Will my cell service be impacted during the total solar eclipse?

CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — We’re about a week and a half away from the total solar eclipse, and not only are a lot of people expected to visit the Central New York region, but cell service will likely get pushed to the limit.

Many of you are probably wondering, will my cell phone service still work during the historic event? Or could the uptick in eclipse visitors put a strain on cell phone service? It’s a thought that’s crossed many people’s minds.

“The short answer is no. We don’t expect any sort of impact for the 2024 solar eclipse to have any impact on the operation of our network,” said Chris Serico, Verizon spokesperson.

But what about areas where there are a lot of people? Still no. Verizon says its customers shouldn’t be worried.

“We’re confident that the additional capacity that we’ve layered into the network over the last few years will accommodate any increases in data usage,” said Serico.

The same goes for AT&T customers, with the provider adding a lot has changed since the last eclipse in 2017, switching from 4G to 5G technology.

“4G technology could handle thousands of simultaneous calls, whereas 5G, and more importantly mid-band as we call, it 5G technology can handle millions of calls,” said Kevin Hanna, director of external affairs at AT&T.

With no issues expected on April 8.

“Eclipse or not, we monitor network performance 24/7. So our engineering staff and network staff are always on top of that,” said Hanna.

Verizon says there are ways to capture the historic event safely on your cell, starting with the type of phone you have.

“Ones that have an optical zoom will work best for this. Turn off the flash. The moon and the sun in front of it. You got plenty of light. Nature is providing all the light you need for that one,” said Serico.

Verizon has shared these tips for photographing the eclipse:

  • Make sure you have the latest and greatest smartphone for the best resolution (ones with optical zoom will be best)
  • Turn off the flash.
  • Don’t zoom into the eclipse (but do use optical telephoto if you have that option, like on Google Pixel 8 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S24+, etc.)
  • Use burst mode to best capture the eclipse’s diamond ring.
  • If your smartphone has the ability to shoot in RAW mode, use it to capture a more natural eclipse image.
  • A smartphone lens cover will help you see the moon begin to eclipse the sun (and possibly spot some sunspots along the way).
    • (Lens covers don’t necessarily double, however, as solar-eclipse glasses, though, so make sure your solar-eclipse glasses are CE and ISO-certified before using them.)
  • If you have a tripod and a smartwatch that can operate your phone’s camera, you can stabilize your shot in advance and then record with a corresponding app on your watch so you don’t have to disrupt your shot during filming.
  • There are also smartphone apps (including NASA’s) that can help you prepare for, track and safely enjoy the eclipse – whether or not you’re on its path.

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