Cellular data, mobile data, whatever you want to call it, is one of those things that only becomes a life necessity once you acquire your first smartphone. It’s only when you lose that precious connectivity that you realize you don’t know how to get anywhere without Google Maps, don’t have anything to read without Flipboard, and text people almost exclusively using WhatsApp.
Losing cellular data can be world-shattering (or at least a nuisance), so here are some tips on how to get it back.
The “Obvious” Stuff
Some will scoff at the very mention of suggestions like “reboot your phone” and “remove and reinsert your SIM card,” but these should always be the first port of call when trying fix mobile data issues. There’s an extra little trick to rebooting your phone that could help too:
- Before rebooting, turn on Airplane Mode
- Wait for 30 seconds, then turn Airplane Mode off
- If you still don’t have data, turn airplane mode back on, turn your phone off, wait for a minute, turn your phone back on, turn airplane mode off, wait for thirty seconds, then turn mobile data on.
If this fails, then try the following fixes.
Do You Have a Mobile Data Limit?
Every Android phone lets you set your own mobile data limits and warnings about when you’re about to reach your limit. These aren’t usually switched on by default, but maybe you set a limit previously, have since upgraded your tariff, and have forgotten to update your mobile data limit accordingly? To check this:
1. Go to “Settings -> Mobile Data/Data Usage” (depending on your device).
2. You’ll see a graph showing your data usage, along with a whole bunch of settings. Make sure your data limits in the graph correspond with what your network allows by dragging the limit up or down in the graph.
3. Alternatively, you can turn off all data limits by unticking the “Limit mobile data usage” box.
Reset Your APNs
Access Point Names (APNs) are the means by which your mobile network provider connects your phone to mobile internet. It sets your phone up with all the crucial settings like IP addresses and gateways to (hopefully) get you connected. However, this process can sometimes go wrong and require a reset. Here’s how to do it.
1. Go to “Settings -> Mobile Data/Wireless Controls/Wireless & Networks.”
2. Tap “Mobile Networks -> Access point names.”
3. You should see a list of APNs (potentially with only one network on them). Tap the menu icon at the top-right, then “Reset to default.”
Enter Your APN Settings Manually
It’s a sad but not uncommon occurrence for your APN settings to get out of whack after an Android software update, and if a standard reset doesn’t fix the problem then you may need to enter your APN address manually.
1. Go to your APN list using the method in the previous tip.
2. Tap the ‘+’ icon or the 3-dot menu button, then “New APN.”
4. Save your new APN settings, then select them from the APN list on your device.
Mobile data is a big deal in this day and age, and it’s useful to be able to get these fixes fixed in your memory should you encounter problems in an area without Wi-Fi to fall back on. After all, you won’t be able to look up the solutions on Make Tech Easier because you’ll be offline. So start revising (bonus points go to those who memorize their network’s APN settings!).