Why Does My Phone Say No Service? 5 Tips for Troubleshooting

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to make an important phone call only to learn that your phone is not getting any service. In this day and age, it is important to be able to stay connected, as our smartphones are firmly integrated into our lives at home and work. 

Today’s cellular networks are more robust and expansive than ever, giving people worldwide access to consistent talk, text, and data. So when you lose service on your phone, why exactly is that happening?

Why Does My Phone Not Have Cellular Service?

There are a variety of reasons that your phone might not be able to connect with a network. In order to figure out how to fix your phone, you need to understand what is wrong with it in the first place. 

You Are in a Dead Zone

One possible reason is that you could be in a cellular data or wi-fi network dead zone. While big cell carriers have spent a lot of money on infrastructure over the past decade, there will always be gaps in coverage at one point or another. 

Importantly, most network providers in the United States have free domestic data roaming options that let you tell your phone to automatically switch to whatever network is active if your native carrier is not working in that region. 

However, there are rural parts of the country where no wireless carrier has an established cellular presence. This could be due to low population in that area or issues with the terrain, and as a result, there are many mountainous areas where it is not possible to get network coverage. 

If you are in a dead zone, the only real way to get a connection is to leave the dead zone, which is an important thing to keep in mind. 

SIM Card Malfunction

A lot of the tech behind our phones has evolved over the last twenty years, but the practicality of SIM cards has remained consistent. SIM cards are the hardware that your phone uses to interface with your carrier. 

It stores your personal information, such as your phone number, and it allows you to connect with the network you are paying for. In older phones, this was always a physical card. If it was not properly inserted into the SIM slot, it might cause you to lose connection to your network. 

These days it is common for SIM cards to be integrated into the phone in a way that makes it impossible to remove. In this instance, there may be a hardware or software error causing the SIM card to malfunction. 

Your Battery Is Low

All aspects of your phone can start to diminish in quality when you let the battery life decline too far. You might find your phone slowing down or even losing connection to the internet entirely. Modern smartphones allocate energy as best they can to the components that need it, and if energy is low, it is not uncommon for network connection to be an early casualty. 

Software Glitch

Sometimes, at the end of the day, it is just a glitch in your system that is causing your phone to have connection problems. Multiple reported glitches in both Android and Apple phones can cause your phone to go offline entirely. 

These glitches sometimes come as a result of new software updates or changes. Alternatively, a hardware issue could conflict with the software you are running. Regardless of the problem, simple glitches in your system are common reasons for your phone to lose service. 

How Do I Fix No Service?

Luckily enough, no service errors are usually very routine and fixable. Here are some of the things you can try if you cannot connect your phone to your service provider:

1. Turn the Phone Off and On

As with many other forms of technology, sometimes the best thing to do is just turn the device off and on again. We have our phones undergo a lot of complex processes, often simultaneously. 

As a result, phones need to keep up with a lot of temporarily stored data. The longer we keep our phone on without resetting it, the more this data piles up. 

Sometimes, some issues with this temporary data can cause our phone to malfunction. Turning them off and on again wipes away the temporary stuff without forcing us to commit to a full system reset. More often than not, giving your phone the chance to reset in this way is an effective method for fixing software issues like failed network connections. 

You can also try to reset network settings on the phone, which will set your phone back to the default cellular data options and mobile network settings.

2. Turn Airplane Mode On and Off

This serves the same purpose as the last method but specifically resets your network connection. The purpose of airplane mode is to prevent outside signals from reaching your phone and thus cut off your phone from sending any signals as well. 

When you turn on airplane mode, it turns off your network and mobile data capabilities, allowing it to reset fully. Sometimes your iPhone’s network and cellular settings just need the opportunity to restart their connections in order to start working again. 

3. Check Your SIM Card

If your phone is experiencing a SIM card malfunction, you can remove the SIM card and reinsert it to make sure it is properly installed. This is possible on older phones and some new models that have retained the same removable SIM card. 

If you have a more modern phone with a SIM card that cannot be removed, sometimes you can manually select your carrier via your SIM card virtually. 

Smartphones often have a settings tab where you can select your carrier. If you have roaming on, this will usually be set to auto-select. You can try resetting this by having your SIM card specifically access your carrier. 

4. Reset to Factory Settings

Sometimes the only way to fix the issue is to reset your cell phone to factory settings. This completely wipes your phone of all personal data, including photos, passwords, and apps. On the flip side, it will also remove any software glitches that arose while you had the phone. 

Before you do this, it is important to make a backup of your data. Most phones and carriers have cloud storage options that let you instantly restore the data on your phone after you do the reset. 

This is usually a last resort, as it can take hours for the process to be completed depending on your phone and how much data you had. 

All phones will work differently, but all of them will have the option to do a factory reset in the settings tab. The phone will usually confirm that you are ready to erase everything on your phone to make sure you are not misclicking the option. 

5. Take the Phone in for Repairs

If nothing you do works, you may have to take the phone in to get repairs done. Your carrier will usually have local locations that you can go to with your phone to put in an order for repairs. Alternatively, the phone’s manufacturer may have repair options or even warranty options if you opted into them when you purchased the device.

While it can be a hassle to do this, thorough attempts at fixes that end in failure tend to mean that a professional needs to take a look at the phone to determine if it can be salvaged. 


Almost anyone who owns a smartphone will experience a no-service issue at one time or another. Moving to a more active area or just turning your system off and on again can make it right as rain. 

Other times, accumulated data issues require a basic or even full factory reset. If you are ever unsure of what to do, you always have the option of calling your carrier for tips on how to resolve your network connection. 

Use Navi if you need to find out which carriers offer the best support services. Navi uses its industry insights to point you toward the plans that work best for your needs at the lowest prices. 

Whichever carrier you choose, make sure you check in on your repair and warranty options, just in case restarting your phone isn’t enough to get your network connection back. 


If you see No Service, Searching, or SOS on your iPhone or iPad | Apple Support

Why Does Turning Things Off And On Always Seem To Fix Them? | HuffPost Life

How to perform Factory Reset on Android smartphone? | Samsung