultaneous "I don't have internet!" I've been on that stretch of I-65 before and I should have known it was coming. One kid had no service, another's signal dropped to the dreaded 1x and my wife had only a 3G signal. So what happened?

In those rural areas there aren't as many cell towers as there are in cities. That might not always cause huge delays for residents there but if you're moving quickly, like down an interstate it can leave your phone in a 'no-cell land'. Here's what happens behind the scenes or under the hood:

When a cellphone connects to a tower it stays connected as long as there's a good signal. If a better signal is detected, as when you're traveling, the phone will automatically switch to the nearest tower or strongest signal. We never notice that's going on until there's a lapse. Sometimes the phone can connect to the stronger signal quickly but sometimes the hand-off takes a minute because the good signals are far apart. That's why you hit those dead zones. 

To speed up the process just turn on Airplane Mode for a few seconds then turn it on again. By turning on Airplane Mode you're turning off all of the phone's radio signals. When you turn it on again it will ignore the tower it was connected to previously and connect to the strongest signal.

This won't remedy the issue when you're in the middle of nowhere and there's no signal for your carrier but that rarely happens now that wireless carriers have largely spaced out towers to cover most of the country.