iPhone Cellular Data Not Working? Here’s The Real Fix!

Cellular Data is not working on your iPhone and you aren’t sure why. Cellular Data allows you to surf the web, send iMessages, and much more even when your iPhone isn’t connected to Wi-Fi. In this article, I’ll show you what to do when iPhone Cellular Data is not working so you can fix the problem for good!

Turn Off Airplane Mode

First, let’s make sure that Airplane mode is turned off. When Airplane Mode is turned on, Cellular Data is automatically turned off.

To turn off Airplane Mode, open the Settings app and turn off the switch next to Airplane Mode. You’ll know Airplane Mode is off when the switch is white and positioned to the left.

make sure the switch next to airplane mode is off

You can also turn off Airplane Mode by opening Control Center and tapping the Airplane Mode button. You’ll know Airplane Mode is off when the button is gray and white, not orange and white.

airplane mode control center off vs on

Turn On Cellular Data

Now that we’re sure Airplane Mode is off, let’s make sure cellular data is on. Go to Settings -> Cellular and turn on the switch next to Cellular Data at the top of screen. You’ll know Cellular Data in on when the switch is green.

make sure cellular data switch is turned on

If Cellular Data is already on, try toggling the switch off and back on. This will give Cellular Data a fresh start, just in case it’s not working because of a minor software glitch.

Restart Your iPhone

If iPhone Cellular Data is not working even though it’s turned on in the Settings app, try restarting your iPhone. It’s possible your iPhone’s software or a specific app has crashed, preventing Cellular Data from working.

To turn off your iPhone 8 or earlier, press and hold the power button until “slide to power off” appears near the top of the display. If you have an iPhone X, press and hold either volume button and the side button until “slide to power off” appears.

Then, slide the red and white power icon from left to right to turn off your iPhone. Wait a few seconds, then press and hold the power button (iPhone 8 or earlier) or the side button (iPhone X) until the Apple logo flashes onto the center of the screen.

slide to power off power icon on iphone

Check For A Carrier Settings Update

Our next step when iPhone Cellular Data is not working is to check for a carrier settings update. Apple and your wireless carrier release updates in order to help your iPhone connect to your wireless carrier’s network more efficiently.

Usually when a carrier settings update is available, you’ll receive a pop-up on your iPhone that says “Carrier Settings Update”. Whenever this pop-up appears on your iPhone, always tap Update.

Carrier Settings Update On iPhone

You can also manually check for a carrier settings update by going to Settings -> General -> About. If a carrier settings update is available, a pop-up will appear on your display within 15 seconds. If no pop-up appears, there probably isn’t a carrier settings update available, so let’s move onto the next step.

Eject and Reinsert Your SIM Card

Your iPhone’s SIM card is the piece of technology that stores your phone number, allows you to connect to your wireless carrier’s network, and much more. When iPhone Cellular Data is not working, sometimes removing and reinserting your SIM card can give it a fresh start and second chance to connect to your wireless carrier’s network correctly.

Removing a SIM card can be a bit tricky because the SIM card tray on the side of your iPhone is so small. Check out our guide on ejecting SIM cards to make sure you do it correctly!

Reset Network Settings

If Cellular Data still isn’t working on your iPhone after you’ve reinserted your SIM card, it’s time to troubleshoot for a more significant software issue. When you reset network settings, all of your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Cellular, and VPN settings are restored to factory defaults. After resetting the network settings, it’ll be like you’re connecting your iPhone to your carrier’s cellular network for the very first time.

To Reset Network Settings on an iPhone, go to Settings -> General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings. Then, tap Reset Network Settings when the confirmation pop-up appears.

After tapping reset network settings, your iPhone will restart. When your iPhone turns back on, the network settings have been reset!

DFU Restore Your iPhone

If resetting network settings didn’t fix your iPhone’s Cellular Data issue, our final software troubleshooting step is to perform a DFU restore. A DFU restore will erase, then reload all of the code on your iPhone and reset everything to factory defaults. Before performing a DFU restore, we recommend saving a backup of the data on your iPhone so you don’t lose any important information.

Contact Your Wireless Carrier

If you’ve made it this far and iPhone Cellular Data is not working, it’s time to contact your wireless carrier. It’s possible that cellular data isn’t working because your wireless carrier is doing maintenance on their cell towers. Search for your carrier’s customer support number and give them a call to see if they can help you fix the problem.

Cellular Data: Working Again!

Cellular Data is working again and you can continue to browse the web and send texts using wireless data! Next time iPhone Cellular Data is not working, you’ll know exactly where to come for the solution. Thanks for reading!

