You won’t be able to send or receive text messages, use Wi-Fi to access the internet, or make or receive phone calls if your iPhone displays “No Service.” When our iPhones stop working, it’s easy to forget how indispensable they have become to our lives. This post will outline the reasons behind your iPhone’s “No Service” message and provide step-by-step instructions for resolving it.
Why Does My iPhone Say No Service?
There could be a hardware, software, or cell phone plan issue causing your iPhone to display the message “No Service.” I’ll take you step-by-step through the troubleshooting techniques I found most useful when working at Apple because, regrettably, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this issue.
You might want to head back to civilization before continuing if you’re on top of a mountain. Let’s stop your iPhone from permanently claiming “No Service” if you’re not.
Check out our recently released video on YouTube for additional assistance with the steps below!
1. Check In With Your Carrier About Your Account
For a variety of reasons, carriers terminate consumers’ accounts. I’ve heard of instances when customers’ payments were deducted, iPhones were disconnected due to suspected fraudulent activity by the carrier, and unhappy couples who genuinely didn’t want to hear from their former partners.
Give your carrier a call to make sure everything is well if any of these explanations apply to you. If your account was canceled, your iPhone will display the message “No Service.” This is a typical, yet often missed, cause of the issue.
Check out my cell phone plan comparison tool to see how moving to a different plan could save you hundreds of dollars a year if you find that your carrier is the source of the No Service issue. If your carrier isn’t the cause of the issue (which it usually isn’t), it’s time to check the software on your iPhone.
2. Update Your iPhone’s Software and Carrier Settings
After Apple launched iOS 8, many people’s iPhones displayed No Service. While that issue has long since been fixed, iOS upgrades consistently include a plethora of solutions for less frequent software vulnerabilities that may result in the No Service issue. There are two possible courses of action:
whether you are able to establish a Wi-Fi connection, you can navigate to Settings -> General -> Software Update to see whether there is an available software update for your iPhone.
Check for a carrier settings update by going to Settings -> General -> About if there isn’t an iOS update available. Simply stay on the About screen for ten seconds or more, and if nothing appears, your carrier settings are current. There isn’t an option to check for these updates.
In the event that Wi-Fi is unavailable, connect your iPhone to your computer and check to see if there is a software update available using iTunes or Finder (accessible only on Macs running Catalina 10.15 or later). If an update for your iPhone is available, it will immediately ask if you want to install it. If asked, it’s a good idea to change the carrier settings as well, as iTunes and Finder both automatically check for updates.
It’s time to get deeper into troubleshooting if, even after updating your software, your iPhone still displays the message “No Service.”
3. Reset Network Settings
Numerous Wi-Fi and cellular-related issues on your iPhone might be resolved by returning it to its factory settings for the network. All of your Wi-Fi networks will be “forgotten” as a result, so you’ll need to reconnect and input your credentials again. If you restart your iPhone, the No Service issue might go away.
Go to Settings, then General, Transfer or Reset iPhone, Reset, and finally Reset Network Settings to reset your network settings. After entering the passcode for your iPhone, when the confirmation pop-up window shows up close to the bottom of the screen, tap Reset Network Settings.
4. Check the Cellular Settings On Your iPhone
Your iPhone has various options related to cellular data; if one of them isn’t configured properly, it may display the message “No service.” In some cases, toggling a setting on and off can solve an issue that has been inadvertently changed.
Diagnosing your iPhone’s cellular settings is challenging because the information displayed under Settings -> Cellular differs depending on your provider. Proceed to the next recommendation if you don’t find a setting I specify in this section; nothing is missing. These are some recommendations I have:
Check if Cellular Data is enabled by going to Settings -> Cellular. If so, attempt turning it off and back on once again.
Make sure Voice Roaming is activated by going to Cellular Data Options -> Roaming. For the majority of Americans, Voice Roaming ought to be enabled. Cellular roaming is no longer subject to fees from carriers. If you’re curious, one of our authors has a piece that describes how your iPhone’s voice and data roaming functions. Just so you know, it’s a good idea to disable Voice Roaming when you vacation abroad in order to save yourself a huge phone bill when you get home.
Switch off automatic carrier selection by going to Settings -> Carriers. If you manually select the cellular network to connect to, your iPhone can stop displaying the message “No Service.” Many readers may not see this choice on their iPhones, and that is acceptable. Only specific carriers are covered by it.
5. Remove your SIM card
The SIM card on your iPhone connects it to the cellular network of your carrier. Your carrier sets your iPhone apart from all the others with this feature. If you take out and re-insert your SIM card, your iPhone may occasionally stop displaying the No Service message.
Read steps 1-3 of my post about why iPhones occasionally claim “No SIM” if you’re unsure how to remove your SIM card. You can buy a SIM card ejector tool on Amazon to remove your SIM card, or you can use a paper clip.
6. Check for any water damage
While it makes sense that an iPhone with cracks might display the message “No Service,” water damage can be subtle and undetectable. Water damage is most likely the source of the issue if your iPhone begins to display “No Service” after getting wet.
Water-damaged iPhones are replaced by Apple rather than repaired. The cost of replacing a broken iPhone is quite low if you have AppleCare+ compared to what it would be without it.