iPhone Cellular Update Failed? Here’s Why & The Fix!

You can’t make or receive calls or use cellular data on your iPhone. You received a notification about a cellular update, but you’re not sure what it means. In this article, I’ll explain why an iPhone cellular update failed and show you how to fix the problem good!

Do You Have An iPhone 7?

A small number of iPhone 7 models have a hardware defect that makes the Cellular Update Failed notification appear. It also makes your iPhone display No Service in the upper-left hand corner of the screen, even if cellular service is available.

Apple is aware of this problem, and they’re offering a free device repair if your iPhone 7 qualifies. Check out Apple’s website to see if your iPhone 7 qualifies for a free repair.

cellular update failed iphone

A Temporary Fix For Some iPhones

Some people have reported that turning off Wi-Fi calling and Voice LTE fixed the problem on their iPhone. This definitely isn’t a perfect solution, and you’ll want to go back and turn Wi-Fi Calling and Voice LTE back on after updating your iPhone to a more recent version of iOS.

It’s also important to point out that not every wireless carrier supports Wi-Fi calling or Voice LTE. If you don’t see these options on your iPhone, move onto the next step.

Open Settings and tap Cellular -> Wi-Fi Calling. Turn off the switch next to Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone to turn off Wi-Fi Calling.

turn off wifi calling on iphone

Next, go back to Settings -> Cellular and tap Cellular Data Options. Tap Enable LTE -> Data Only to turn off Voice LTE. You’ll know Voice LTE is off when the blue checkmark appears next to Data Only.

turn off voice LTE

Turn Airplane Mode Off And Back On

Your iPhone won’t connect to cellular networks if Airplane Mode is turned on. Sometimes toggling Airplane Mode on and off again can fix minor cellular connectivity issues.

Open Settings and tap the switch next to Airplane Mode to turn it on. Tap the switch again to turn it off. You’ll know Airplane Mode is off when when the switch is white.

airplane mode off vs on

Turn Cellular Data Off And Back On

Another quick way to fix minor cellular connectivity issues is to turn Cellular Data off and back on. This doesn’t always work, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Open Settings and tap Cellular. Then, tap the switch next to Cellular Data at the top of the screen to turn it off. Tap the switch again to turn Cellular Data back on.

make sure iphone cellular data is on

Check For A Carrier Settings Update

A carrier settings update is an update released by your cell phone carrier or Apple to improve your iPhone’s ability to connect to your carrier’s cellular network. Carrier settings updates aren’t released as frequently as iOS updates, but it’s important to regularly check to see if one is available.

Open Settings and tap About to check for a carrier settings update. If an update is available, a pop-up will appear within about ten seconds.

Tap Update if a carrier settings update is available. If an update isn’t available, move onto the next step.

Carrier Settings Update On iPhone

Update iOS On Your iPhone

Apple often releases iOS updates to introduce new features and fix bugs like the one you’re experiencing right now. Open Settings and tap General -> Software Update to see if an iOS update is available. Tap Download and Install if a software update is available.

update iphone to ios 12

Eject And Reinsert Your SIM Card

Since it’s not uncommon for your iPhone to say No SIM when you receive the Cellular Update Failed notification, it’s a good idea to eject your SIM card and put it back in.

Grab your SIM card ejector tool or, since you probably don’t have one of those, straighten out a paper clip. Stick the ejector tool or your paper clip into the hole in the SIM card tray to pop it open. Push the SIM card tray back into your iPhone to reseat the SIM card.

Reset Your iPhone’s Network Settings

Resetting the network settings erases all of the Cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, VPN settings on your iPhone. By erasing all of the network settings at once, you can sometimes fix a troublesome software issue.

Open Settings and tap General -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings. Tap Reset Network Settings to confirm your decision.

reset then reset network settings iphone

Put Your iPhone In DFU Mode

The DFU restore is the deepest iPhone restore. Every single line of code is erased and reloaded, reseting your iPhone to factory defaults.

Make sure you save a backup of your iPhone before putting it in DFU mode! Everything gets wiped from your iPhone during the DFU restore process. Saving a backup will make sure you don’t lose any any of your photos, videos, and other saved files.

When you’re all set, check out our other article to learn how to put your iPhone in DFU mode and restore!

