When you’re relying on your mobile data to work, the last thing you want to do is lose connectivity. Whether it’s needing Google Maps to travel, streaming music on Spotify, or chatting on WhatsApp, it’s annoying to discover your mobile data is not working on Android. This tutorial provides you with options to fix it.
1. Quick Ways to Fix Mobile Data Not Working on Android
Before trying some of the more technical fixes, start with these quick and simple fixes that may be all you need.
- Restart your phone. It’s obvious, but that quick reset fixes numerous issues.
- Check that mobile data is turned on. Swipe your notification tray down and ensure the Mobile Data icon is on.
- Turn Mobile Data off and back on.
- Ensure Airplane Mode is turned off. The icon is in your notification tray.
- Turn off Wi-Fi. This is in your notification tray. On some devices, mobile data won’t work when a Wi-Fi network is detected, even if you’re not connected to it.
- Check for system updates. Go to Settings -> About phone -> Software update, or Settings -> Device Care -> Software update.
- Check whether your carrier is down. Switch to Wi-Fi, or use a computer to check your carrier’s website or social media accounts for outage announcements.
As a final note, if none of these fixes work, back up your phone, including your text messages, and perform a complete factory reset. This is a last resort.
2. Reset or Edit Your APNs
Access Point Names (APNs) are how your mobile network provider connects your phone to the Internet. It sets your phone up with all the crucial settings, like IP addresses and gateways, to get you connected. However, this process can sometimes go wrong and requires a reset.
Go to Settings -> Network and Internet -> Mobile networks -> Access Point Names. For Android 11 and earlier, you’ll need to tap Advanced under Mobile Networks to reach Access Point Names. If you don’t see Network and Internet, look for Connections instead.
You should see a list of APNs (potentially with only one network on them). Tap the menu icon in the top right, then Reset to default. If you only have one, this option is greyed out.
Another option is to set your APN protocol. This option doesn’t exist in all devices, but if it does, select your APN from the list (if it’s not greyed out), and ensure that it says “IPv4/IPv6.” Many default to IPv4, as in the example below.
Finally, if the APN settings aren’t correct, even after resetting them, you may have to enter them manually to fix the issues with mobile data not working on your Android. This fix is common after major Android software updates.
This option isn’t available on all devices, but if it is, open your list of APNs, and tap the + icon in the top-right corner.
Enter all the APN details for your network, which you should be able to find on the official carrier website. Or, check out this list of APN settings for US, UK, India and other national carriers. Save your new APN settings, then select them from the APN list on your device.
3. Wipe Cache Partition from Recovery
On your phone, there’s a fair portion of your device’s memory dedicated to the cache – where data for various apps and processes is stored “on the back burner,” activating automatically so that these apps and processes boot up more quickly on your device.
As the cache expands, it causes a variety of issues, such as the mobile data not working. Fix it by clearing the system cache partition. The following steps will vary slightly based on your device.
Turn off your phone completely. Then, hold down the Power and Volume Down buttons while turning it back on. You should see the Android droid.
Use the volume buttons to navigate to Recovery Mode. On the next screen, it may say No command. If you see this, you need to try holding different combinations of the volume buttons and the power button until you enter recovery (depending on your device).
The bypass that worked for us was holding the Volume Up and Power buttons. If your phone has a shortcut button, another option is to hold the shortcut and Power buttons, if your phone has a shortcut button.
Once you’re in recovery, use the volume buttons on your phone to select wipe cache partition or wipe cache, then select the option using the power button.
The process should only take a few seconds. Once it’s done, reboot your phone. This doesn’t delete any apps or personal files.
4. Reset Your Phone’s Network Connection
A simple and powerful fix for data not working on your Android device is to enter an SCRTN (Special Code to Reset the Network). Note that this fix will only work for phones using CDMA networks. In the U.S., these networks are T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular.
Assuming you’re with a CDMA network, go to your phone’s dial pad, and enter the following code, depending on your device:
- Google Pixel, Moto G7: *#*#72786#*#*
- Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Moto G5: #*#*72786##
- Other Android phones: ##72786#
Note that phone carriers are slowly trying to phase out CDMA networks, as they seek to move wholly to the faster, more recent LTE standard, so this particular fix may not exist for much longer.
Android has a variety of secret codes to perform various tasks. As with the above, they don’t work on all devices.
5. Enable the Right Network Mode
Starting with the simplest solution, it’s possible that during an update, or simply in the phone’s default settings, the network mode (3G, 4G, etc.) of your phone is set to one that doesn’t offer optimal coverage.
Check this by going to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Mobile network -> Preferred network type, then switch to the one that best suits your phone. As my phone is a 4G, I use 2G/3G/4G Auto so that it always tries to connect to the best signal available.
Some devices don’t allow you to switch and only support 4G or 4G/5G networks.
6. Reset Networks
Sometimes the only option is to reset all your network settings to their defaults. Apps, system updates, and glitches all cause issues with mobile data not working.
Go to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Network settings reset. If you don’t see this option, go to Settings -> General management -> Reset -> Reset mobile network settings.
Tap Reset Settings. You’ll need to tap it again to confirm. Restart your phone when prompted.
You’ll need to re-enter any Wi-Fi passwords and re-pair any Bluetooth devices once the process is complete.
7. Remove and Reinsert Your SIM Card
Some will scoff at the very mention of suggestions like “reboot your phone” and “remove and reinsert your SIM card,” but these should always be the first port of call when trying to fix mobile data issues. Another option is to test your phone with another SIM card to see whether the issue originates in the phone or the card.
There’s also an extra little trick to rebooting your phone that could help:
- Before rebooting, turn on Airplane Mode.
- Wait for 30 seconds, then turn Airplane Mode off.
- If you still don’t have data, turn Airplane Mode back on, turn your phone off, wait for a minute, turn your phone back on, turn Airplane Mode off, wait for 30 seconds, then turn Mobile Data on.
If you’re having issues with your SIM card, try these “no SIM card detected” fixes.
8. Check Your Mobile Data Limit
Every Android phone lets you set your own mobile data limits and warnings for the time just before you reach your limit. These aren’t usually switched on by default, though. You can also set metered Wi-Fi if you have limited Wi-Fi data.
Check your data usage by going to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Data Usage. Once again, on some devices, you’ll see Connections instead of Network & Internet.
Toggle on Limit mobile data usage. Tap the current default limit, and enter your desired limit. If you don’t see these options, tap Mobile data usage, then the Settings cog in the right corner. Set your billing cycle, data limits, and a warning.
For Android 11 and earlier, go to Settings -> Network & Internet -> Mobile network. Make sure Mobile data is switched on, then tap Data warning & limit.
Make sure that Set data limit is switched off, or at least no lower than the limit provided by your network.
Restore Your Mobile Data
If nothing works to fix mobile data not working problems, your phone may be failing completely. Take it to your mobile carrier to get it checked out. If you’re looking to save on your data plan, try these MVNO carriers for lower costs. If you’re bringing your own device, learn how to check your phone’s specs to ensure that it’s compatible. Finally, check whether you always have a full charge with the best fast chargers for Android.
Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Crystal Crowder.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox