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6 ways to fix TikTok's "no internet connection" error

There's usually an obvious culprit and answer, but not always.
By
January 8, 2024

A growing number of people are living their lives on TikTok, much to the chagrin of companies like Meta and Google, and even governments in some cases. But popularity hardly makes it immune to the connection issues of rival social networks. So what do you do when TikTok hits you with a “no internet connection” error? We’ve got a few troubleshooting tactics below.

Why is TikTok saying “no internet connection”?

This is self-explanatory, in most cases — it thinks you’re missing a functional cellular or Wi-Fi connection. We use the word “thinks” deliberately, however, because there are software glitches that can trigger the error, whether they’re within the app or at the operating system level. There could also be regional restrictions, or problems with network infrastructure at TikTok or your ISP (internet service provider).

How to fix TikTok’s “no internet connection” error

TikTok featured image
Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Because there are a variety of potential causes, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, either. Instead, think of the steps below as a checklist. Run through them one-by-one, stopping when a particular one works. We’ve saved some of the more complicated and/or time-consuming options for last. If a particular one jumps out at you, feel free to try it first.

  • Doublecheck your cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Even if other apps seem to be working, it could be that you have a weak signal, or that your connection is oversaturated by other devices sharing it. Try switching from cellular to Wi-Fi (or vice versa) if it’s an option. If you’re on Wi-Fi, you might try getting closer to your router. When Wi-Fi isn’t an option, there’s not much you can do except wait until you get to an area with better cellular reception. Remember, TikTok pretty much demands 4G (LTE) or 5G — 3G is going to be lethargic, if your carrier even supports it in 2024.
  • Force-close the app and relaunch it. It’s possible that there’s a temporary glitch with the app’s caching or processes, in which case closing it and re-opening it may do the trick.
  • Check the status of TikTok servers, your carrier, or your ISP. It’s entirely possible that TikTok or your internet provider is having difficulties. For that it’s best to use a site like Downdetector, which will tell you if people are reporting outages not just with TikTok but mobile carriers like AT&T, and landline ISPs like Comcast Xfinity. When a major outage is in progress, you’ll just have to wait until technicians work their magic.
  • Scan for app or operating system updates. If nothing has helped so far, there could be a more deeply-rooted bug in TikTok, Android, or iOS. Install any available app updates, and update Android or iOS if you can. Set aside some time if an OS upgrade is available — downloads can be huge, and your phone will be temporarily out of commission while the install is in progress. It’s also important to make sure essential data is backed up first.
  • Clear out TikTok’s cache files. This isn’t an option for iPhone owners (skip to the next step for an equivalent), but on Android devices, you can purge an app’s cache data by going to Settings > Storage > Other apps > TikTok and tapping on Clear cache. Note that menus and labels may vary depending on your phone model and version of Android. Bad caching can sometimes trick an app into think the internet is unavailable.
  • Restart your phone. Restarting forces your phone to load caches and processes from a blank slate. This can get around any temporary glitches at the operating system level.
  • Try using a VPN. TikTok may sometimes be blocked in specific countries or within some organizations, like a school, a business, a government office, or even a family home. If you think that’s happening, a VPN (virtual private network) can potentially get around this by funneling your connection through distant servers. Some are free. It’s not impossible to intercept VPN traffic however, and if you live under an authoritarian state like Iran, Russia, or China, it’s probably not worth the risk of prison time.