Contact Apple Or Your Wireless Carrier

You’ll want to contact Apple or your wireless carrier if your iPhone still says Cellular Update Failed after you put in DFU mode. There may be something wrong with your iPhone’s cellular modem.

Set up an appointment at your local Apple Store to see if an Apple tech can help you fix the problem. However, don’t be surprised if Apple tells you to get in touch with your wireless carrier. There could be a complex issue with your account that can only be resolved by a customer service representative of your wireless carrier.

Here are the customer service phone numbers of the five biggest wireless carriers in the United States:

  1. AT&T: 1-(800)-331-0500
  2. Sprint: 1-(888)-211-4727
  3. T-Mobile: 1-(877)-746-0909
  4. US Cellular: 1-(888)-944-9400
  5. Verizon: 1-(800)-922-0204

Updated And Ready To Go!

You’ve fixed the problem on your iPhone and you can start making calls again! Make sure you share this article on social media to teach your family and friends what to do when their iPhone says Cellular Update Failed. Feel free to leave any other questions you have about your iPhone in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading,
David L.

About Author

I'm here to help you with your iPhone!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

I have an Iphone pro 11 and it says i need an update inorder to use cellular data and I have tried methods 1-8 in your article and nothing works. I wanted to reset to factory seeting but is says I will not be able to reset the phone after erasing. Please help

Colin Boyd
2 months ago
Reply to  Zarif

Hi Zarif! That sounds extremely frustrating, I’m sorry our troubleshooting tips couldn’t help. It’s possible that your iPhone may be experiencing some form of hardware problem. If that’s the case, I’d recommend against performing a DFU restore, as it may permanently break your iPhone. Your best bet is to reach out to Apple Support directly to inquire about your repair options. Best of luck!

6 months ago

I was able to get my cellular connection back by doing a force restart of my iphone 7. This is a great article. If that isn’t included it should be added.

8 months ago

I will say THANKS for the article – wife’s 7 was displaying this issue, I found this article, called Apple, they said it is covered, and we have an appt this week to get it fixed. THANKS! ; ) Maybe if they don’t have the part anymore, they’ll give us a new phone…

Liam Shotwell
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Hey, Steve! Glad this article was able to help you out. I hope that your appointment goes well! ?

Philip Libman
11 months ago

update: Update: My local techie just pointed out that it is the Modem that went. Under <General>; <About> scroll down for technical issues and under “Modem Firmware” it is now blank instead of showing the version number. His suppliers said that they don’t have the part anymore as it is an old phone.

Philip Libman
11 months ago

Phone stopped working suddenly after it was off for two days. Error Message “cellular update failed”. Tried all the tips listed here from: Network Reset, taking out SIM card; Airplane mode; and so on. This iPhone 5s runs the latest OS update possible: 12.4.8. Any ideas highly appreciated.

1 year ago

ive tried all the options except for taking to an apple store. I have two problems one is my iPhone cellular says Error there is nothing else once I open.
secondly I have the latest update ready to be installed but it doesn’t as it says can not verify the update. This is my third time trying to update it over iTunes as it failed the first time and second time it took too long. Kindly help. Thank You

Liam Shotwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon

Hi, Simon. Here’s an article that might help you if you can’t get your update to verify. Also, here’s another article that may help.

If you can’t figure out the problem after consulting these articles, I recommend doing a DFU restore or taking the phone to an Apple Store to have it looked at.

Reniel Zamora
1 year ago

But the problem is, I can’t even customize my cellular data in settings. Coz it only displays that I need to update even my iphone is already up-to-date.

1 year ago
Reply to  Reniel Zamora

Same problem / even change cellular carriers and it did it after one day again. How did you fix it

Marc A
1 year ago
Reply to  John

All I did was reset my network settings and everything came back. These sites are making it more complicated then it needs to be,

7 months ago
Reply to  Marc A

I did reset my network setting and fixed the problem for one day and then back to no service again. I guess you are lucky.

5 months ago
Reply to  Rasim

Same here. Apple walked me through this and it worked for one day. My husband and I both have iPhones with the same carrier so I find it unlikely to be a carrier problem.

1 year ago

That’s rude and pretty ungrateful. You mean taking your phone to an Apple store didn’t work either? People put alot of effort into these articles to help us all out. How about a “thanks”