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Android mobile data not working? Here are some solutions

Get back on the grid in no time!
October 25, 2021
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Our smartphones are essential tiny pocket computers, but they’ve become so convenient we almost can’t live without them anymore. An internet connection is the backbone of the smartphone experience, so whenever data stops working, the world seems to come to a halt. What do you do to get back in the grid? You might be facing a cellular data issue. Here are some solutions to restore mobile data.

Read Next: Here’s how to troubleshoot and fix the most common Wi-Fi issues

Editor’s note: Some of the instructions in this article were generated using a Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 12. Keep in mind that steps can be slightly different depending on the device you’re using.

See if Airplane mode is on

Airplane mode turns off all wireless antennas, including mobile data, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It’s common to turn it on by accident (or at least it happens to me all the time!). Go ahead and check if this happened to you. There’s often a toggle in the notification area’s quick settings, but you can also do it in the settings.

How to turn Airplane mode on/off:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Look for Airplane mode. There will be a toggle next to it. Tap on it to turn it on or off.

Furthermore, turning airplane mode on and off can reset settings and bring everything back to normal. If your phone wasn’t on Airplane mode, then go ahead and turn the feature on and off and see if that gets your data working again.

Have you tried rebooting?

As unexplainable as it may be, we find most smartphone issues are fixed with a simple reboot. A plethora of possible discrepancies could cause your mobile data problem, and chances are that if you are here looking for answers, your phone complication is a bit more complex, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you to try the good ol’ restart. It just might work.

Also read: My phone won’t charge! What can I do?

Check your plan?

Sprint Verizon T Mobile and Verizon carriers stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Some mobile data plans have limitations and throttles. Look into your plan’s terms and see if you’ve used more data than you should. You might be capped or throttled. Also, consider the fact you may be late on your payment. Even the best of us forget about bills sometimes. Not to mention sometimes cards get declined for no apparent reason.

Switch: The best unlimited data plans available

Inspect your SIM card

SIM cards can move around, and sometimes pins can get out of line. It’s a good idea to play with the SIM card a bit if the steps above don’t work for you. Pull it out and reinsert it. Maybe try to clean it a bit? It won’t hurt to try! It’s an excellent way to try to get mobile data working again.

Is it Google?

google logo G at ces 20201

If specifically Google applications aren’t working on mobile data, there is a slight chance it is something related to the Search Giant. Try these steps to see if it all goes back to normal.

  • Clear the cache from the Google Play Services app: Settings > Apps > See all apps > Google Play Services > Storage & cache > Clear cache.
  • Look for any system software updates that may be available: Settings > System > System Update > Check for updates.
  • Remove and re-add your Google account: Go to Settings > Passwords & accounts > Google account > Remove account.

Related: These are the best Google products you can buy

Outages and reception

Are you out in the middle of nature? Maybe you’re in a concrete building. Or you’re simply going through an area with spotty reception. There is always a chance you’re unreachable to the network, which will cause problems with your mobile data.

Also, consider that, while rare, carrier networks can go down too, causing service outages. We like recommending to check when services are down. The website collects consumer reports and lets you know if there is an outage. There’s also a live map to see if the problem is local. Just go in there, type in your Carrier, and hit the search button. If the network is down, all you can do is wait.

Reset the APN

Your APN is how your phone connects with your mobile carrier’s network. Think of it as a Wi-Fi password for mobile data, but much more complicated, with IP settings, gateway details, and more.

How to reset APN settings:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Select Mobile network.
  4. Expand Advanced.
  5. Hit Access Point Names.
  6. Tap on the 3-dot menu button.
  7. Select Reset to defaults.

Reset network settings

Wi Fi devices stock photo 2 - mobile data not working
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If none of the options above work, it may mean some extraneous setting was changed along the way. It is likely related to the network, so resetting your network settings to factory defaults might fix the issue.

How to reset network settings:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select System.
  3. Go into Reset options.
  4. Hit Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth.
  5. Tap on Reset settings.

Factory data reset

If all else fails to restore mobile data, go ahead and perform a factory data reset. This will erase everything on your phone and bring all settings to factory defaults. This means your phone will be left like the first time you turned it on (software-wise).

This fixes pretty much any software issue you may encounter. It is the best solution to many problems, but it should be used as a last resort due to the inconveniences deleting all data entails.

How to factory reset your Android phone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select System.
  3. Go into Reset options.
  4. Hit Erase all data (factory reset).
  5. Tap on Erase all data.

More: How to factory reset Android devices

Seek professional help

ATT logo stock image 1 mobile data
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Now, if that doesn’t do it, you probably need to have a professional personally inspect the device. It could be a hardware problem at this point. Reach out to your phone manufacturer, your carrier, or maybe even Google. It might also be time to contact your insurance provider if you have it.

Next: The best insurance options for smartphones