What Is A “Carrier Settings Update” On An iPhone? Here’s The Truth!

You turn on your iPhone and immediately see a pop-up that reads, “Carrier Settings Update”. OK, new settings are available — but what does this message mean, and should you update? In this article, I’ll explain why it says “Carrier Settings Update” on your iPhone, what a carrier settings update does to your iPhone, and show you how to check for carrier settings updates in the future.

What Is A “Carrier Settings Update”?

When you see an alert that says “Carrier Settings Update” on your iPhone, it means that Apple or your wireless carrier (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, etc.) have released an update with new carrier settings that will help improve your iPhone’s ability to connect to your wireless carrier’s network.

For example, if you’re on AT&T, you might see a message that says “AT&T carrier update” or “ATT carrier update”.

Is It Important To Update Carrier Settings On My iPhone?

When your wireless carrier updates their technology, your iPhone also has to update in order to connect with that new technology. If you don’t perform the carrier settings update, your iPhone may not be able to connect to everything your wireless carrier offers. So, it’s very important to make sure you do a carrier settings update for your iPhone in 2020 and install those new carrier settings.

Furthermore, a carrier settings update on your iPhone may also introduce new features such as Wi-Fi calling or voice-over-LTE, or fix software bugs and glitches that are causing problems for a lot of iPhone users.

How Do I Know If A Carrier Settings Update Is Available?

When a carrier settings update is available, you’ll usually receive daily pop-ups on your iPhone that say, “Carrier Settings Update: New settings are available. Would you like to update them now?”

But what if you want to check for a carrier settings update manually? There isn’t a “Check For Carrier Updates” button anywhere on your iPhone. There is, however, another way to check:

To check for a carrier settings update on your iPhone, open the Settings app and tap General -> About. If there’s an available carrier settings update on your iPhone, a pop-up will appear on the screen asking if you want to update. If 15-30 seconds pass and no pop-up appears on your iPhone, that means that there probably aren’t new carrier settings updates for your iPhone in 2020.

check for carrier settings update on iphone

How Do I Update Carrier Settings On My iPhone?

To update the carrier settings on your iPhone, tap Update when the alert appears on the screen. Unlike other updates or resets, your iPhone will not restart after the carrier settings are updated.

tap update to update carrier settings

How To Check If iPhone Carrier Settings Are Up To Date

If you’re unsure whether or not the carrier settings actually updated, do this:

  1. Turn your iPhone off and back on again by pressing the power button until slide to power off appears on the screen of your iPhone. Then, swipe the red power icon from left to right to shut down your iPhone.
  2. Wait approximately 30 seconds, and turn your iPhone back on by pressing and holding the power button until the Apple logo appears directly in the center of your iPhone’s display.
  3. Then, open up the Settings app and tap General -> About. If an alert doesn’t pop-up on the screen saying a carrier settings update is available on your iPhone, that means your carrier settings are up to date.

Carrier Settings: Updated!

Your carrier settings are up to date and next time you’ll know what it means when iPhone says “Carrier Settings Update”. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below, and don’t forget to follow Payette Forward on social media platforms for the best iPhone content on the internet!

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Christine Abellana
26 days ago

my iPhone 5s no service how can I fix it

Liam Shotwell
24 days ago

This article might be able to help you if your iPhone 5 says no service.

1 month ago

Thanks, for that nice, brief summary/overview. Helped clarify things for me a lot.

Liam Shotwell
1 month ago
Reply to  WTB

I’m glad this worked well for you 😁

2 months ago

what country if my iphone has a carrier lab 42.0?

Azahar Gharami
5 months ago

Carries settings unable please help me

5 months ago

Wonderful concise help. I now have service. Thanx heaps

5 months ago

Whenever I make calls my phone says “You are not able to make calls at this time, always allowed numbers can be reached.” why is it doing this? The carrier is up to date please help.

Liam Shotwell
5 months ago
Reply to  Aubree

Is this a T-Mobile issue by any chance? I’ve seen this issue before and while I haven’t found a solid answer on how to fix it, it sounds to me like parental control settings gone wrong. I would reach out to your carrier to ask them about it and see if they can get it resolved, but poke around your iPhone settings to see if you can find any parental control or call settings that might have been switched on. If you can’t get it resolved, the next best thing is to try a new network entirely. Here is a… Read more »

6 months ago

Exact details to fix the message on my phone. Perfect, detailed directions! Worked like a charm.

7 months ago

My iPhone says no service

Muluadam Desalgn
5 months ago
Reply to  Linos

My phone PRM 11 the same as u

Rosie Estep
8 months ago

My phone show service but won’t let me call out

9 months ago

It keeps saying “error occurred” when i turn the iMessage toggle on and off. it still says “waiting for activation. it’s been a while now. i’ve tried everything

John resan
9 months ago

If sim is network lock, In that case also you will get carrier update notification.

9 months ago

If I do a carrier update on my phone will it also activate any apps that are waiting to be installed?

9 months ago

My I phone says iphone is not activated no services ho can I fix it

9 months ago

What did you do.

9 months ago

I received an email stating that “due to a problem with payment method you provided, we couldn’t charge your account for you case. Then there appears a long case #. If you don’t update your information in 24 hours your Apple ID will permanently locked. To unlock your Apple ID please visit the link to log in to your Apple ID and update your your billing information.” https://applied.apple.com/update/billing. My billing is thru at& t not Apple. I’m really Leary about updated this because I called at & t about the email they think it’s a scam because my billing is… Read more »

9 months ago
Reply to  Jean

Yeah I think it is a scam i have had that a couple of times. You should be fine.

9 months ago


apple did a remote diagnostic and they said its a hardware issue that can not be fixed
i did a hard reset and it did work for a few hours
now its back to searching i can use internet but can not make calls
whats next

Femi Ola
11 months ago

I was gifted an iPhone with the pack and a pre-order SIM card which I disposed because I am in Nigeria and the sim type is not what we used in Nigeria. Now my iPhone always say activation required for my country carriers and I have try to activate it all to no avail pls help. I guess it should be an unlocking issue and I have tried different tutorial on youtube to unlock it and none of it happens to solve my problem

Faith Walkup
11 months ago

Help. As an elderly disabled Senior I am learning to use the XR given to me by my brother. The carrier is AT&T for cellular. I do not have WiFi. I tried the carrier update but it requires WiFi. No can do. Like your videos but what can I do now?

Liam Shotwell
11 months ago
Reply to  Faith Walkup

Simplest solution I can think of to get that carrier settings update if it only allows you to get it through Wi-Fi is to go to somebody’s house that has Wi-Fi and use theirs. I don’t recommend using public Wi-Fi because it may not be secure. Other thing you can maybe do is have a friend nearby turn on their phone’s mobile hotspot. This will show their phone as a Wi-Fi network that you can connect to so you can download that carrier settings update.

Mark Crim
11 months ago

I’ve been annoyed by this “carrier settings update” for a couple of weeks thinking it was malware. I checked with my true carrier and they informed me that they had no such alert tied to my my iPhone account with them. Suspicion bells started going off. Thanks to this blog I happily touch Update and that was the end of that. To be sure, I followed the “check it” routine and it has been removed from my iPhone. ✔︎
iPhone SE 2 13.5.1

Last edited 11 months ago by Mark Crim
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Crim

I started getting those pop ups on my SE recently, too, and was suspicious. Thank you for posting this comment.

1 year ago

Network not available on my iPhone X

My iPhone Says iMessage Is "Waiting For Activation". Here's The Fix!
1 year ago

[…] and your wireless carrier regularly release carrier settings updates that improve your iPhone’s ability to connect to your wireless carrier’s cellular […]

Diane Green
1 year ago

I did the carrier update , now when talking on phone the voice on the other end sort is muffled and hard to hear. I turn up volume still doesn’t sound good. HATE updates, always screwing something up. Agh!

Mark Crim
11 months ago
Reply to  Diane Green

I’ll be listening for that issue on my iPhone. Thanks!

11 months ago
Reply to  Diane Green

Do you still notice this problem? Reason I’m asking this is because even though my iPhone is the 8Plus, my husbands is the SE and whenever either one of us receive calls, the only way the caller can hear and understand us speaking is if we place them on speaker phone. It’s frustrating as heck! We’re going to do the carrier update today to see if that helps. I had to google this information first to make sure it was legitimate.

My iPhone Says No Service. Here's The Real Fix!
1 year ago

[…] 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 […]

3 years ago

Why do I keep getting notifications that Carrier Settings need to be updated but when I check in settings, it tells me they are up to date? Bogus?

3 years ago

iphones are awful!

3 years ago

My iphone 5s camera is blurring after the updation 10.3.2 i have restored it also. Service centre said there is nothing wrong with the camera. What to do?

4 years ago

Now tell me how to get rid of this on FB on my IPhone

4 years ago

On the iPhone 7, I get calls that they can’t send or receive text. The carrier can’t find nothing wrong. I know texting requires cellular data. And iMessage uses wifi. The phone says it has current update. Updating the iOS doesn’t work. And updating or restoring it iTunes doesn’t work. Any suggestions?

6 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

same problem with me what did uu do?

Invalid SIM On iPhone? Here's Why & The Real Fix! | Payette Forward
2 years ago

[…] check to see if a carrier settings update is available on your iPhone. Apple and your wireless carrier will frequently release carrier […]