My iPhone Says No Service. Here’s The Real Fix!

If your iPhone says “No Service”, you can’t make or receive phone calls, send text messages, or connect to the internet unless you’re using Wi-Fi. It’s easy to forget how integral our iPhones have become in our lives — until they don’t work. In this article, I’ll explain why your iPhone says No Service and show you exactly how to fix the problem.

Why Does My iPhone Say No Service?

Your iPhone may be saying No Service because of a software problem, a hardware problem, or an issue with your cell phone plan. Unfortunately, no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem, so I’ll walk you step-by-step through the troubleshooting steps I found most effective when I worked at Apple.

If you’re on top of a mountain, you may wish to return to society before you continue. If you’re not, let’s stop your iPhone from saying No Service for good.

1. Check In With Your Carrier About Your Account

Carriers cancel customers’ accounts for all sorts of reasons. I’ve heard of cases where iPhones were disconnected because the carrier suspected fraudulent activity, the customer’s payment was late, and about disgruntled spouses who really didn’t want to hear from their ex.

If any of these reasons resonate with you, give your carrier a call, just to make sure everything’s OK. Your iPhone will say No Service if your account was cancelled, and this is a common, yet easily-overlooked reason for this problem.

If you discover the No Service problem is being caused by your carrier, check out my cell phone plan comparison tool to learn how you could save hundreds of dollars a year by switching things up. If it’s not your carrier’s fault (and most of the time this problem isn’t), it’s time to take a look at your iPhone’s software.

2. Update Your iPhone’s Software and Carrier Settings

A lot of people’s iPhones said No Service after Apple released iOS 8. Although that problem has long since been resolved, iOS updates always contain a slew of fixes for less-common software bugs that can cause the No Service problem. You can proceed in one of two ways:

  • If you can connect to Wi-Fi, you can check if a software update for your iPhone is available by going to Settings -> General -> Software Update.
  • If an iOS update isn’t available, go to Settings -> General -> About to check for a carrier settings update. There isn’t a button to check for these updates — just stay on the About page for 10 seconds or so, and if nothing pops up, your carrier settings are up to date.
  • If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, connect your iPhone to your computer and use iTunes or Finder (only on Macs running Catalina 10.15 or newer) to check if a software update is available for your iPhone. You’ll automatically ask if you’d like to update your iPhone if one is available. iTunes and Finder also checks for carrier settings updates automatically, so if it asks, it’s a good idea to update that too.

install ios 15 on your iphone

If your iPhone says No Service after you’ve updated your software, or if your software is already up-to-date, it’s time to dive in and do some troubleshooting.

3. Reset Network Settings

Resetting your iPhone’s network settings to factory defaults can fix all sorts of cellular and Wi-Fi related problems on your iPhone. This “forgets” all your Wi-Fi networks, so you’ll have to reconnect to them and re-enter your Wi-Fi passwords. The No Service problem may disappear after your iPhone reboots.

To Reset Network Settings, open Settings -> General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings. Enter your iPhone passcode, then tap on Reset Network Settings when the confirmation pop-up appears near the bottom of your iPhone’s display.

4. Check Cellular Settings On Your iPhone

There are a number of cellular data settings on your iPhone, and if something isn’t set up correctly, your iPhone might say No service. Settings can get changed accidentally, and sometimes the problem can be fixed simply by turning a setting off and back on.

The problem with diagnosing cellular settings on your iPhone is that what you see in Settings -> Cellular varies from carrier to carrier. If you don’t see a setting I mention in this section, move on to the next suggestion — you’re not missing anything. Here are my suggestions:

  • Go to Settings -> Cellular, and make sure Cellular Data is on. If it is, try turning it off and back on again.
  • Go to Cellular Data Options -> Roaming and make sure Voice Roaming is turned on. Voice Roaming should be on for most people in the United States. Carriers don’t charge for cellular roaming like they used to. If you’re interested, one of our writers wrote an article that explains how voice and data roaming works on your iPhone. A word of warning: It’s a good idea to turn off Voice Roaming when you’re traveling internationally to avoid a massive phone bill when you come home.
  • Go to Settings -> Carriers and turn off automatic carrier selection. Your iPhone may stop saying No Service if you manually choose which cellular network to connect to. A lot of readers will not see this option on their iPhones, and that’s perfectly normal. It only applies to certain carriers.

