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.
Very suddenly…iphone 7 will not make calls. Sitting at the kitchen table, it shows 3 towers usually..then in an instant it says ‘No Service’. !! This is nuts. What is going on here?
Very helpful. I tried reinserting sim card, resetting network settings and switching phone on and off. None worked. I then switched off automatic network selection, I ticked my network and now it is working again.
I have just switched to Cricket from Verizon and my phone is working but saying no service. I have a I6
I tried all the options as per the above article but nothing worked and was still showing no service. Then I let the phone discharge completely and then charged it and now it works. Mine is an iphone7.
My iPhone 6 is saying no service I tried everything and still says no service or searching
We recently bought an iphone5s from someone online, but after trying everything, it still will not connect to our home router. However it does connect to another iPhone Hot Spot.
My iPhone 6 was dropped a week ago and my screen is cracked up . Yesterday my phone says searching or no service now. Could that be a SIM card reader issue? I can connect to wifi and Bluetooth just fine .
Ill need to phone them !!,
Hi mines a new iPhone 8 and Im visiting Ireland from uk, sadly none of your fixes worked for me but thank you for the clearest, most comprehensive instructions.
My husband’s iphone 5s said searching for a whole day. We tried all these fixes with no luck. However, one of these steps said to remove the sim card (which we did.) BUT, what worked for us is to remove the sim card, turn off the phone and plug it into the power source. We had to leave it like that over night and by morning, the message had changed from “searching” to “no sim card.” We replaced the sim card and was able to have service! It just had to reset without the sim card in it.
Hi David. Have you ever heard an explanation as to why this error happens? Is there a known hardware or software glitch?
thanks for your elaboration! It was already a great help and seemed to be promising. One thing that you may add: What about trying somebodies else’s Sim Card?
I tried all your steps, tried a different Sim Card, but my old one back in and afterward it worked but manually choosing the provider.
So, I can’t conclude which steps (resetting, manually choosing provider, exchange of SIM Card) worked, but I am back on track – which was my main concern 🙂
I have an iPhone 7 and i’ve done everything even things that arent on this list. please help this is the worst thing in the world
I don’t know what’s going on with my iPhone SE, this is a problem because I am a college student and have no way to call home to people who don’t have iPhones
Thanks! it seemed to work after i took out the SIM card
mines a 6s and it does this?? i hope this works!!
Help please! I have a iPhone 6 and it has not had service for 2 weeks. Just says searching. Ive got a new SIM card and updated but still searching.
i have a iphone 6s its says no service first night i hoped it would go away by switching it off and on, but no luck. second night after getting home from work i dropped it on the floor and got my home wifi back but on leaving home went back to no service third night i came home still could get no service so deliberetly dropped it on the floor and got my wifi network back! not really sure why but it might be a loose cable or something in phone, hopefully will find solution soon.
I have an iPhone 5. I had no signal for phone calls, but could do everything else. Turning off Cellular Data and turning it back on worked for me.
Thank you so much. I learned how to reset my phone and did not have to travel to an ATT location.
Read it somewhere else that if the iPhone 6 plus is bent it wont carry dignal from the SIM to the antenna. Mine is bent on the top right corner. I just fiddled it a bit and the signal came back. In my case it could be that.
Thank you – it’s fixed. Was a carrier problem.
Did all of the above with my iPhone 6, still says searching 🙁
i never had this problem with my first 5C, it got destroyed. I bought a used 5C. I had a new sim card put in (old sim card destroyed) . It worked at the phone store when new sim card installed. I came home called customer service, about getting my bill reduced. Lucas helped me save a few bucks. I thought all was well. But no suddenly I have “no service”. After hours of doing all the different fixes it finally shows I have service. But I cannot receive calls or make outgoing calls now. I am so frustrated!!!!!! I… Read more »
please give me solution
My Iphone 6 Shows That Problem. searching and comes network and aftar few mints No Service
My T mobile no service
I fix again , YouTube, carries update?
