How to Fix Cellular Data Not Working on iPhone and iPad

Fix Cellular Data Ios Featured

Sometimes your cellular data will stop working on your iPhone or iPad. Assuming you are not just in a poor coverage area, there are a few generalized steps you can take that will fix a lot of cellular data not working bugs.

The Obvious Stuff

If you contact the Genius Bar or your cell carrier regarding your troubles, the first thing you’ll hear is “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” Restarting is troubleshooting 101 because it works so well, so make sure you give it a shot first.

Hold down the power button on your iPhone until the “Slide to Power Off” slider appears, slide it to the right, then switch on your iPhone again after it’s turned off.

Also, go to “Settings -> Cellular” and make sure that your cellular data is actually switched on. Like we said, obvious stuff but you never know…

1. Re-insert SIM Card

Fix Cellular Data Not Working Iphone Sim Card

One of the first things you should try is removing and reinserting your SIM card. While it’s unlikely that the card got dirty or dusty while in your phone, reinserting forces your phone to re-read the card, and can jolt your cellular data back to life.

The order you should do this in is:

  • Power off your iPhone
  • Remove the SIM card
  • Re-insert the SIM card
  • Power your phone back on

2. Switch On Data Roaming

It may sound counterintuitive, but a lot of people who experienced iPhone data outage have found this to be a reliable solution. Specifically, after certain iOS updates, some devices have been affected by a bug which caused the OS to get confused about when you’re roaming.

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If you think you have this bug, go to “Settings -> Mobile Data -> Mobile Data Options”, then switch on “Data Roaming” and reboot your device.

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Obviously, this is a workaround to what will hopefully be a temporary bug, but if you do go abroad and still have roaming on, remember to switch it off as otherwise you might face a nasty phone bill.

3. Reset Network Settings

If cellular data stubbornly refuses to cooperate, we may need to reset the network settings completely. This will wipe out any saved Wi-Fi networks while resetting your cellular data settings to their defaults. This means resetting your network settings can also fix Wi-Fi problems, if you’re having any of those.

1. Open the Settings app.

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2. Scroll down and tap the “General” menu option.

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3. Scroll to the bottom and tap the “Reset” menu option.

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4. Choose “Reset Network Settings” in the middle of the screen.

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5. Enter your iPhone or iPad’s pass code to authorize the reset.

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6. Tap “Reset Network Settings” to confirm the reset.

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4. Toggle Airplane Mode

If, for some reason, your iPhone or iPad has gotten confused, toggling cellular data on and off can “reset” the connection and solve the problem.

1. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to open Command Center.

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2. Press the “Airplane mode” icon.

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3. Wait a few moments for the iPhone’s radios to turn off.

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4. Tap the “Airplane mode” icon again.

5. Wait for the device to reconnect.

5. Check for Carrier Updates

If you’re suffering from a genuine bug, you might find relief in a carrier update. These are issued infrequently, but you’ll need to be on the latest version to troubleshoot properly.

1. Open the Settings app.

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2. Scroll down and tap the “General” menu option.

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3. Tap the “About” menu option.

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4. Wait a moment. If you get a popup titled “Carrier Settings Update.” then click “Update.”

6. Check for iOS Updates

If there’s no carrier update, there might be an updated version of iOS. We can check for that in roughly the same place.

1. Open the Settings app.

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2. Scroll down and tap the “General” menu option.

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3. Under “General” tap “Software Update.”

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4. If an update is available, install the update. Your phone will restart during this process.

7. Perform a Backup and Factory Reset

For the most stubborn problems, you might want to try returning your phone to factory defaults. You’ll need to make a backup of your device first to ensure you don’t lose any data.

1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to a computer and create an iTunes backup of your device. Make sure you create an encrypted backup. Only encrypted backups will store Health and Keychain data.

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2. Once the backup is complete, press the “Restore Backup” button to begin the restoration process.

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3. When the restoration completes, check to see if your data works better.

8. Perform a factory reset

Optionally, you could leave the phone in its “like new” state, which might have removed an app or service that was messing up your cellular data. If you want to do that, make a backup anyway: you might regret it if you don’t.

1. Open the Settings app.

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2. Scroll down and tap the “General” menu option.

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3. Scroll to the bottom and tap the “Reset” menu option.

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4. Tap “Erase All Content and Settings” to completely wipe your iPhone.

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5. Enter your pass code to authorize the operation.

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6. Tap “Erase iPhone” to confirm the operation.

Conclusion

If the cellular data isn’t working on your iPhone or iPad, you can use the above options to fix it. They’re fairly general, but they’ll work in nearly any case. Of course, if you have hardware problems, software solutions won’t fix it. In that case you’ll need to get the device replaced.

This article was first published in Sept 2015 and was updated in July 2019.

29 comments

  1. Had this data problem and never found a human with an answer. I tried all the above tricks and others without luck

    However, here is the answer. My iPhone 5c did not update the APN automatically. (Probably a Verizon trick, though I am paranoid.) It is simple to reconfigure a proper APN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC-xJ9rCTXU explains the idea. I merely went to unlockit.co.zn, a company that will remotely find your APN and install it. Took no time.
    Yes, you want to create a new APN, when asked.

    1. VPNs have very quirky features, No tech support person could solve my wifi (lack of) connection from my iPhone6 . I bit the bullet and went to the nearest Apple Store. As you can guess it was very busy but after a two hour wait, the technician fixed it in 4 minutes Turn OFF the VPN when you are on a secure network.

  2. goto settings then cellular.

    scroll down and look for safari. click and turn it green. This should solve your problem.

