How to Fix Mobile Data Not Working on Android

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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 connectivity that you realize you don’t know how to get anywhere without Google Maps, don’t have anything to read without Flipboard, and don’t know how to communicate with people through any medium other than WhatsApp.

When mobile data stops working on Android, it’s world-shattering, in other words. Here are some tips on how to get it back.

Starting with the simplest solution, it’s possible that during an update, or simply in the phone’s default settings, the network mode (3G, 4G, etc.) of your phone is set to one that doesn’t offer optimal coverage.

If you have a 4G phone, for example, you should always make sure 4G is selected in your network modes to catch those sweet 4G rays. Or if your phone isn’t 4G but you’re running on an OS that features it as a network mode (by rooting, for example), your phone may be trying to connect to 4G signals that it’s not capable of.

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Changing this is simple. Go to “Settings -> Mobile data -> Network mode,” then switch to the one that best suits your phone. As my phone is a 4G, I go for 2G/3G/4G Auto so that it always tries to connect to the best signal available.

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 to fix mobile data issues. Another option is to test your phone with another SIM card to see if the issue originates in the phone or the card.

There’s also an extra little trick to rebooting your phone that could help:

  • 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.

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If this fails, then try the following fixes.

Access Point Names (APNs) are the means by which your mobile network provider connects your phone to the 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. The following shows 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.”

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This option doesn’t exist in the APN settings of all phones, but some devices (like the OnePlus 3) give you the option of leaving the APN Protocol field blank. If that’s the case in your network’s APN settings, make sure it says IPv4/IPv6 instead. Likewise, with other devices make sure it says this rather than just one of the two.

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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 three-dot menu button, then “New APN.”

3. Enter all the APN details for your network. There’s a decent list of US, Canadian and UK APN settings here and a more comprehensive list of UK APN settings here.

4. Save your new APN settings, then select them from the APN list on your device.

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Every Android phone lets you set your own mobile data limits and warnings for 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.

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There it is — the key to getting you back online just when you thought you’d have to start resorting to paper maps and pigeon mail to communicate with people.

Of course, it’d be ideal if there was a universal, single fix for issues with your mobile data, but the tech world just isn’t that simple anymore. If you’ve tried all the above but you still can’t connect, then you should contact your mobile provider for a new SIM card.

This article was published in October 2016 and was updated in May 2018.

39 comments

  1. But I can’t get into my data network or mobile date to do any of this. I put a new Sims card into the phone and it’s active but is tell me no Sims card is in phone

  2. Mobile data started working for me after I followed this:
    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.

    This was after I struggled for two days getting through to my network provider, who promised to share the required network settings that never came. I was actually sceptical that a resolution as simple as the one given would work, but it did!
    Thank you!

  3. When I go through the steps and get to where th r APNovember should be it is not ty here at all on a brand new Galaxy Note 5.

  4. I tried the APN reset idea, but the “Reset APN” option as well as the “+” symbol was greyed out. Any thoughts? I can only get it to work if I keep turning mobile data off and then on again, but it never stays on and working.

  5. I’ve tried so many options, I’ve tried setting the giffgaff APN for doogee, I’ve tried setting the EE Internet APN. I’ve taken out my sim and put it back in, I tried the method of turning on/off the aeroplane mode, but my mobile data still does not turn on. I bought data for 1 week, and I cannot get it to work, please help!

  6. On the contrary, Mobile Data is not just for Smartphones…
    So fixes should be completely offered as well as the sources that use Mobile Data.
    What about cord-cutters, low-incomes, non-profits, schools and libraries that use mobile data mostly from Sprint in Wi-Fi and the issued Sprint branded hotspot devices Sprint allows.
    This all came about in that legal agreement and/or FCC deal where Sprint bought the Clear/ClearWire spectrum or something to that effect and has to supply this mobile data option till mid-2030’s.

    Sprints got a 1-million high-school program for free hotspots and service going across the country right now too….

    Where’s that hotspot / public Wi-Fi applications mentioned here in the subject of mobile data? Are you limited on word count of an article here? Failed to realize these other applications to mobile data use?
    What then ? Please be complete and update this article…
    What about posting APN’s of carries for people as well on smartphones?

    • Nite Thunder, I just got here and the title of the article is “How to fix mobile data on Android”. So it appears that the people who are getting something out of this article are looking to resolve an issue with an ANDROID based SMART PHONE, not a problem with “cord-cutters, low-incomes, non-profits, schools and libraries that use mobile data mostly from Sprint in Wi-Fi and the issued Sprint branded hotspot devices….” I don’t see any mention of ” that hotspot / public Wi-Fi applications ” actually written here so when you say “mentioned here in the subject of mobile data?”, are you reading the same article as I? I see, “When mobile data stops working on Android, …. Here are some tips on how to get it back” written just below the article intro, before it gets into how to fix the issue of data not working on android. Therefore, I doubt word count or recognition of the “other applications to mobile data use”, or” posting of APN’s” for anything other than the subject in the title of this article would be of any interest or use to others who came here to figure out HOW TO GET MOBILE DATA WORKING ON THEIR ANDROID. Just my observation.

