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.
If you want some extra help with the steps below, check out our new video on YouTube!
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.
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 Wi-Fi and cellular-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.
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.
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.
Yes it does. It reset or updates code / Data internally
My iphone 4 had been going crazy…screens would literally come & go or freeze while actually using them and the calls (in/out) or texts (send/receive) would only work intermittently….I read this entire article and used steps 3 & 4, they worked! My phone seems like new again, Thank You So Much!
My iPhone 5 was fixed by turning Cellular Data off and back on. I also turned off Voice Roaming, then turned it back on, but I think it may have been in the process of coming back after turning Cellular Data off then on. Before the simple on / off of cellular data, I did the usual power off / on, remove sim card and reset network settings with no results.
Thank you I have a I phone 6 plus I used reset network system and fixed my phone I went to Verizon store earlier today and of corse my phone was bad I could upgrade to new phone for 70 75 activation plus start all over paying the phone off again plus if I want to buy a case for new phone or I could pay 199 for insurance to replace or fix my phone was going to call Verizon Sunday and see what I could get done but thanks to this it’s working now don’t know how long will… Read more »
went to an apple store and the guy I talked with shared something so nobody else could hear him – he said, “look at your phone. you’ll see it’s slightly bent. the SIM card isn’t making good contact w/ the reader. what I would do before I do anything else is to bend your phone back straight (but not in the store).” so I went to a cafe’ as I waited for them to fix my daughter’s phone and Viola! – it fixed the problem. I’ve had to keep bending it a few times over the past few weeks (since… Read more »
after several reboots, removing the simm card, resetting the network and finally replacing the simm card at Verizion. Still searching for signal. Then stumbling on this article I removed the SImm card and blew out the opening and rebooted, added the simm card and rebooted. It works. Thank You. THANKS!!!!!
Thank you! Resetting all settings did it! Finally have full bars again with my wi-fi. I appreciate the help!
I have a new iphone 5 it says NO service and I don’t have it activated, yet my old one shows service and it isn’t activated either, was wondering why? also I could not send messages, and it said to enter a phone number, so I enterd a fake phone number to be able to send them, yet my old iphone did not have this problem, other than I can only send to apple phones, also wondering what’s with this, considering I’m using wifi!
kubera iki abakora iphones batadukorera phone zitadutesha umutwe koko?
Some one help me my iPhone 6 I still showing no service or if shows signal it still doesn’t work I have done everything reset setting,software,aeroplane mode on and off several times but not working what should I do???
My email : [email protected]
My cell no :
Has anyone tried replacing their SIM card tray? My iPhone 6 goes in and out w/ the “searching / no service” issue and my local apple guy told me it’s probably a bad SIM card tray…
whenever i m travelling my iphone’s network creates problem n shows “No service” message i don’t why but i do all the tricks like reset network settings and airplane mode on and off , remove sim card and insert it again but these tricks works for very few scenarios…. anybody plz suggest me any solution regarding this …
I had the problem too on an iPhone 5s. I tried everything I’ve seen in every post about this and nothing worked. I finally spent three hours updating and moving all of my files and contacts onto another phone (5s) and it works, but every once and awhile I get “no signal.” It has been coming back, but still not reliable. Very frustrating!!
I have no service. I had an update due in my settings, so I hit it, thinking it might solve the problem. Now, it is “verifying update” for about the last 4 hours and I can’t access the phone at all!
Shut down and restart worked for me.
Removing the SIM card is what worked for me. I’m curious about why this solves the problem? Does it do some sort of internal reset when reinserted?
it works! Thanks 🙂
I had tried everything online and with my provider, nothing worked to stop my iphone losing service. I was looking at my phone and suddenly it came to me I brought a glitzy new case a couple of months ago. I took the case off the phone and yay it is fixed. It hasn’t once lost its service.
my iphone shows No service
my an have an iphone 3g and it shows No service
Thank you! Finding the carrier changed it from No service to the provider- Good stuff! 🙂
I tried the step 4 & 5, the service provider will show up for a seconds then back to no service again 🙁
Bend the f***ing phone – I did every possible thing you could think. Just bend the phone service comes on every time
I don’t know why everyone having this issue I’ve been with iPhone for not even a year and. No problems
I have an iPhone 4 and bypass already, after bypass it shows no service.. how do I fix it or can I use the GPP Sim or R Sim?
Thanks for the help you can do.
My Iphone 6 Shows That Problem. searching and aftar few mints No Service
Nope-done all this before and again. It’s the software updates on the 5S. It’s absolutely useless
absolutely nothing, I appreciate all the different options available but I will be on the phone to Vodafone to complain within the next day!
cured by selecting “restore network settings” found in settings/general/reset – this fixed mine with help from Apple technician !Good Luck – now if only it wouldnt freeze sometimes when I try to answer it & if it wouldnt lose my pictures we would be in good shape…….
