Troubleshooting "No Service" messages on iPhone, part 2
February 14, 2010
Mac OS X | Troubleshooting | iPhone

There has been so much interest recently in my post on the No Service error message that appears to be plaguing particularly 3G iPhones, that it seemed appropriate to put up a more detailed summary of possible fixes for the "No Service" message on the iPhone.

Below is a summary of all the suggestions from the many comments on the original post (thanks to all the commenters!) and from several sites around the web.

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Posted by ellen at February 14, 2010 10:47 AM
  1. First, try a complete reboot of the iPhone. Hold down the Sleep/wake button at the top right of the phone and the round Home button below the screen on the front of the phone at the same time, until the screen goes black and an Apple logo appears. At this point you can release the buttons and wait for it to finish rebooting.
  2. Try switching Airplane mode on and off.
  3. Disable 3G. Sometimes the iPhone is not fast enough in switching between 3G and 2G. [LINK]
  4. Dock the phone or attach a USB cable (attached to nothing on the other side)
  5. Charge the phone fully, using the wall adapter.
  6. Reset Network Settings.
    1. Important: The following fix will lose any wifi settings and passwords you have set up. You may want to note them before going forward.
    2. Go to Settings: General: Reset
    3. Click Reset Network Settings
    4. Enter your passcode if you have created one
    5. Click the red button: Reset Network Settings
    6. The iPhone will take a minute to shut down then it will reboot.
  7. Re-seat your SIM card. 
    1. Insert the end of a paperclip into the hole on the SIM tray (look for a tiny hole in the long, narrow rectangular metal shield in the center of the top edge of your iphone. NOT the headphone jack - it is a much smaller hole.) 
    2. Press it in until the SIM tray pops out. This is sort of the way we used to eject jammed CD trays - push a paper clip into the eject hole. 
    3. Remove and replace the SIM back into the tray. 
    4. Push the tray back in.
  8. Attach a small piece of Scotch tape to the outer side of the SIM card (the side withoug contacts). This put just enough pressure on the contacts to increase signal strength for some people. LINK
  9. Restore your iPhone using the latest version of iTunes.

Other possible fixes (untested, try these at your own risk!):

  • Use old SIM cardSome people have had luck with putting the old SIM card from their old iPhone into their new 3G phone. LINK]

  • Open the iPhone, find the 3 points where the antenna wires connect and press the connection points with the point of a tiny jeweler's screwdriver to create a dimple or hole (I have NO idea what this is supposed to accomplish) then put folded aluminum foil pieces over them. I don't recommend this, but am including it for completeness:


  • Purchase a signal booster. Here's an entire site devoted to boosting iPhone antenna signal strength.
    . NOTE: I have no idea if any of these signal booster devices work - buyer beware.

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thank you soooo much angel.

Rebooting worked. Thank you very much!

Reboot was all it took

Thank you! Taking out and replacing the sim card worked! Thanks so much.

"Steve Jobs, expresses annoyance with the critical coverage of the phone's reception problems" Maybe if the Apple company fessed up sooner the media storm wouldn't have gotten so terrible. I think they thought if they avoided the problem it would go away. Its obvious that Apple is well on its way to become the company they once said they would never become.

Airplane mode did the trick for me. Thanks!

Thanks - rebooting worked!

Thanks so much Ellen. Yay for people who provide solutions on the net.

none of these worked for me, everytime i try one of them i just get a message saying waiting for activation can anyone help ? :(

none worked for me

iphone 3gs
no jailbreak
i turn on 3g and no service. i turn off 3g and i get Edge and service.
im in Seattle, it used to work fine.
in network settings i have noticed the absence of Edge on/off ...
I've tried all of these fixes shy of "at ur own risk"

3gs w no 3g. wtf?

Nothing Fixed my no service problem :(

has iOS four.2 been unblocked but? I can't reside with Cydia so not update my iPhone yet.

I have an iPhone 3gs, here recently it started displaying "no service" at the top. I have tried rebooting it, I have tried, everything an it still says it. I can still use the internet through wi-fi but I get no cell service what so ever. Can anyone help me?

have had same no service message on brand new 3gs, apple replaced phone after only 3 weeks so didnt think it was a phone fault but was with vodafone the provider. they have replaced the sim card and the message is now intermittent, but still happens. other half has same phone, same network but no message when i have!!!

Hi thanks V much, switching of 3G worked

Just got "No Service" message. In General settings: turned off 3 G, Reset Network. Worked like a charm.

