Cellular Data Not Working on Your iPhone? 7 Ways to Fix It

  • If cellular data is not working on your iPhone, there are several ways to potentially resolve the issue.
  • To fix your cellular data, try toggling both Airplane mode and Mobile Data in the Control Center and reset your SIM card.
  • Here are seven of the top ways to fix your iPhone when your cellular data isn’t working.

It’s the mundane problems with technology that are the most frustrating. Your iPhone is on and seemingly connected, for example, but you can’t get data in any apps and you see an error message in Safari that your phone isn’t connected to the internet. If you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi network, then clearly, your cellular data isn’t working — so what do you do? Here are the top seven ways to troubleshoot and solve your problem when cellular data isn’t working on your iPhone.

Turn off your Wi-Fi

Sometimes your iPhone can get caught between a Wi-Fi network and cellular, and stick with Wi-Fi even when that’s the wrong choice. If you are outside your home, for example, you might be just outside the practical range of your Wi-Fi network, and your iPhone should switch over to cellular data. But because the phone can still connect to your Wi-Fi network — barely — it stays connected, even though it can’t exchange any data. The remedy? Swipe down from the top right of the screen to see the Control Center and tap the Wi-Fi icon to temporarily disable it. Now your iPhone will be forced to switch over to cellular data and use that instead.

Toggle Airplane mode

While there are a lot of reasons your cellular data may not be working, one quick and easy trick that often gets it working again is to simply toggle your wireless connection off and back on again. Swipe down from the top right of the screen to see the Control Center and look for the Airplane mode icon. If it’s already on, that is probably your problem right there — Airplane mode disables cellular data, so it might have been disabled by accident. But if it’s off, tap the icon and wait a moment, then tap it again to turn your wireless back on.

The Control Center on the iPhone with Airplane mode highlighted.

Try toggling Airplane mode and Wi-Fi to address connectivity issues.

Dave Johnson/Insider

Toggle your Mobile Data setting

Similarly, you can control your iPhone’s mobile data from the Control Center, and it is possible that it was accidentally toggled off even if Airplane mode is not enabled. Swipe down from the top right of the screen to see the Control Center and look for the Mobile Data icon, which is an antenna to the right of Airplane mode. If it’s off, tap it to turn it on. Otherwise, tap it to disable, wait a moment, and tap it again to turn it back on. Now test your internet connection and see if that solved your problem.

The Control Center on the iPhone with Cellular Date highlighted.

You may be used to using Airplane mode, but there are times you may need to toggle the nearby but lesser-known Mobile Data button.

Dave Johnson/Insider

Check for a carrier setting update

While rare, it’s sometimes possible that your phone’s carrier settings might be to blame for your lack of data connectivity. That’s especially true if your cellular provider has recently updated its configuration and the changes failed to update automatically on your phone for some reason. To check for a carrier setting update, start the Settings app and then tap Generalfollowed by About. If there’s a carrier update available, you’ll be prompted to install it now.

Reset your SIM card

You might need to reset your SIM card, especially if it’s a new phone or you recently changed SIM cards. It’s not hard to do this, but you will need to find the SIM card removal tool that came with your phone. If that’s no longer around, you can also use a thin paper clip. Insert the tool into the hole near the SIM card tray and push gently but firmly until the tray pops out. Make sure the SIM card is seated properly in its tray and then carefully reinsert it. For more detailed instructions, here is how to remove a SIM card from an iPhone.

Person's hands removing a SIM card from an iPhone.

Pop the SIM card tray out, make sure the SIM card is seated properly, and carefully reinsert it.

Steven John/Insider

Restart your iPhone

Try to restart your iPhone. This can resolve a lot of network and connection-related problems, and only takes a few minutes to shut it off and then turn it back on again.

Reset your network settings

If nothing else has worked so far, it could be a result of corruption in your iPhone’s network settings, which might be cleared up by resetting your network settings. Save this troubleshooting step for last, because when you reset your network settings, all saved networks, paired Bluetooth devices and Wi-Fi passwords will be erased, so you’ll need to manually reconnect to all your favorite networks.

1. Start the Settings app.

2. Tap General.

3. Tap Transfer or Reset Phone.

4. Tap Reset.

5. In the pop-up menu, tap Reset Network Settings.

Network settings on the iPhone with the reset option highlighted.

As a last resort, you can reset your network settings to resolve a possibly corrupted network configuration.

Steven John/Insider

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