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How to make the most of your Solar Eclipse experience with your cellphone

Solar eclipse on a colorful sky.
m-gucci/Getty Images
On Monday, April 8, 2024, the Solar Eclipse will cross North America.

For you and millions of others like you, your cellphone will be your essential device during the Solar Eclipse. Luckily, network issues you may have experienced during 2017’s eclipse should be minimal this time.

“In 2017, we were still running off of 4G network,” said Jason Komenski, Area Retail Sales Manager at AT&T. “4G allows for thousands of connections at one time. We’re now on 5G. Specifically in Buffalo, we enhanced towers and networks over the last five years. 5G is millions of connections at one time. We’re anticipating a very good experience if you are going to be using your phone during this time.”

Text is Best

With the network being congested with a large number of people in the area, Komenski recommends text messaging as your first avenue of communication instead of a phone call.

“It takes up less bandwidth on the network,” said Komenski. “With 5G, the transfer of data in a text message has been seamless from 4G to 5G. So, if the network is congested, your texts and data will go through long before a phone call would.”

Sharing any photos or videos will also be best effective via text message.

Try to Connect to Wi-Fi

As many people flock to the area, it is recommended to use Wi-Fi, if possible, for a less affected connection. Phone calls can be made using Wi-Fi if needed. The more people connecting to Wi-Fi would limit any potential network congestion.

Streaming on social media would also be most efficient on a Wi-Fi connection if one is available.

Taking Pictures of the Eclipse

Since our phones will be nearby for this rare occasion, pictures will certainly be taken. There are some ways to do so safely.

“For those minutes that the eclipse is in its totality, feel free to point your phone out there for a video or a picture,” said Komenski. “They also have different solar filters and solar lenses you can purchase for your phone.”

Since you only have a few minutes to get the perfect picture, Komenski advises using the moon as your test subject for practice.

“If you’re practicing on the moon, point your camera out there and normally autofocus is good enough to focus our images,” said Komenski. “With this, you’ll probably have an issue with autofocusing. So, when you’re practicing on the moon, tap the moon on your screen which will give you a manual focus. It will highlight the moon, then if you hold down on the screen and slide up and down, that will adjust the exposure of the lens. That will make your picture as crisp as it can be.”

The Solar Eclipse is on Monday, April 8, 2024, and will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada.