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.

my iPhone says no service zoom

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 to check if a software update is available for your iPhone. If an update is available, iTunes will automatically ask if you’d like to update your iPhone. iTunes also checks for carrier settings updates automatically, so if it asks, it’s a good idea to update that too.

update iphone to ios 12

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 -> 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.

reset then reset network settings iphone

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 iphone cellular settings

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.

If you’d like to save some money, Puls will meet you at a location of your choice, fix your phone today, and guarantee their work for life.

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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Brett
1 day ago

iphone 7, 4 yrs old. Been having this issue since I updated it. While on a road trip in western US I have lost all service repeatedly while my wifes iphone 6 is just fine on our same plan. I have restarted it and done many of the other things…which worked temporarily each time and some not at all. I have just removed the sim and replaced it and voila! It is working again…we will see if it works for more than a few days.

Toni
27 days ago

My iPhone is saying no service I have change old sim to new and its still saying it

Anonymous
1 month ago

I have a problem no one has mentioned. On my iPhone 8, it says “Error” next to Cellular on the settings home page. When I go to General > About, it says “not available” next to Network. I have tried everything with no luck. The Verizon store said they could not update the carrier settings. I believe the problems stem from me dropping the phone very hard and cracking the back. I have even tried cleaning the SIM card reader with a tooth brush and isopropyl, but it is still stuck on “No Service.” Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

ewan
1 month ago

how much does it cost ?

Editor
Liam Shotwell
1 month ago
Reply to  ewan

If you’re asking about how much it costs to get a new phone plan, you can check the price of a new phone plan based on your preferences with UpPhone’s plan comparison tool. If you’re wondering how much it costs to repair your device, I recommend this article to help you explore your options. I hope this helps!

Crystal Meza
1 month ago

I recently got my iPhone 11 Pro Max unlocked from Verizon & I switched to metro. I went out of town & my phone read no service for hours after resetting everything. Nothing has worked. I can’t login to my apple without the text code & I can’t get it cause my phone says no service

Editor
Liam Shotwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Crystal Meza

It’s possible that Metro doesn’t cover your area. You can check this coverage map to compare the networks of each carrier, including MVNO’s like Metro that use T-Mobile’s wireless network.

Clarence
2 months ago

I have iPhone XS Max but for the first time the phone shows no service and I don’t know how to fix it

kashgats
4 months ago

After trying everything out with no result, I tried setting the date and time MANUALLY and… voila! PROBLEM SOVED.

Kris
5 months ago

I just bought a used iPhone a1688 but it’s saying no service disabled, I have no passcode no apple I’d no computer just a tablet and a Samsung phone. Help??

Darrell Stanley
6 months ago

David, if I replace the IPhone 7 motherboard, will that fix the “no service” problem. I sent the phone to Apple, but they wouldn’t repair it for “other” issues.

Admin
David Lynch
6 months ago

Did you previously repair your iPhone with third-party parts? That might be why Apple wouldn’t repair your iPhone. Not sure replacing the motherboard would fix the No Service problem. Have you reached out to your wireless carrier?

Jean
6 months ago

I called apple and they said to reset Network Settings which worked however the phone returns to no service status periodically. I’ll keep using that fix until it no longer works or I get tired of it I guess.

Anonymous
1 year ago

I have an apple 5. all of a sudden, no service. went to verizon store, they gave me a new sim card, did not fix. next step from the sales lady; get a newer phone, this happens on old phones. I told her I’ll go home and check online verizon for a phone. instead I find this list of tries. Got to #4 and bloop, it works. Thank you Payetteforward, saved me paying hundreds for a new phone i don’t need. Iphone 5 is old, but it’s all I need.

Anonymous
1 year ago

Thanks for your great article, this is the best article I’ve seen and so useful. many thanks! However, I would like to recommend a theme platform, VeryUtils is a good platform which has lots of free Plugins and Themes, you may search VeryUtils in google and go to this website to download some free Plugins and Themes.

Anonymous
1 year ago

I have tried everything you suggested and still get “no service”. It happened after an update on iOS 12 and I was able to fix it by turning off LTE. After the next update there is nothing I can do to get service. Sometimes it will recieve signal but it is very rare and intermittent. I have talked to Apple representatives and they have assured me it is not the software update but you cannot convince me. They should make it possible to delete updates. Even Microsoft does that.

Anonymous
1 year ago

Helpless

Anonymous
1 year ago

Sir I have iPhone 5 and it shows no service. When I switch on then it open again and again and asked apple id.i filled apple id but it again ask. Its a bad experience for me to use iPhone.
Sir can you help me to solve this issue of my iPhone

Anonymous
1 year ago

???? :(((

Anonymous
1 year ago

help me plz

Anonymous
1 year ago

sim card out and restartimg phone fixed it

Anonymous
1 year ago

Go to settings >> Mobile Data >> Mobile Data options >> Enable 4G>> Select off

Anonymous
1 year ago

My phone keep saying no service but won’t let me erase it or update

Anonymous
1 year ago

thanks

Anonymous
1 year ago

I have an iPhone 6 that I just updated to the latest iOS (12.1.2 if I’m not mistaken) and none of these helped….I’ve tried everything I can think of short of jailbreaking it do re-download iOS 11 and nothing’s worked. Scheduled an apple appointment for Sunday, if they can’t help I’ll either try to jailbreak it or just trade it in for a newer one. This makes a lot of things harder considering I rely on my phone for updates from work, theatre, family, etc.

Anonymous
1 year ago

I had this issue and was told it was a hardware problem and was unfixable. I was able to fix it by replacing the lightning connector assembly which I found for $3.50 on ebay. The replacement took me about an hour as it was my first time taking apart an iphone. The tool kit necessary cost about $10

Anonymous
1 year ago

iphone SE .. no service.. I turned it off and then back on and it started working again.

Anonymous
1 year ago

How to solve the iPhone no service after water damaged?

Anonymous
1 year ago

Just came back from a business trip in Thailand and my personal phone had No Settings on it when I turned it on when back home. Swapping SIM cards made no difference, resetting Networl Settings seems to have fixed it – thanks.

Anonymous
1 year ago

thank you!!!!

Anonymous
1 year ago

I updated my iPhone to iOS 12.1 and ever since it has said no signal and that I need an update, but I have checked everything and its says all updated.

Anonymous
1 year ago

Thanks so much. I was going to take it to the union place but resetting my network settings and updating it did the trick. Youre amazing and super helpful I recommend. I have the iPhone 6

Anonymous
1 year ago

I connected to wifi and called my carrier. They reset the network connections from their end and my service was restored. Hope this helps someone.

Anonymous
1 year ago

My daughter lost phone service today. Due to the restrictions I have placed on her phone, it doesn’t show that updates are needed. The specific restrictions seem to also prevent updates from occurring automatically. Thanks to your article, I was able to quickly trouble shoot the issue when she got home from school. Turned out that there was a minor ios update (as well as several other updates to applications). As soon as the ios update happened, service was restored. I will have to periodically check for udpates so that she doesn’t lose service. Thanks for the great information.

Anonymous
1 year ago

I did everything. Step by step but still it’s “no service”. I am using iPhone 5s

Anonymous
1 year ago

Hello I was dealing with this problem for a month and tried every thing duf, restore iPhone thru settings, etc… nothing worked started contemplating buying new phone!! Woke up one day dropped my iPhone flat on back really hard but not hard to the point of damnage!!! Just loud drop, didnt have data cuz my phone wasnt connecting to the network. For some reason tried to check my ig and phone worked had bars, called my cousin told him my phone worked didnt need to buy a new phone!!!! So I guess there was something disconnected or when I dropped… Read more »

Anonymous
1 year ago

Ive tried everything but a hard reset.. Id like to think I made the right decision. I dont have a backup phone, however what I did do- didnt work. My phone still says No Service- Straight Talk told me to hard reset tonsee if my phone will work. Not sure its realy worth the risk. Any advice??

Anonymous
1 year ago

Had my IPhone 4 since 2014, and now all of a sudden the signal is messed up? I turned off Automatic network selection, but now the phone is saying that my “Network is Lost” and it no longer exists. My problems first started when I started connecting my IPhone to MIFI mobile. Because now my phone thinks there is more than one network??? And their is a massive “E” that keeps showing up. I’ve noticed that “personal hotspot” keeps spinning. But I can’t update my phone anymore? I’ve followed a ton of tutorials, and nothing has worked. I’ve reset the… Read more »

Anonymous
1 year ago

I had to do a reset to finally get it working