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Why Does My Phone Say No Service? Simple Fixes for iPhone & Android

Why Does My Phone Say No Service? Simple Fixes for iPhone & Android

See,“No Service,” on your cell phone? Whether you prefer an Apple vs an Android, we have some answers for you.

Why Do I Have No Service?

Erroneous network settings, a buggy software update, an unreliable service provider, damage to your physical sim card, no proximity to Wi-Fi or a cell tower…there are all sorts of reasons your phone says No Service. Time to do some sleuthing!

How to Fix “No Service” Error Message on Your iPhone

Your iPhone says No Service? Let’s narrow down your culprits with these nine tips.

1. Be sure your iPhone isn’t set to Airplane Mode

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

This commonly causes problems, as airplane mode disables texts, calls, mobile data and other wireless functions. An indicator you’re in this mode is the airplane icon in the upper right corner of your screen where your signal strength status bar usually is. Turn airplane mode on and off from your phone settings or control center.

2. See if you’re outside your coverage area

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

If you’re outside your cellular network coverage area, you’ll have service issues. The signal strength bars in the upper right corner of the screen show if you’re not getting a good network connection. Generally, this happens when you’re in rural areas, underground, or in a building made of thick materials such as concrete, which blocks cell signals. The solution? Return to an area where you have network coverage.

3. Toggle your cellular data button

Tap settings, cellular, then look for the cellular data button. If it’s not on already, turn cellular data on. If it is on, turn it off then back on again. This nudges your phone to connect to your cellular network. It’s especially helpful if you were on the edge of or outside your service area. Sometimes, even when re-entering an area, you have coverage in, you’ll need to toggle this button to get it to reconnect.

4. Update your iPhone carrier settings

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

Mobile providers can have carrier updates that improve connectivity. To check for these, go to settings, general, then about, and wait about 25 seconds. Usually, if there is a carrier update, it will show up on your device. If it doesn’t? You’re likely already on the latest update. 

5. Restart your iPhone

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

Turning your phone off and on again might return normal cell functions. It’s common to reboot a problematic phone and you’d be surprised how often it works. Making sure your iOS version is up to date is also helpful.

6. Remove and re-insert your sim card

Your sim card (subscriber identity module) lets you connect to carrier networks. If your sim card is damaged or isn’t seated correctly? Problems. Carefully remove it from your phone, look for damage and gently clean it with a cotton swab or blow on it. Replace it in the device and see if it solves your problem. If it’s not functioning, you’ll need a new sim card. 

7. Reset network settings

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

Sometimes resetting your network to their factory settings can solve connectivity issues if there were bugs or corruptions. Access this through settings, general, reset, then reset network settings. Keep in mind that you’ll be clearing your Wi-Fi and VPN settings if you do this, so they’ll need to be reconfigured manually. Also be sure you’re resetting just your network. If you reset iPhone settings it’s a pain to get everything back the way you like it. 

8. Check with your cellular carrier

Sometimes the problem is the fault of your cellular service. It could be an issue with your plan, Wi-Fi, or even a local outage, in which case there’s not much you can do but wait. It’s important to know if your provider is the one who needs to address the issue so you don’t go through pointless efforts. 

9. Have Apple service your iPhone

Contact Apple support. The issue could be outside your expertise so service your device at an Apple store. 

How to Fix “No Service” Error Message on Your Android

No matter what kind of phone you have, the dreaded No Service error comes for all. Here are some tips for your Android phone, specifically.

1. Reboot your Android phone

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

Because restarting your phone forces it to reconnect, this can fix connectivity and network problems. Find that power button and get to work. 

2. Update your software

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

Keep your phone’s software up to date as there could be bugs or glitches that affect connectivity. A current OS gives your Android the best chance to function properly.

3. Inspect your sim card

Your sim card enables you to connect to Wi-Fi and carrier networks to perform all the usual tasks, like text messages, calls, internet, etc. This vital hardware needs to be inspected for damage. You can access it via the sim tray, and clean it gently with a cotton swab or blowing. Be sure that it hasn’t become dislodged and that it fits well when you reinsert it. Sometimes dropping the phone can knock the sim card askew, which could be the reason for the problem in the first place. 

