If you can’t connect to your cellular network, that’s probably because of the iPhone “Searching” message. That message appears for various reasons, and you must solve it ASAP.

Moreover, you can’t make or receive phone calls and text messages from your contact if the “Searching” message lingers on the status bar.

Therefore, follow this guide to fix iPhone “Searching for Service” message.

How Do I Fix iPhone Stuck on Searching for Service?

Following are the methods you have to try to fix the cellular service problem on your iPhone.

Check Your Location

Before trying anything smart, get to know your location better. Are you in the woods or mountains? Have you been driving off-road and ended up being on the outskirts? You might not get cellular service if you have gone far from the network tower.

Therefore, check your coverage area and make sure you are in proximity. Then, go to the location so your iPhone can catch the network coverage.

Otherwise, you can’t fix the “iPhone Says Searching” issue.

Besides, you can find the list of coverage areas here of particular cellular network providers in the U.S.

Restart Your iPhone

If your iPhone is at fault, some of its features will not work correctly. In that case, it’s a common suggestion to restore your iPhone before trying anything complex.

When you restart or reboot your iOS device, it clears away unnecessary stuff from the storage. Moreover, restarting your iPhone makes it run more efficiently. And there’s no harm in restarting your iOS device unless some critical tasks are running.

Therefore, frequently restart your mobile phone to keep it clutter-free.

Restart iPhone 8 or Earlier Models

  1. Press and hold the Side or Power button until a slider “Slide to power off” appears.
  2. Release the button.
  3. Drag the Power icon on the slider to the right side. Your iPhone will power off.
  4. Now, press and hold the Power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen. This will complete the power reboot process.

Restart iPhone X or Later Models

  1. Press and hold the Power button with either Volume up or down button. You will see the “Slide to power off” slider.
  2. Release the power button and drag the slider to the right. Your iPhone will power off.
  3. Now press the power button again to turn on your device.

After restarting your device, the iPhone says “Searching” should be fixed.

However, if the above solution doesn’t work, you must try another method.

Restart Cellular Data

If you have turned on cellular data and iPhone says “Searching,” try turning cellular data on and off.

Sometimes the cellular connection runs into a glitch and can’t provide you with a stable data connection. Therefore, let’s see how to restart cellular data on your iPhone.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Mobile Data.
  3. Turn cellular data off using the toggle against the Mobile Data option.
  4. After a few seconds, turn on Mobile Data again.

See if it fixed the iPhone says “Searching” issue.

Data Roaming

A lot of iPhone users who travel abroad complained about the iPhone says “Searching” issue. The cellular networks have partnered with international mobile services so that you can attend phone calls and send text messages on the same number even if you are out of the country.

However, you have to turn on data roaming to avail of that service. So if you don’t turn on roaming and keep the data active, you will keep getting the same problem.

Therefore, turn on data roaming on your iPhone if you travel abroad.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Cellular.
  3. Now go to Cellular Data Options.
  4. Turn on Data Roaming.

Once you turn on the roaming option, the iPhone says “Searching” message will instantly disappear.

Try updating the carrier settings if you still get the same message on the iPhone status bar.

Update Your Carrier Settings

The carrier settings are different from the iOS updates. They don’t occur as frequently as the latter ones. Moreover, you have to update your carrier settings once they are available. Otherwise, you will get issues like the iPhone says “Searching” message.

So before updating the carrier settings, ensure your iPhone is connected to a stable WiFi network. You can also turn on your mobile data. But make sure it has enough data plan to carry out the carrier settings update process.

Follow these steps to update your carrier settings:

  1. First, go to Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap About. There, you will find the carrier updates if available.

Besides, you can follow the same steps to find the current carrier settings your phone is running on.

If you have bought a new SIM card, make sure you have downloaded the settings for the new carrier provider. Only your wireless carrier can update these settings.

No doubt, there are other wireless carriers as well, but you have to contact your carrier provider specifically.

If you don’t update the new cellular network settings, you will keep receiving the “Searching” message on top of your iPhone’s screen.

If you recently opened the SIM card tray, the issue might be because of the improper insertion.

Therefore, let’s re-insert the SIM tray to establish a proper connection between your phone and the SIM card.

iPhone’s SIM Card

First, note down the status of your cellular network on your phone. Then, check the signal bar and 4G/LTE connection.

