Why is my mobile data not working?
If you’re out and about but can’t connect to the internet, chances are your mobile data isn’t working. Common signs include web pages failing to load, messages not sending, and social media feeds not updating.
There could be many reasons why your mobile data has stopped working:
- You could’ve exceeded your monthly data allowance
- Your mobile data could’ve turned itself off
- Your internet provider might be having issues
- You could be in a location that can’t receive a mobile signal
- Another feature on your smartphone could be interfering with your mobile data
Even if you don’t know the reason, you can use the following tips to try to solve your connectivity issues.
Some tips to fix your mobile data
You can try a few things to get your mobile data working again, particularly if you don’t know exactly what’s causing the problem.
Before you do anything else, check that your mobile data is turned on in your phone’s settings.
Settings > Mobile Data > Turn switch on (green)
Settings > Connections > Data usage > Mobile data
If your mobile data is turned on, here are some ideas you could try to get your data working again.
1. Have you exceeded your data allowance?
The first thing that could be stopping you from using mobile data is if you’ve reached your allowance for the month.
Many people opt for phone plans where they pay for a certain amount of data, minutes, and texts per month. If you’ve used up your allotted mobile data, you won’t be able to use it until your plan refreshes the next month.
If you have reached or exceeded your monthly limit, you should consider upgrading your bundle plan.
2. Restart your device
It may sound obvious, but sometimes devices just get overwhelmed over time. The longer you leave your phone on (and the more you use it), the less RAM it’ll have left to function properly. Try to restart your device so it has a chance to refresh its system.
To restart an iPhone:
- Hold the side button down until the power slider appears
- Drag the slider to turn off your phone
- Wait 30 seconds
- Hold the side button again until the Apple logo appears
To restart an Android:
- Hold the power button until the phone asks if you’d like to restart
- Swipe for yes
- Wait 30 seconds
- Hold the power button to turn the phone back on
3. Reset network settings
Resetting your network settings could solve several internet connection issues as you clear your phone’s built-up cache.
To reset an iPhone:
Settings > General > Reset > Reset network settings
To reset an Android:
Settings > System > Advanced > Reset options > Reset network settings
4. Update your software
It’s important to keep your phone’s operating system up to date. These updates fix common bugs and strengthen security measures against online threats. Old versions can also cause mobile data issues.
If your iPhone or Android is stuck on an earlier software update, you should update this to the newest version and see if that fixes the problem.
For iPhones, the most recent update is iOS 14.
For Androids, the most recent update is Android 11.
5. Check you’re not in Airplane mode
If Airplane mode is turned on, it will prevent your mobile data from working. Perhaps you’ve just come off a long flight, opted to put Airplane mode on at work as an alternative to the Do Not Disturb feature, or it’s been accidentally tapped. Whatever the reason, if Airplane mode is activated on your smartphone, you won’t be able to use mobile data.
6. Check your signal
Another thing you could check is the signal strength in your area. If your phone signal is low or down, you won’t be able to access data.
Areas where signal typically suffers includes:
- Certain buildings indoors
- Being underground
- Being far away from a mobile phone mast
- Surrounded by hills or other obstacles that could be blocking the signal
Simply moving to another area could allow you to access mobile data again.
7. Reinsert your SIM card
Another idea to solve your mobile data connectivity issues is by reinserting your SIM card into your phone. This will reboot the card and possibly reset the connection between your phone and cellular data.
Note: you must turn your phone off before removing your SIM card and placing it back in again.
8. Check your mobile service provider
You could check your mobile service provider online to see if they are having any problems that could be affecting your phone.
You can do this by either visiting their website, their social media platforms, or Down Detector, which will tell you if your provider is experiencing connectivity issues.
9. Factory reset your phone
As a last resort, you may wish to factory reset your phone, which involves completely clearing the data stored on it. You can download this all back again, as long as you back up all your information into cloud storage.
Follow our guide to safely and securely wipe your phone without losing anything important. Once you do so, you’ll need to set up your phone again like it’s new, including your Wi-Fi and mobile data.
10. Seek manufacturer’s help
If you feel you’ve tried everything you could to get your mobile data working again, then it’s probably out of your hands now. It could be a software or hardware issue that can’t be fixed by you alone. You’ll have to contact the manufacturer of your phone - Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. - to see if they will take a look.
Bear in mind that this repair may cost money, and, in the worst case, may require you to buy a new device altogether.
Learn more about mobile data in our data security article.
If you’re having any other issues with your phone, you may find it useful to refer to some of our other how-to guides.