None of these work,… i’ve tried every of them
Thanks mike! Automatic carrier was on in Spain.
Ive had to have two 6’s replaced through Verizon and now a 7. Tech walked me through every possible fix with no success. It’s definitely a software problem IMHO (each phone has been in pristine condition). For me it didn’t start happening until after I started using iWatch app. That app is the first thing to go “buggy” each time before it finally reaches the unsalvageable “no service” message. It may be a coincidence. I’m not exactly well versed in technology.
I have an Iphone 7plus and this is the second time the same problem has happened to me. The first time they literally changed it for me at the store without ever telling me what was wrong with it. I’m going to be taking it to the store soon again but i was hoping that i could fix it myself cause i honestly don’t like getting a new phone and restoring, worrying wether all my contacts are here and my pictures oh man i hate it. Maybe this time Apple will tell me why my iphone just says “no service”
i am using an iphone6 after i updated the software from 11.0.3 to 11.1 my iphone started (up to now) “no service” done everything but still didn’t fix the issue, called apple support hence wasn’t able to fix it, and waiting for an update from them on how to handle this…
Still says no service and searching
Thank you, I have had ‘no service’ on my phone for a couple of months and have been texting people through my iPad, however I haven’t recieved answers back a lot of the time and wondered why! I have now rejoined my service provider thanks to your guidance.
Thanks from a Silver Surfer!!!
its doing my head in
Ive had the same issue no network
A Temporary additional way to FIX this i did is to do a “hard reset reboot” on my iphone. The way this is done is simple. While having your iphone ON you must then press and hold the “power off” button as well the “Home button” at the SAME time press both of them hold both buttons pressed all the way until you see a “while apple logo” apear u may then stop and let go of buttons. After this u may possible be reconnected to your cellphone company network.
Nothing works! My Iphone is actually the old Iphone from my uncle… maybe i should ask him! When i have the awnser i’ll give you it <3
I noticed on her phone if you go settings-general-about next to network it has “Not Available”? but further down next to Service Provider it has 2 degrees which is what she is on prepaid.
Hi all my daughers phone has the no service going on so i have reset network settings and reset all settings and we still have no service. Anything else we can do she has a iphone 5s.
Please tell me its can be fix?
Hi. Tried all of the above yet the issue isn’t fixed.
Unbent a paperclip, took out and replaced the SIM and bingo! Thanks 🙂 Bit of a pain that it is my husband’s phone and he had this problem while travlling across Europe and therefore had no access to the net (or paperclips) so had to wait until he came home for me to sort but hey ho!
Your solutions worked! Not sure which… got about halfway through your list and presto! (I skipped the “check your carrier” part – I always pay my bill.)
I’m bookmarking you, in case this happens again.
My “no service” and “searching” was only solved for real (not temporarily) by turning off “Enable LTE”. This is found in Settings, Cellular, Cellular Data Options, Enable LTE, turn it OFF. The reason is that the towers closest to me have not yet been set up for LTE service but they work great with 4G. I have AT&T service. I had the same problem while with Cricket.
Or as in my case. My 6s has a slight bend to it. Found after much nashing of teeth the redneck method worked fine. Applied pressure to the case to straighten it and it booted up fine with service. who wouldve thunk! Love my 6s but it’s pretty flimsy even in an otter box!
I have had this problem today. followed all tips, as above, but still no service message. Rang supplier, told me to go into settings – carrier and disable automatic, it then searched and found four carriers 02,VODAPHONE,3UK and Virgin. Told me to select vodaphone (which is not my carrier) and let it fail, then select Virgin, which is my carrier, and it found it and the no service message disappeared and phone back to normal. Hope this helps
Just couldn’t call out. Was able to text and use safari. Updated software. Have two bars service now and can finally call out after almost a week. Yay!
i do not have a good phone- i have a BLU but i am having the same issues where i can not call or text
helpfull good solution its work