You must take out the SIM tray and insert it back again. So, follow these steps:

  1. But, first, take a paper clip or the SIM card ejector tool.
  2. Gently insert the paper clip or the tool into the hole on the right side of the iPhone. That’s the compartment for the SIM card.
  3. The tray will pop out when you insert the tool into the SIM card hole.
  4. Now, remove the SIM card.
  5. If you see any kind of grime on it, you have to clean it. Take a soft piece of a soft cloth and wipe it nicely and slowly.
  6. After cleaning it, place the SIM card back in the tray. Also, make sure the SIM tray is not damaged. You must get a new one from the Apple store if it’s damaged. Also, choose the suitable tray for your respective iPhone model.
  7. Slowly put the tray inside the SIM compartment and press it until it gives a locking sound.
  8. Wait till your iPhone detects the SIM card.
  9. Now, analyze the situation of your iPhone.

The “Searching” message should go away. But if the problem persists, it’s time to take a more significant step.

Reset Network Settings

Since the issue is with your iPhone’s network, you must change these settings.

You have to reset the network settings on your iPhone. Moreover, this method doesn’t interfere with the iPhone’s data.

For example, resetting these settings will not disturb the media and other content. Therefore, it’s safe to reset the network settings.

However, you should know that resetting these settings will reset the following:

  • Wi-Fi networks
  • Bluetooth
  • VPN
  • APN settings

That means all the saved WiFi passwords, Bluetooth connection, and proxy settings will be lost once your reset the network settings. But since you are still facing the iPhone “Searching” issue, we have to apply this method.

So, follow these steps for resetting the network settings:

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Go to General.
  3. Scroll down and find the option of Reset and tap it.
  4. In the Reset menu, tap Reset Network Settings. Your iPhone might ask you to enter the passcode.

After confirming the option to reset network settings, you must wait until your iPhone restarts and fixes the problem.

Moreover, that will also disable airplane mode on your iPhone.

DFU Restore

If you can’t get rid of the iPhone says “Searching” message, it’s to apply the iPhone recovery via DFU mode.

Device Firmware Update or DFU reboots your iPhone and upgrades the firmware and software. That includes the operating system update or the iOS update as well.

Therefore, you have to decide before starting the DFU restore process. Once your iPhone gets the latest iOS version after DFU restore, there’s no going back.

Besides, creating a backup of your iPhone on iCloud or iTunes is highly recommended. Why?

There is a chance of permanent data loss while completely erasing your iPhone data via the DFU mode. So, let’s create a backup of your iPhone.

Create iPhone Backup on iCloud

  1. First, make sure your iPhone is connected to a stable wireless network.
  2. Now, open Settings.
  3. Tap your name.
  4. Tap iCloud.
  5. Go to iCloud backup. You will see the date and time of your last iCloud backup.
  6. Now, select the Back Up Now option. Stay connected to a Wi-Fi network until the backup process ends.
  7. If you see an alert of low storage space, you can click the “buy more storage” option on iCloud.

Create iPhone Backup on iTunes

Another method to save your data is by creating iTunes Backup. This method is more efficient as it helps your iPhone connect and start creating backup onto a device you usually sync with.

Moreover, iTunes automatically encrypts your backup data in iOS 3.0 and later versions.

Follow these steps to create the iTunes backup:

  1. Connect your iPhone to a computer or laptop. The other device should be the one you usually sync with. Also, turn on Wi-Fi on your iPhone and the device. Then, use the C-type USB or USB cable to establish the wired connection.
  2. Open iTunes on your device.
  3. Click Device. It’s located near the iTunes window.
  4. Below Backups, select Back Up Now.
  5. Moreover, enable encryption by selecting “Encrypt [your device] Backup.
  6. Type a password and then click on the Set Password button.

Once you have created the iPhone settings backup, you can restore your iPhone using the DFU recovery mode.

Different methods exist to execute the DFU restore method on different iPhone generations. You can check all of them here and follow the steps discussed there.

Update iOS

Check for the software update if you still get the “Searching” message on your iPhone.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. If there’s the latest iOS version available, tap Download and Install.

Once your iPhone gets the latest iOS version, it will solve the software problem related to the “Searching” message.

Besides, it will also update other cellular settings on your iPhone.


What Does it Mean When Your iPhone is Searching for Service?

You don’t have any cellular service working on your iPhone, although the SIM card is in there.

How Do I Fix Searching for Service?

Follow the above methods to fix the “Searching for Service” issue. However, contact your carrier and Apple support if those methods don’t solve the issue.

Why is My Phone Saying No Service or Searching?

There can be software or hardware-related iPhone problems. The above fixes might resolve the issue. But for the hardware ones, contact Apple customer support.


You can’t use the cellular service on your iPhone until you solve that “Searching” message. Apply the fixes discussed above and ensure you use your iPhone in your network’s coverage area.

You can only enjoy your carrier provider’s network services and data plan.