About Author

David Lynch is an expert on cell phones, cell phone plans, and other tech. After using a flip phone into his early 20s, he learned the ropes about iPhones and Androids from a former Apple employee. Today, his articles and videos are read and viewed by millions, and he has been cited by major publications including Reader's Digest, Wired, CMSWire, Consumers Advocate, and more.

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1 month ago

Thanks bro you are a genius

3 months ago

About the issue with mobile data roaming: What did help me and it is not mentioned in this article was to fill in the APN columns in Settings -> Mobile Data -> Mobile Data network. The APN depends on your home carrier, you can look it up on it’s website. I have iphone8 ios15.3.1 and HOT.at carrier in the EU.

Dawa Phuntsho
3 months ago

LTE is on but no network. Here’s the fix.
First disable your iPhone by entering wrong screen lock password. Then connect your iPhone to the computer. When you press power button and volume down button, connect your iTunes button will appear , then release the button. Then restore the iOS in the iPhone.
I have same problem for a few months and the solutions in the web didn’t work for me. Finally I have tried my own solution and it worked.
I use iOS 15.3.1 (iPhone 8)

Last edited 3 months ago by Dawa Phuntsho
Centered You
4 months ago

You are Genius!

4 months ago

why can I use my cellular data on some apps and not on others? I’ve triple checked my data isn’t restricted for those apps and one day it was working and now it’s just not.

4 months ago
Reply to  savanna

Mine does the same, I can only use cellular data on Snapchat, instagram, and sometimes my messages anything else doesn’t work

5 months ago

Hi. I started having the issue mentioned in this article a few months ago. I’ve performed all of the “fixes” numerous times without success. I suspected it may have been my cellular carrier and since we were unhappy with their service anyway switched to another company. Unfortunately, the problem persisted. Tonight I backed up the phone, erased it, performed a factory reinstall, then migrated my backup data back to the phone. The issue still isn’t resolved. Is there anything else left to try or does this indicate that there is a physical problem with the iPhone X itself? (FYI: No… Read more »

6 months ago

Hello, I’m just wondering if you can help me. My phone has calling credit and things and it keeps saying No Service. Then, it says Vodafone UK. I have tried everything above & it still isn’t working. I suffer with epilepsy. I need my phone more than anything. I don’t have a mail address.

6 months ago

What is the meaning of heart icons in top left of the screen beside Wi-Fi? I can’t seem to see the data is working or not because no signal icons need help.

9 months ago

The other day my provider had a problem and I had no service. But my iPhone would not run any app on Cell Data. All my settings were correct. I did some research and determined that the phone would not use Cell Data IF I had a WiFi connection. But I didn’t have WiFi. UNLESS!!!!! My Router sends out my network signals and it was doing that. I could log onto my Router but it couldn’t get to my provider. My Cell provider told me I needed to shut off WiFi on the phone. Sure enough that worked. So here’s… Read more »

9 months ago

Resetting Network Settings worked for me.

9 months ago

My phone all of the sudden just lost service at my house last week. After all week of contacting the phone company I finally just switched my service. Well I get home and it says I have signal but I can’t get any thing with data to work. I can only half-ass send a call or text. Obviously it wasn’t a service provider issue but a phone issue. Anyone ever had this problem? I really need my phone to work at home. We can’t get Wi-Fi and I’m always at home.

10 months ago

My provider is Qlink and the Cellular Data settings they say to use do not allow me to send photos to non-apple users (I have an iPhone). I cannot get on the internet without a Wi-Fi service, contrary to what they say I should get.
I will share the settings if you want

Thank you in advance for your assistance.


barbara riley
10 months ago

I’ve been on phone hours with AT&T and Apple. I’m so disgusted with my phone. My phone has frozen, they just kept saying press your Home button and power button, no results. My phone wouldn’t respond to my touch??

Colin Boyd
10 months ago
Reply to  barbara riley

Hi Barbara, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to put so much time into this problem! However, it’s great that you’ve already reached out to Apple and your carrier about this issue. We actually published a video about how to repair a frozen iPhone this afternoon, here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFf3iV3KGuw

I hope this helps!

1 year ago

Hey David I’m with consumer cellular and they’re telling me it’s an Apple issue that my XR isn’t resetting when my data plan ends & starts again? I’m not sure because last month CC walked me through a reset but last iPhone reset itself? Unsure what to do and not tech at all any clue? Thank you-

Colin Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Kelly

Hi Kelly! When you say reset do you mean that your phone’s data allotment doesn’t refill with the start of a new billing cycle?

1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Boyd

Sorry, Yes, and thank you.