Check Cellular Data Connection

5. Take Out Your SIM Card

Your iPhone’s SIM card links your iPhone to your carrier’s cellular network. It’s how your carrier distinguishes your iPhone from all the others. Sometimes, your iPhone will stop saying No Service simply by removing your SIM card from your iPhone and putting it back in again.

If you’re not sure how to remove your SIM card, read steps 1–3 of my article about why iPhones sometimes say “No SIM.” To remove your SIM card, you can pick up a SIM card ejector tool on Amazon — or just use a paper clip.

If your iPhone says No Service after you read my other article, come back here and move on to the next step.

6. Check For Water Damage

It’s easy to understand why an iPhone might say “No Service” if it’s smashed, but water damage can be invisible and insidious. If your iPhone started to say “No Service” after it got wet, there’s a good chance that water damage is causing the problem.

Apple doesn’t repair water-damaged iPhones — they replace them. If you have AppleCare+, the cost of replacing a damaged iPhone is negligible compared to what it costs if you don’t. If you’re looking for a less-expensive alternative, check the Repair Options section below.

7. Back Up And Restore Your iPhone, But Read The Warning First!

Software corruption can cause everything from excessive battery drain to iPhones getting too hot to problems like this one. Make sure you back up your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud if you choose to continue, because restoring your iPhone erases everything on it.

An Extremely Important Warning

Restoring your iPhone when it can’t connect to a cellular network is very dangerous, for this reason: An iPhone has to be activated before it can be used after a restore. If you restore your iPhone and it still says No Service, it will be totally unusable. You won’t be able to do anything: not restore your iPhone, not use your apps; nothing.

If you have a backup phone available and you’re willing to take the risk, restoring your iPhone can resolve this issue, but there are no guarantees. I don’t recommend you try to restore your iPhone unless you have an Apple Store nearby.

8. Contact Your Carrier Or Repair Your iPhone

Sometimes carriers have special activation codes that can resolve the problem when your iPhone says No Service. These codes change too frequently and there are too many carriers to list specific codes here, but there’s a chance your carrier may be able to help you over the phone. If that doesn’t work, your carrier will send you to an Apple Store to have your iPhone diagnosed by a technician.

Repair Options

If you choose to go to an Apple Store, it’s a really good idea to call ahead or go online to make an appointment at the Genius Bar before you arrive. You could end up standing around for a while (or buying a new Mac) if you don’t.

Tips And Alternate Solutions

One of the biggest side effects when your iPhone says No Service is that its battery begins to die very quickly. If that’s happening to you (or if you’d like to get better battery life in general), my article about how to save iPhone battery life can make a world of difference.

If this isn’t the first time you’ve run into the No Service issue and you’re fed up, check out UpPhone’s carrier coverage maps or use my cell phone plan comparison tool to learn how much money your family could save by switching to another carrier.

No Service? No More.

20 years ago, a complaint about our inability to make phone calls from wherever we are might be seen as a “luxury problem”, but things have changed, and our ability to stay connected is vitally important to our daily lives. In this article, you learned why your iPhone says No Service and exactly how to fix it. I’m interested to hear which fix solved the No Service problem for you in the comments section below.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Mark
2 months ago

I had a ‘No Cellular Data’ error out the blue – did all of the above with no joy – but before resetting I swapped another SIM card in from another phone and that had signal on my phone so immediately knew it was a SIM problem.
No idea how/why my card stopped working!
I Put in a new SIM and activated it (kept same number) and problem solved.
So is definitely worth doing as there was no error message about ‘No SIM’ etc.

Jim Okal
3 months ago

Hi, I’m Okal. My previously flashed iPhone 5s says “No Service” but connects to Wi-Fi normally. Please help fix this.

Louise
4 months ago

My old iPhone 6 is to use a new SIM card that I just purchased. The phone is 4 yrs old, why is it saying “No SIM”?

Editor
Colin Boyd
3 months ago
Reply to  Louise

Hi Louise, have you already replaced the old SIM card or is that the one that’s currently in your phone?

