How to Fix 'No Service' or 'Searching' Errors iPhone

Introduction

If your iOS device displays a "No Service" or "Searching" message, or can't connect to your cellular network or cellular data, the following steps may help resolve these issues for you.
iOS home page showing No Service in the corner

This guide will cover:

  • Restarting your iOS device
  • Checking for a Carrier settings update
  • Resetting Network Settings
  • Updating your iOS device
  • Resetting your SIM card

1 Enable Cellular Data

Make sure that you're in an area with cellular network coverage. If you're not within range of your network you may not be able to access your cellular data or you may be charged roaming fees.

If you can't connect to a cellular network on your iOS device, make sure that cellular data is on:

  1. Tap Settings.
    iOS Settings icon.
  2. Tap Cellular.
    iOS Settings highlighting the cellular option.
  3. Make sure Cellular Data is switched on. 
    iOS Cellular options highlighting cellular slider button.

If you're traveling internationally, make sure that your device is set up for data roaming:

To avoid massive overage or roaming charges, check with your cellular provider first to make sure this is a safe option to turn on for your current device and service plan.

  1. Go to Settings.
    iOS Settings icon.
  2. Tap Cellular.
    iOS Settings screen with cellular option highlighted.
  3. From the Cellular menu, select Cellular Data Options.
    iOS Cellular menu with cellular data options highlighted.
  4. Then, select the Roaming option.
    iOS Cellular data options menu highlighting the roaming option.
  5. From the Roaming menu, switch on the Data Roaming option.
    iOS Roaming menu, highlighting the data roaming option.

? After making sure Cellular Data is on, are you able to get service?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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If your iOS device displays a "No Service" or "Searching" message, or can't connect to your cellular network or cellular data, the following steps may help resolve these issues for you.
iOS home page showing No Service in the corner

This guide will cover:

  • Restarting your iOS device
  • Checking for a Carrier settings update
  • Resetting Network Settings
  • Updating your iOS device
  • Resetting your SIM card

Make sure that you're in an area with cellular network coverage. If you're not within range of your network you may not be able to access your cellular data or you may be charged roaming fees.

If you can't connect to a cellular network on your iOS device, make sure that cellular data is on:

  1. Tap Settings.
    iOS Settings icon.
  2. Tap Cellular.
    iOS Settings highlighting the cellular option.
  3. Make sure Cellular Data is switched on. 
    iOS Cellular options highlighting cellular slider button.

If you're traveling internationally, make sure that your device is set up for data roaming:

To avoid massive overage or roaming charges, check with your cellular provider first to make sure this is a safe option to turn on for your current device and service plan.

  1. Go to Settings.
    iOS Settings icon.
  2. Tap Cellular.
    iOS Settings screen with cellular option highlighted.
  3. From the Cellular menu, select Cellular Data Options.
    iOS Cellular menu with cellular data options highlighted.
  4. Then, select the Roaming option.
    iOS Cellular data options menu highlighting the roaming option.
  5. From the Roaming menu, switch on the Data Roaming option.
    iOS Roaming menu, highlighting the data roaming option.

To restart your device:

iOS devices with side buttons pointed out

Restart your iPhone X

  1. Press and hold the Side button and either volume button until the slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to turn your iPhone X completely off.
  3. After your iPhone X turns off, press and hold the Side button again until you see the Apple logo.

Restart your iPhone 8 or earlier, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Press and hold the Top (or Side) button until the slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to turn your device completely off.
  3. After the device turns off, press and hold the Top (or Side) button again until you see the Apple logo.

With iOS 11 or later, you can also turn off your device by going to Settings, then General, then Shut Down.

Depending on what device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) and which generation you have, the menu theme and options might look slightly different on your screen. However, the steps should be the same across all iOS devices and generations.

To Check If Your iOS Mobile Device Is Connected to Wi-Fi

  1. From the main screen of your device, look for and open Settings.
    iOS Settings icon.
  2. With Settings open, look for the Wi-Fi field. This field will display the current Wi-Fi status on the right hand side:
      • Off - the Wi-Fi antenna is currently disabled.
      • Not Connected - Wi-Fi is turned on, but your device is not currently connected to a network.
      • Wi-Fi network name - Wi-Fi is turned on, and the network name displayed is the network your device is currently connected to.
    Wi-Fi highlighted in iOS settings.
  3. You can also tap on the Wi-Fi field and make sure the Wi-Fi switch is in the On position. The switch should be green in color and will display the network that you are currently connected to directly beneath it with a check mark to the left.
    iOS Wi-Fi menu highlighting the Wi-Fi switch and the currently connected network.

To ensure that your device is able to check for and perform this update, make sure your iOS device is connected to Wi-Fi before proceeding.

  1. Tap Settings.
    iOS Settings icon.
  2. Tap General.
    iOS settings menu with general highlighted
  3. Tap About.
    iOS general settings with about highlighted
  4. If a carrier settings update is available, you'll be prompted to update. Select Update to perform the update.
    iOS carrier update prompt
  1. Tap Settings.
    iOS Settings icon.
  2. Tap General.
    iOS Settings menu with general highlighted.
  3. Tap Reset.
    iOS general settings with reset highlighted.
  4. Tap Reset Network Settings.
    iOS reset menu with reset network settings highlighted.

This also resets Wi-Fi networks and passwords, cellular settings, and VPN and APN settings that you've used before.

To check and see if updates are available for your iOS device:

  1. Open Settings on your phone or tablet.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    iOS settings page with general highlighted.
  3. Select Software Update.
    iOS general settings with software update highlighted.
  4. Your iOS device will perform a search for available iOS updates.
    • If no update is available, it will display your current version of iOS and inform you that your software is up to date.
      iOS up to date software page.
    • If an update is available, it will be displayed.
      iOS update display.
      • Select Download and Install to begin the update process.
      • If prompted, enter your passcode to proceed.
  1. To open the SIM card tray, insert a paper clip or your device's SIM-eject tool into the hole beside the tray.
    iPhone showing the paper clip and sim card.
  2. Push the paperclip or eject tool in firmly towards the device, but do not force it. The SIM tray should pop out and away from the body of the device.
    iPhone with the paperclip ejecting the sim card.
  3. Pull out the SIM card tray and remove the SIM card. Inspect the SIM card and ensure there is no damage to it.
    iPhone and a removed sim card.
  4. Insert the SIM card back into the tray and re-seat the tray into the device completely. Ensure the SIM card and tray are inserted using the same orientation it had when it was removed.
    iPhone with a sim card being inserted.
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