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, go to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings. Then, tap Reset Network Settings when the confirmation pop-up appears.

how to reset the network settings on iphone

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.

Below are the phone numbers of some of the major US wireless carriers:

  • AT&T: 1-(800)-331-0500
  • Sprint: 1-(888)-211-4727
  • T-Mobile: 1-(877)-746-0909
  • Verizon: 1-(800)-922-0204

If there’s a number you’d like us to add to this list, leave a comment down below!

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!

All the best,
David L.

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