Tina
4 months ago

My iPhone 12 says No service intermittently. I can get wifi and occasionally it connects to my network provider for a minute or so and then goes back to No Service . I’ve taken out the sim etc (and I’m waiting for a replacement). I put it in an old iPhone 6s and it connected to the network no problem. It’s really frustrating as I can’t get texts e.g 2fa

Editor
Colin Boyd
4 months ago
Reply to  Tina

Hi Tina! I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble, but it sounds like you’re well on your way to getting the issue sorted out! If the SIM card works normally with another iPhone, you can be almost sure that your iPhone 12 is the source of the problem. If you’ve already tried all the fixes we’ve listed in the article, I’d recommend reaching out to Apple directly about repair options. If none of the software or settings fixes we’ve suggested have gotten rid of the No Service error, it’s possible there’s a problem with your iPhone’s antenna or another hardware… Read more »

mad about it
4 months ago

My Verizon iPhone is saying “No Service”. I’ve turned it on and off again several times, it still connects to WiFi just not the cellular network. I’ve ejected the SIM card three times as well. Even reset the network settings. Not sure what else to do.

Editor
Colin Boyd
4 months ago
Reply to  mad about it

I’m sorry to hear you’re still having trouble! It sounds like you’re well on your way through the troubleshooting process, though! Have you checked your local cellular coverage? You might be in an area where you carrier’s service is spotty. Here’s a link to our Coverage Map, where you can see your carrier’s network across the US: https://www.upphone.com/coverage-map/

If it looks like you’re in range of your carrier’s service, I’d reach out to Verizon directly. It’s possible that the interference is being caused by network maintenance or an unexpected issue with your account. I hope this helps, best of luck!

Evan
5 months ago

My phone can connect to the WiFi normally but it still says that i have no service! I dont have the cellular settings option please help! Im have Iphone SE

Editor
Colin Boyd
5 months ago
Reply to  Evan

Hi Evan! That sounds like it could be a problem originating from your cellular provider. I’d suggest reaching out to them directly to alert them of the problem. I’m sorry we couldn’t be of more help, best of luck!

randomkid123123123
5 months ago

yeah so hello im using Iphone SE and it randomly just says no service it wont let to connect to my wifi please help

Editor
Colin Boyd
5 months ago

I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble! The first fix I’d recommend would be to reset your network settings if you haven’t already. Open Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings. This should give your iPhone a chance to form a fresh connection with Wi-Fi and cellular networks. If that doesn’t work, it’s possible that your iPhone is experiencing a serious hardware or software issue. Since you can’t connect to Wi-Fi or cellular data, I doubt it’s a problem with your cellular or Wi-Fi provider. Your best bet would be to reach out to Apple Support directly about… Read more »

TRISHA
5 months ago

My phone does not have a network, but there is WI-Fi and it sends me a message saying that I can’t make calls or receive message, I updated the phone and it’s say no carrier. no cellular settings option.

Editor
Colin Boyd
5 months ago
Reply to  TRISHA

Hi Trisha, can your iPhone connect to Wi-Fi normally?

TRISHA
5 months ago
Reply to  Colin Boyd

Yes, it is connecting to WiFi no issues with that,. Only no cellular services

Editor
Colin Boyd
5 months ago
Reply to  TRISHA

Hi Trisha, thanks for getting back to me! This sounds like it could be an issue with your SIM card. The first fix I’d recommend would be to eject your SIM card and then slide it back into place. Sometimes that can give an iPhone the opportunity to form a fresh connection with cellular networks. If that doesn’t work, I’d recommend contacting your cellular provider directly to see if they’re experiencing any problems on their end. You can usually find out how to get in touch with your cellular provider by typing their name and “contact” into Google. You may… Read more »

Sandy safouh
5 months ago

My phone does not have a network, but there is an internet network and it sends me a message saying that I can’t make calls or receive message, I updated the phone and it’s say no carrier

Editor
Colin Boyd
5 months ago
Reply to  Sandy safouh

Hi Sandy, this sounds like it might be an issue on your carrier’s end. I’d recommend visiting your cellular provider’s contact page and seeking out the best way to get in touch with them.

Jeng
5 months ago

I got No Service on my iPhone 7 since 6/7/2021

Editor
Colin Boyd
5 months ago
Reply to  Jeng

Hi Jeng, can your iPhone still connect to Wi-Fi networks?