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Fix: Couldn’t activate cellular data network

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  • 6 min read

If you’re an iPhone user, you might have encountered a frustrating issue where you can’t access the internet through your cellular data network.

This can happen for various reasons, such as a faulty SIM card, a network outage, a software glitch, or incorrect settings. In this article, we’ll explain how to fix the ‘Couldn’t activate cellular data network’ error on your iPhone and get back online in no time.

Restart your iPhone

Sometimes, the easiest solutions are the right ones which, in this case simply restarting your iPhone. When you restart a device such as an iPhone, it clears the RAM and the device starts afresh.

If the problem was due to a minor bug, then restarting can fix it easily.

Check your cellular data

The next thing you should do is check if your cellular data is turned on. Go to Settings > Cellular and make sure that the Cellular Data toggle is green. If it’s not, then tap on it to enable it.

While you’re at it, you should also check if you have enough data left in your plan. You can do this by going to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Data usage. In case you have used all your data, you will need to contact your carrier or purchase more data.

Check your SIM card

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It may happen that your SIM card is damaged or not inserted properly. To check this, turn off your iPhone and remove the SIM card tray using a paper clip or a SIM eject tool.

Then, inspect the SIM card for any signs of damage, such as cracks, scratches, or bends. If the SIM card looks fine, make sure it’s aligned correctly with the tray and insert it back into your iPhone. Then, turn on your iPhone and see if the error is gone.

Update the carrier settings

If the problem persists, you might need to update your carrier settings or your iOS software. Carrier settings are files that contain information about your carrier’s network and features. They can affect how your iPhone connects to the cellular data network and performs voice and data services.

To update your carrier settings, go to Settings > General > About and wait for a few seconds. If there’s an update available, you’ll see a pop-up message asking you to install it. Tap on Update to proceed.

Also read: How to turn off Do Not Disturb on iPhone?

Reset the network settings

Resettings your iPhone’s network settings can help resolve wireless charging issues caused by connectivity problems. To reset the network settings, follow the steps mentioned below.

  • Go to Settings and tap on General
  • Scroll down and tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone
  • Tap on Reset Network Settings

Your iPhone will reboot and restore the default network settings.

Update your iPhone

Another way to fix the ‘Couldn’t activate cellular data network’ error on your iPhone is to update your iPhone. iOS software updates can also improve your iPhone’s performance and fix bugs that might cause network issues

To update your iOS software, go to Settings > General > Software Update and tap on Download and Install if there’s an update available.

Make sure your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi network and has enough battery before updating.

Switch to a WiFi

Many times, the cellular internet doesn’t work as intended. This can be due to many reasons like heavy traffic during peak hours or infrastructure repair.

If you are unable to load videos while using the cellular connection, you should toggle to a WiFi connection which is considered to be more stable and fast.

Also read: How to turn on vibrate on iPhone? 

Perform a factory reset

As a last resort, you can try to perform a factory reset on your iPhone. This will erase all the data and settings on your iPhone, so be sure to make a backup of all the important files. To factory reset your iPhone, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Go to Settings and tap on General
  • Scroll down and tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone
  • Tap on Reset all Settings.

Contact your carrier or Apple

One last thing you can try is to contact your carrier or Apple support if none of the above methods work. They might be able to diagnose the problem and offer a solution or a replacement device if needed. Also, mention all the steps that you have already taken. This will save some time and effort.

We hope this article helped you fix the ‘Couldn’t activate cellular data network’ error on your iPhone and enjoy browsing the web without any interruptions.

Also read: Floating home button on iPhone: Get, remove and everything else

Frequently answered questions (FAQs)

Let us head to some FAQs related to this topic:

Why does my iPhone say could not activate cellular data?

There could be many reasons why your iPhone is showing couldn’t activate the cellular data network including faulty network settings, airplane mode being turned on, outdated iOS, network outage, and faulty SIM card.

How do I activate my cellular data network on my iPhone?

Navigate to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data.

Also read: Fix: Unable to load photo iPhone


Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: [email protected]