No Service? How to Boost & Improve Your iPhone Signal
The worst thing that can happen to an iPhone? No service! If you have few or no signal bars and there’s no Wi-Fi network in sight, there is no way of making a call, texting or going online. Having little or no service on your iPhone is annoying, especially when using social media. Here are tips on how to combat “no service” on iPhone and improve your signal strength using these tricks.
Table of Contents
- Check “Airplane Mode”
- Reboot your iPhone
- Check your SIM card
- Update iOS
- Reset your network settings
- Using the Field Test App
1. Check “Airplane Mode”
A simple solution for connectivity issues and to increase the signal on iPhone is to deactivate Airplane Mode. You can enable it via the “Control Center” by swiping up from the very bottom of your screen and tapping the little airplane icon. Wait for a second or two to give a little time, then tap it again to disable Airplane mode. This will often reestablish a connection to your cellular network.
An alternative way to enable Airplane mode would be to open the “Settings” and tap the corresponding toggle at the very top of the menu.
Airplane mode is meant to be used during a flight, in order to prevent interference with the electronics on board of a plane. It disables all wireless radios on your iPhone. The Control Center is the quickest way of accessing the toggle. Learn more about the Control Center here.
2. Reboot your iPhone
If the above doesn’t work, we need to resort to further measures. The next step would be a full reboot of your iPhone, which is essentially a restart of the operating system. This can be accomplished by using a button combination. With older models you usually need to press the Sleepbutton and the Home Button until the screen blacks out. Read more about restarting your iPhone. We also have guides for iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
3. Check your SIM card
Should the signal issue still remain unresolved and you are pretty sure that you are not in the Siberian wilderness, where there are no cell towers, you’ll probably need to conduct some hardware troubleshooting. An improper fit can cause your SIM card to dislodge from the optimum position and, subsequently, cause it to lose contact.
This is a rare but not completely improbable situation, which can occur when a so-called SIM cutter was used to adapt a larger SIM card to the tiny nano-SIM slot of the iPhone. Use the SIM card removal tool or a thin needle to take out the SIM card tray and check the contacts of the card, as well as its fit within the tray. Then reinsert the card, unlock your iPhone and check the results.
4. Update iOS
It is not a good sign if the above three steps didn’t work, but don’t give up just yet. Updating your iPhone’s operating system could be the solution for your troubles. Open the “Settings”, go to “General” and then “Software Update” to check for any pending updates. Your carrier settings can sometimes only be updated, when you are on the most recent version of iOS that is available for your device.
5. Reset your network settings
Resetting your network settings in the “Settings” app will cause your iPhone to forget all passwords for wireless networks, so keep them handy for this troubleshooting step. It also flushes certain caches that are relevant for networking and is a useful aid in resolving connectivity issues, such as getting no signal. Tap the section labeled “General” in your settings, then “Reset” and finally “Reset Network Settings”.
Bonus: Using the Field Test App
As an additional hint, we’d like to introduce you to the secret “Field Test App” which is used by Apple to examine certain data with regard to your signal strength. You can access it by opening up your “Phone” app, going to the dialer, then entering the following combination: *3001#12345#* and finally confirming your choice via the green “Call” button.
The “Field Test App” will then open and display a numerical value for your current cell reception quality. The value ranges from -40 to about -120 and values closer to zero are better. Typically, you should get around -80 or better in a city environment. Getting -100 as your value means that the signal quality is degraded for some reason.