  3. i have i phone 6 and i have not updated it , for some reason i have change my passcode but after that sopme of my app like safari browser are not working on internet ,nd automatically mobile data is off for them , please suggest me what to do . thank you

    1. Can you try updating your phone to the latest version of iOS first? Once you’ve done that, make sure that mobile data is turned on for the apps in Data settings.

    2. Why does my iphone keep saying searching and I have no service . I tryed taking the sim card out and putting it back in and tryed restartingbit and still nothing need help please finding out what’s wrong

  4. Thanks. I had this ‘You are not subscribed to a mobile data service’ crop up (for first time ever) on an iPhone 5s, using Optus as its mobile data carrier.

    Carrier suggested ‘Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings’, but problem persisted. I then tried myself ‘Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings’, which is No. 3 in this list, and that did fix the problem. Hope others find helpful, as web not greatly informative on this problem.

  5. good day Lads,

    when i update my IOS to the latest version, its sucks ciz my data is not working anymore except wifi connection.

    i already reset everything to make my data’s working but still pretty the same i cant connect.
    i dunno what to do.

    much appleciate for any helpfull tips.

    regards / thankzzz

    1. I have the same problem. Can u tell me if u were able to fix it?

  6. I tried all the above and didn’t work.
    What worked for me was to go into APN settings and give it a name (I used my first name), and then give the same name to personal hotspot (on the same page). And that fixed my mobile data.

    1. Where is the APN settings?

    2. Wow! I tried everything the article suggested and nothing worked fot my ipad pro. Got a little upset already, no one knew what’s going on. And your suggestion fixed it all!
      Though i can not figure out what differnce does it make whether it has a name or not.

      Still thanks alot!!

  7. I have a iPhone 6 and data doesn’t work even though i have the signal of LTE! When putting the sim in it did work for a min.
    Someone please help me!!

  8. Have an iphone 5. All of a sudden I can’t make or receive calls (no cellular connection – all dots are blank) yet I can text, receive texts, and receive voicemails. Have tried new SIM card and all of the above (except factory reset). Is my only hope a new phone like my carrier says?

    1. If that’s what your carrier says you need, I would suggest following the instructions. It sounds like something went bad inside the phone in some way. It’s cell radios might not be working properly which is not repairable.

  9. Hi
    i tried evryting what you suggest but noting worked out whit my Ipad Air. Before i did not have any problems with my cellular. At the moment i found that it is showing me only 4G connection not 3G. Add your suggestion.

    Many thanks

  10. #1 worked for me,. Turned roaming on shut down iPad, brought it back up, turned roaming off. Worked!! Thank you!!

  11. Hi. I’ve been having problems with 4g on iPad mini since July. Having spoken, at length, to o2 and Apple, turns out that an os update has removed a crucial option needed to register/manage the SIM. Used to go to Settings>Mobile Data>Manage Account. Last option enabled me to view how much data I’d used/had left (or top up if needed). Last option has now disappeared so new SIMs can’t be registered. Guy at Apple assured me (yesterday) that he was, personally, going to ensure that this was going to be sorted. Watch this space!! At the moment, I can only use Wi-fi.

    1. Wow, that’s a novel and frustrating bug! Thanks for posting here, your post might help someone resolve a problem with their own device.

      1. Guy from Apple rang up again yesterday (yes, on a Sunday!) – there are a few more things they want to try before they pass it on to the engineers. They’re still working on the problem at their end and they know that the problem is not unique to me! We’re going to try out some different things on Wednesday. Incidentally, I have followed all your listed suggestions except for the factory reset…

    2. Wow, I had to do a double take because this is exactly what’s happening for me and my name is also Anne. Also spoke with apple (in store and online support) and att, and did a full factory reset. No solution yet. Mine also stopped working in November and still no cellular service. Do you have a solution yet?

  12. Thank you resetting the network settings did the trick! Suddenly my iPhone 7 phone would not receive texts, email or phone calls unless I was on WiFi but it only happened at the building I work in.

  13. Alexander – Thanks so much for posting these fixes – my cellular data did not work after installing system updates on my iPad ( twice ) and your fix #2 worked both times to get it going. Many thanks !
    Jim

  14. Hey there, I have also tried everything, nothing works, tho I havent tried factory reset, because I dont know how to get all my settings back as it is.
    Could you please do a follow up what happens after clicking Factory reset ie: how to ensure all my settings are back to what it is/was post-reset?

  15. Even my carrier could not solve my problem with LTE for one week. Tried step by step on this website and Data roaming option is culprit.
    Turned on data roaming, reset network settings and it works.
    Kudos!!

  16. I had the issue listed in the article. Some apps worked and some did not. For those that did not work, I had to switch on WiFi to use them. This was not practical. I tried updating the iOS to the latest and greatest as mentioned in the article. And lo and behold !! things started to work for me again

  17. Thanks I got my cellular back on my iphone 5. Surprisingly it was the data roaming that eventually worked. I tried:
    1. Power off power on – nothing
    2. General reset of network settings followed by power off power on – nothing.
    3. Take out and reinsert SIM card. Then power off on – nothing.
    4. Finally I saw your comment about roaming so I tried turning roaming off, and voila, my cellular reception returned.

    Just wanted you to know that this article is still helping people with older iphones. Thanks for the suggestions.

  18. I have not been able to browse with my since last night, I try connecting it with wifi but still nothing , pls what can I do

  19. hi, i have tried everything on that list besides backing up my phone and restarting it all and it didn’t work.. please help

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