4. Toggle Airplane Mode

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

From your notification panel, tap on your Airplane Mode option to turn it on and again to turn it off. Or, make sure that it wasn’t already turned on to begin with. Airplane Mode disconnects you from all network services. Turning off this mode reconnects you to your wireless carrier, which can be just the nudge your Android needs to get you back in service. 

5. Access service mode

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

*#*#4636#*#* is a code for Android phones to access information. Go to your dialer (just as you would when dialing a phone number), put in *#*#4636#*#* for the number. This puts it in service mode, so you can select Phone information/Device Information. This code tells you about the phone, battery, and usage statistics. You can also see if your cellular radio power is on, which is necessary for your phone to connect properly.

6. Select a carrier manually

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

Sometimes your phone struggles to locate its mobile network. If this happens, do it manually. The steps may be different depending on your specific device or OS version, but generally you’ll want to open settings, select mobile networks, select network operators, wait for it to scan local cellular connections, and then pick your network carrier from the list. Here’s a handy link if you want to know more about resetting network settings on your Android.

7. Make sure your IMEI number isn’t null

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique number that helps a network identify a device. If a phone is lost or stolen, carriers can deny listing a device based on their IMEI number, which prevents the phone from making/receiving calls or connecting online, even with a new sim card. However, if your IMEI is null, you could get a No Service alert. Go to your dialer and enter *#06#. If you end up with a valid IMEI number, you’re good. If you get null or invalid, you’ll need to reconfigure your settings.

8. Check that your custom ROM or applications aren’t the cause

Why Does My Phone Say No Service

Sometimes certain apps can affect your phone’s connection to cell towers, especially if they have administrative access. Another reason could be your custom ROM. A custom ROM is a modified version of Android’s operating system, some of which cause problems with your cellular radio, necessitating a factory reset to bring order back to your device.

9. Factory reset your phone

This is a fairly drastic step, so be warned that your data and applications will be deleted and go back to the software in its original state. If you want to save your data, back it up first. That said, this method could fix your problems, particularly if something like a custom ROM is the culprit.

Some of the fixes for Android phones will be the same as the iPhones, so go up and browse those steps too if you haven’t. Things like a carrier settings update, being outside your coverage map, issues with your cellular or mobile data plan, etc. 

Additional Troubleshooting Tips

Here are a few more things to try for No Service errors.

1. Checking for known issues with your carrier or phone model

Sometimes your phone model or network carrier is prone to problems. Research if it’s a common issue for other users and what can be done. You may need to find a new carrier or network provider if they don’t have the right support for your area.

2. Checking for water damage or physical damage

Dropping your phone or accidentally submerging it in water can cause problems. Inspect it for physical damage.

3. Contacting your carrier or manufacturer for further assistance

When all else fails, contact customer support through the phone’s manufacturer or your cell carrier. Likely they’ve run across your problem before.

4. Data roaming when traveling

If traveling internationally, you’ll need to be sure your cellular network carrier has data roaming, which you can activate in your cellular settings. Data roaming lets you use your phone outside your regular areas of network coverage by using the network of another provider. 

 5. If you regularly don’t have service

If you have a recurring service issue in an area with poor connectivity, try Wi-Fi calling. Wi-Fi calling is where you use a Wi-Fi network, instead of a cellular network, for phone calls and texts. If you live in a rural area with poor cellular coverage and signal issues, it’s a great option. Another possibility is a signal booster that amplifies the cell signal, enabling your phone to connect better. 

Besides everything listed here, there are plenty of other possibilities as to why your phone has no service. Problems with your APN settings, spotty Wi-Fi networks, a poor data plan, all sorts of complex problems. Don’t want to deal with it? Have your phone professionally serviced. Let someone else deal with the headache.

Want more handy tips, like how to transfer contacts from your Android to your iPhone? We’ve got you covered. 

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