Colin Boyd
11 months ago
Reply to  Kelly

Hi Kelly, no problem! Thanks for clarifying. If you’ve already reached out to your carrier about this issue, you may want to contact Apple Support directly to try to get this issue resolved. As long as your status with your carrier is in good standing, you shouldn’t need to manually set up your cellular data allotment every month.

1 year ago

you should add freedom mobile
the customer service number is 1 (877) 946 3184

Colin Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  cayden

Freedom Mobile is a Canadian provider. While we’d love to incorporate more international providers into our content down the line, our team is really only large enough to focus on companies domestic to us for the time being.

Oppong Sika
1 year ago

my data is on but it can’t load application on the phone but can browser safari and can’t download and app from AppStore but the apps can’t load

Colin Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Oppong Sika

Try connecting to Wi-Fi! This could be an issue with your cellular data plan where some ports are being blocked that shouldn’t. If that doesn’t work, contact your carrier directly. Best of luck!

1 year ago

I turned off a hidden setting and my apps will only work on Wifi. I selected a link that didn’t have a drop down arrow so I am not able to relocate where I told the phone to only use Wifi for apps. Do you have any suggestions. It not in the normal locations I have already reset data in all the known locations.

11 months ago
Reply to  shannon

Go to Settings->Cellular->Scroll Down then turn on data for all the apps

1 year ago

Thanks for the sim card tip. My I Phone 12 had the hotspot working but nothing working on the phone itself. Removing the sim worked.

1 year ago

thank you for this!! 🙂

1 year ago

I have boost mobile and my internet is not working what should I do to get it working?

1 year ago

Hello… I had the “No connection available” issue when I was away from my home wifi… the cellular data seemed to work fine for phone call, but not for internet related apps… I thought the problem may have been caused by a recent “carrier settings update”… I restored my iPhone 7 using my backup on my PC… still didn’t work… I did a factory reset, and restored from the backup… still didn’t work (I have to rurn my wifi off to do the testing). Sadly, I found out that iTunes does not keep multiple backups… I could only find one,… Read more »

1 year ago

This was wonderful. My data is back and running! Thank you!!!!

1 year ago

This was great but I have tried all of it but still don’t work, please help me fix this.

1 year ago
Reply to  Shaninay

Get your sim card relinked to your iphone or have company give you a new one and link / activate it with your phone. The original sim card would be better

1 year ago

This was a great information site it really works Thank You

1 year ago

This was a great information site it really works Thank You

1 year ago

I tried all these steps but still not working, I can’t call the numbers because I am in Africa

1 year ago

thanks so very very much! resetting my network settings worked a treat. PHEW! Thanks for being here with the solution 🙂

1 year ago
Reply to  Robyn

did resetting your network settings create any problems with your data service? did you have to call them to set up another payement or could you just reconnect by yourself?

1 year ago

my imessage works and ft but nothing else

1 year ago

My cellular data and SIM card not showing

1 year ago

My data recently has been a bit weird where I turn on my data for any app, and as soon as I exit settings, it automatically turns it off again. It has been doing this for the past 3 days. I’ve tried everything in here as well as clearing up space, and dozens of resets. Nothing seems to work 🙁

1 year ago

ive followed all abouve steps and still no data

Mary Smitha
1 year ago

Hi Im using cellular data to use zoom. Recently I noticed that when I access Zoom App, it stays as connecting and sits there. I tried reset network settings, reinstalled the app but no luck. Any suggestions you can provide me here to fix this issue?

1 year ago

Helpful and informative article. But I would have placed “Contact Your Cellular Carrier” b e f o r e “Reset Network Settings”.

Nancy Arthur
1 year ago

I can get the cellular data to work by turning the phone off and on but I have to do it each time I leave WiFi. All the mentioned settings are correct.

1 year ago
Reply to  Nancy Arthur

Nancy, I have had the same issue for over 2 years…if you found a solution, please let me know.

2 years ago

Went through all of these steps, my carrier has no idea what happened and have exhausted all steps. Anyone else experiencing this?

1 year ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Same problem here tried new sim card nothing what did you do?

2 years ago

Make sure the phone date is correct (in Settings under Time & Date), since data from Wifi or mobile network will not work on iPhone if the date is past

2 years ago

adding the number for xifnity mobile would be cool! 1-888-936-4968

TikTok Not Working On iPhone? Here's The Fix! | Payette Forward
3 years ago

[…] more information, check out our other articles if cellular data isn’t working or if your iPhone won’t connect to […]

1 year ago

if all of the above fixes don’t work on iphone 6 what is usually the problem. I’am sure apple has had to fix atleast 1

Rich Blues
6 months ago
Reply to  dan

See if you have VPN turned on. If yes, turn it off.