Thank you so much. Bought the iphone4 for xmas and have been struggling between apple, vodafone and iprimus to fix "no service" problem. End of my tether and found this. Thank u, thank u

Nothing worked for me,so I think mine maybe a hardware problem but thanks anyway

glyn said:

"have had same no service message on brand new 3gs, apple replaced phone after only 3 weeks so didnt think it was a phone fault but was with vodafone the provider. they have replaced the sim card and the message is now intermittent, but still happens. other half has same phone, same network but no message when i have!!!"

I've had exactly the same problem from around december/Jan. I have been thinking it was vodafone coverage issues. Reset netowork setting, new SIM, other phones with my SIM picked up the signal. I've just tried restoring phone settings for a second time. Got soft signal. I'll see how I go tomorrow.

I have a UK iphone on the Vodafone network and I am plagued with no service or loss of signal messages. I just tried this and the turning off the 3G worked for me. A good solution but what a hopeless phone/network combination!

Thanks so much for this, saved me a phone call :)

hi guys none work with my iphones pls help

I didn't have the No Service message, but couldn't get above a one bar signal. I've had success using the 'turn airplane mode off then on' trick before, but it wasn't working this time. I've also tried the reboot before with success, but it wasn't working this time. Finally, the trick of turning off 3G worked a treat. This is a really good lists of tips. Thanks very much.

I've been fighting with this issue for a few days. All of a sudden, I won't have signal for hours or days, and my boyfriend's iPhone 4 has full signal the entire time. Very strange. Also, full bars appear until I make a call and then it drops to 1 bar or no signal.

I've reset the network settings, restored to original phone settings through itunes, switched off airplane mode and wifi, powered off and on. Finally, I think ejecting the SIM card did the trick. Fingers crossed.

Thanks so much!

thanks disabling 3g worked for me

#6 finally worked for me!

Thanks so much - the airplane mode trick worked for me


I just read this whole list and tried a couple of them. Here's a fix you guys don't have on here: take the case off and clean the phone! As soon as I did this my service came back in full.

Try that first!

Have rebooted. Airplane mode. Took the sim card out. Nothing is working. Going back to Apple.

Thnx. Was connected to wifi in hotels in 2 diff eu countries. Got back uk and 'no service' after trying everything.
#3 did it. (iPhone 1).

Thank you, the first suggestion did the trick

Hi, my iPhone 3Gs usually has signal in my own home & I have a reception box to make my signal even better. My reception box is working, but my iPhone says that I have no service when I should, I'm getting so frustrated & I've tried everything to try & get my signal to come back but it just won't. Others in my household with iPhone 3Gs' also have the same problem. We always just suffered from a horrible weather storm. Could this storm have anything to do with my signal problem? PLEASE HELP ME!

Resetting the network settings worked for me,thank you very much for the help and hopefully these ideas will help out a lot more people

Great Job! The first step, a reset, worked fine!

Thanks rebooting worked for me

the reset worked for me but prolly not for long

Rebooting did the trick. Thanks for the info.

hi, i tried everything. what worked for me was turning 3g off.. then duin the reset network settings.. then it worked. after that u can turn 3g bak on. and everything should work =)

Thank youuu!!

dodgy SIM card seems to be my problem - as diagnosed by swapping with another phone (the problem stayed with the SIM card rather than the phone).

hey had the same, update new software so far so good

I have a iphone 3G .I have the" No Service" messageor loss of signal messages .I've reset the network settings, restored to original phone settings , switched off airplane mode and wifi, powered off and on. Finally, I think ejecting the SIM card did the trick. Fingers crossed
Thanks so much!
Taleb Malaeb

Had no service msg...did everything. Put sticky tape on back of SIM card and eventually it is working again....message board helped lots!!!


I tried everything. Nothing worked. Finally, I dropped my phone from 3 feet and it's back to normal,,,

In Japan skiing. Received SMS messages then suddenly NO SERVICE. I've tried everything except sticky tape but it's still not working. I live in Singapore so will see what happens when I return. Any other ideas ?

Tried the above and nothing worked still "no service" Turned off the 3g and rebooted and it worked...

Nothing works... Kewl

Hey thanks, just switching airplane mode on then off that fixed it.

Thank you so much! Reboot did the trick!

Thanks...On my 4GS the Reset Network Settings worked great when I had "no service" and I couldn't sync to iTunes.

Praise God! The tape worked! Thank you so much for your help!

I keep seeing turn off 3G...How do you do that?

Thank you so much! The scotch tape trick was all it took!

Thanks Reboot worked for me, now I'm getting a ghost voicemail.

I dropped my iphone and thats what caused the searching... no service.. searching... no service for me..... after trying all of your proven fixes, it still didnt work.... so i purposely dropped it, screen up of course, from about three feet high onto the concrete... fixed it on the second drop!!!!! PROVEN ha ha

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for taking your time posting this... It's great relieve! I LIKE!!! :)

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