Still says searching… or no service
I have an Iphone 5S and this issue appears to me to be an Apple software problem. The phone loses the network carrier at times. I can force this to happen if I turn aeroplane mode on and off twice if I only do it once, the carrier (signal bars) is still there as normal but if I do it twice in succession it says searching and eventually no service and stays in this mode indefinitely. However if I then try to phone someone the phone immediately changes from no service to a few signal bars again after the call… Read more »
It did not help
[…] If your iPhone says “No Service”, that’s probably the reason why it can’t make phone calls. Check out our other article to learn how to fix the “No Service” problem on your iPhone. […]
“If you restore your iPhone and it still says No Service, it will be totally unusable. ”
People, do not believe this, this 100% without a doubt, FALSE!!! This garbage is why people should read the online Apple support articles and not this BS. Dave Payette, do the right research or quit telling people how to fix things, you don’t know what you are writing about.
My iPhone 5s is having no service problem, sometimes I have service for few minutes then it takes it off for hours. I’ve tried different network provider but still the same problem. I’ve done most of the options but the problem persists. Right now I’ve service but I’m very sure it won’t last 30 minutes.. Any other solution ?
Hi, it’s Brenda again (see comment below from 4 months ago). THAT phone that I wrote about…well, about 30 days later, it suddenly totally lost any ability to connect to any cellular network whatsoever. I tried everything, including restoring it to factory specs. Nothing worked. The SIM card worked flawlessly in my old iPhone 5. Apple came up with the idea that since the replacement phone they gave me came from a U.S. Apple store and my cellular network is in Canada, that was the problem. It did work for about a month in Canada on my carrier’s network, though.… Read more »
Hello, I have and iPhone 6 that shows no service and will still not have after all these options (ideas) I’ve tried it all and still not functional so could it be that my antenna would be no functionable anymore which is the complete back housing of its phone or what recommended to do besides bringing it back to Apple??? Thanks..
I clicked on reset network settings and now my iPhone won’t cut back on? What do I do!!!!
Reset network settings worked for me. Amazing. I was about to solder in a new sim card tray. Thanks a bunch!
Nopes, Nada, nothing has worked for me. Resetting the phone worked temporarily, resetting the network settings worked temporarily but the problem of “No services” resurfaces within hours, let alone days. Just upgraded my device OS to 9.3.2. Finished updating the software a few mins back and sitting with “No Service” again.
I have an iphone 4 and it suddenly said no signal in the middle of the day. I was stuck with it like that until I got home. I reset the network settings and as soon as it turned back on it worked! Thanks so much
I have tried all of these troubleshooting options except restore, and nothing has worked. I have an iPhone 6 (new as of February, replaced by AppleCare after another one bit the dust) which was working for several months without any problems. In the middle of the night last night my phone buzzed, prompting me to “activate phone”. After doing this I’ve had no service. On the phone with my carrier four times today, no luck. What’s going on??
I just had my first iPhone 6 replaced under warranty after a few months because the wifi and bluetooth finally completely quit after several weeks of fighting with it. Now after 2 days with the new phone, I woke up this morning to “no service”. I tried going to carrier and turning off the auto, which resulted in the phone just endlessly “searching”. It could ‘see’ the networks, but it would not connect to any of them. Spouse’s phone had 4 dots. I restarted, which resulted in my losing the “carrier” settings completely. I toggled the airplane mode on and… Read more »
Nothing worked. Interesting that the iPhone says 9.3 is available, but when I connect to the Mac and check for updates, it says that 9.2.1 is current and no updates are available. It seems to me that verifies what I read on Mac Rumors that Apple has pulled the update and are working to fix it. Otherwise, I would expect iTunes to find the update. Here’s my work around: I went to the App store and downloaded the basic Google browser. Voila! Super fast Internet searches. Works perfectly. BTW, I have a 5S.
Turn your phone off and remove SIM card, and reinsert SIM card and turn phone back on and it should work. Atleast it did on my iphone6plus.
I have strictly followed the steps you have mentioned above. Before i restore my iPhone,i did backup at iCloud and successfully restored my device. Now i have backed up my iPhone but still it shows ”No Service”. So what shall i do , is there any other possible ways to solve this problem? Beside this, i have a history of my device that recently it felt so hot. Please help me!
I had my iPhone from a brother but now my sim carrier is not been supported because my find my iPhone is on and I can’t reach him again for it to be turn off so that I can use my sim what do I do
This happened on my first 6 about two months after I got it. after an arduous process with Apple tech support, I got it replaced. That phone’s battery started to die after about 6 months, so once again I got a replacement via Apple. Now, about three months later, that replacement has stopped connecting to the cell network as well, which is why I’m here today. I never had any of these issues with any of the prior generation iPhones and I’ve owned some version since 2007. Not sure if i’m just unlucky or if the 6 is just a… Read more »
I have been have this issue with my iPhone 6 for a few weeks now. It happens occasionally, but recently it has been occurring daily. Usually, resetting the phone few times got it to work, but that’s the only solution I found. I am strongly considering taking it to my local Verizon store to have it replaced, as the touchscreen also acts up and does not recognize touch input sometimes. I feel like water damage caused these events, but I do not remember getting my phone wet at all. Any input would be greatly appreciated.