t’s incredibly frustrating when your phone won’t load web pages, send messages or Facebook won’t refresh — especially when you’re in an area you know has a strong cellular signal. Wireless networks are complicated, and there are numerous factors that can cause coverage hiccups and signal issues. Sometimes it’s the carrier, other times it’s your phone.
The tried-and-true fix is turning Airplane mode on, waiting a few seconds, and then turning it off. But that doesn’t always work, and when it doesn’t, you’ll need to take more drastic steps like removing your SIM or resetting network settings.
Before you go that far, however, here are some troubleshooting steps you can take to get your phone working once again.
Toggle Airplane mode
Toggling your phone’s connection is the quickest and easiest way to try and fix your signal woes.
Android: You can swipe down from the top of your screen to view the Quick Settings panel. Tap on the Airplane icon then waits for your phone to completely disconnect from its Wi-Fi and cellular connections. It doesn’t happen instantly, so give it a good 30 seconds before you tap on the Airplane mode icon again.
iPhone: Open Control Center — iPhone X-series users can swipe down from the top-right corner, older iPhone models swipe up from the bottom of the screen — and tap the Airplane mode icon. It will turn orange when it’s enabled. Again, wait up to a minute before turning it off.
Restart your phone
Our phones are miniature computers, and just like computers, sometimes you can fix issues by restarting them.
Android: Hold in the power button until the onscreen menu shows up and then select restart. If your phone doesn’t offer a restart option, hold in the power button until the screen goes black and then turns back on.
iPhone: If your iPhone has a home button you can hold in the sleep/wake button until the power slider is displayed. Drag the slider to the right. Once the device is turned off, press and hold the sleep/wake button until you see the Apple logo.
iPhone X-series users will need to press and hold the side button along with either the volume up or the down button at the same time. Eventually, the same power slider will show up; slide it to the right to turn off your phone. After the phone is powered off, hold in the side button until you see the Apple logo.
Remove your SIM
Another troubleshooting step to try is to remove and then place your SIM card back in your phone with the phone turned on. You’ll need a SIM card tool — usually included in your phone’s box — or an unfolded paperclip to get the SIM tray out of your phone.
All phones: Remove the SIM card, check to see if it’s damaged and in the SIM tray correctly, then put it back on your phone.