  7. I am running a blu dash j devise.
    That’s android 4.4.2 KitKat.
    I followed all the steps and still my data won’t turn on

  8. My ZTE model z835 is facing network problem when searching for network operator even no Signal bar appears but the sim card shows it is in

  9. Ok, here’s my issue: I took out the SIM card out of a Moto E to put in another (Moto E) phone, and my data turned ON in the OLD phone! When I go to turn the data off, the “switch” icon to turn the data off is not there. I have an identical phone that I moved the SIM card to and the icon is visible on that phone. I there a way to turn the data OFF on the old phone?? I’ve googled and can’t find mention of this anywhere! I still need some of the information from the old phone… It’s a Moto E if that helps.
    Anyone out there with any ideas??

  10. I had problem with samsung phone; though mobile data was turned on internet connectivity was not shown and not connected. I been to mobile sim services and enabled international roaming; this reset network connectivity and disabled international roaming again. after that it started working.

  11. Thanks a million. I was fed up of customer care’s advise of taking off the sim, cleaning it and inserting it back.

    You hit the bulls eye… setting APN to default worked. Thanks again

  12. My ZTE model z835 is facing network problem when searching for network operator even no Signal bar appears but the sim card shows it is in

  13. I am impressed.
    I spent 45 minutes on the phone with an Indian guy who couldn’t speak English and never got the data to work on my phone.
    I spent five minutes reading your suggestions and lo and behold, my phone is working as it should be.
    Thank you.

  14. My homtom ht 37 pro won’t work as a phone. Apparently it is on GSM which is no longer used in Australia. I select both 3g & 4g but it still doesn’t work. I’ve reset it back to factory set many times but everything is to no avail. I can only use it like a tablet using my home WiFi. I need a phone and don’t want to have to buy another.

  15. HOT DAMN! Googled “no data” and “no data service on my android” subject popped up so I scrolled down past 1st suggestion and what people ask and the videos and found your link. BINGO!!!

    I’d brought a Verizon LG phone to AT&T network. Initially, phone service wouldn’t work (No Network Msg). Took it to AT&T, rep said, “Yeah, it probably won’t work since it was a Verizon phone, but we’ve got great phones!” No, thank you. “OK, well, try calling Verizon.” OK. Went home; I took out the SIM and reinserted it, but I didn’t call Verizon until much later and then, when I looked at the phone after I powered it on, it had a network. “Thank you Verizon, but apparently the issue has resolved itself.” Either SIM remove/insert fixed, or provisioning to the SIM was VERY delayed (I’d been waiting 2 days for service after activation). Next, I discovered while out and about, no internet connection I’d been on WiFi at home). Hmmmm, I know the plan has data…..go to the AT&T store, rep confirms data is set up on account, “All your setting in your phone are correct for you to have access to the internet, it probably won’t work because it’s a Verizon phone, but we have some great phones!” No, thank you. “Ok, you’ll need to call technical support from another phone because they’ll probably have you do some things to this LG phone and it’ll be easier to make the call from a different phone while you do that.” Ok. Just now, before trying to call AT&T technical support, I googled, found the info, LOOKED AT THE VIDEO (very helpful because the written instructions said nothing about saving it, so until I looked at the video I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep these settings if I hit the back button), and PRESTO!!!!! Success!!! Yea! TY TY TY TY. I feel so tech savvy now, I’m about to go to the AT&T and school them!

  16. Go to APN Setting and delete it and now Click on More > Default APN setting and now You will get your signal.
    Magic. enjoy

  17. I lost my 3G Samsung Blackberry (2008 LOL) and bought a new Android (7) phone on Amazon and a new sim card at the ATT store. Worked great for the first week. Then data stopped moving on the mobile network (phone and SMS still worked). Tried every suggestion in this article, multiple times. Went back to ATT, thinking it was a bad sim card. They went through the same checklist, didn’t resolve issue. They spent 90 minutes scratching their head, finally one of them says check the IMEI numbers in our system. Turns out that if the IMEI (phone serial number) is not updated in the ATT billing system, using newer generation phone to move data through their mobile network will stop working at some point. Apparently this is just an issue for newer phones and older phones don’t need an updated IMEI to continue working.

  18. Nothing actually works. I’m currently in the APN settings and there’s just two options that are grey and inaccessible. There’s not a + in sight and I tried all your other suggestions. I’m working with an LG Tribute HD. My provider is Virgin Mobile. I’m thinking I’m going to have to contact them (hahahahaha *dies of sarcastic laughter*)

  19. Thank u for creating this blog. It was very very useful. APN setting was changed and ur suggestion helped.
    I am very happy. Thank you once again.

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