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How to fix ‘Cellular Update Failed’ error on an Apple iPhone XS Max, cellular data not working after iOS update

The main problem tackled in this post is a post-update error transpiring on the new iPhone XS Max. It’s regarding cellular data that stops working after updating the phone to the latest iOS version. If ever you’d bumped into an error that says, “Cellular Update Failed” after installing the latest update to iOS, then feel free to refer to this walkthrough.

Read on to find out what to do when dealing with this post-update issue on your iPhone XS Max device. Start whenever you’re all set to troubleshoot your device.

But before anything else, if you have another issue with your phone, drop by our troubleshooting page as we have already addressed hundreds of issues reported by the owners. Odds are that there are already existing solutions on our website or at least, there are similar problems we already fixed. So, try to find ones that are similar or related to your problem. If you need further assistance, however, feel free to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

How to fix iPhone XS max with Cellular Update Failed error

Before troubleshooting, check and ensure that your iPhone is getting a good signal. Otherwise, contact your network service provider to check for any temporary network outage that may be affecting cellular services in your place. Otherwise, try any of these lined up solutions.

First solution: Reinstall the SIM card on your iPhone XS Max.

Many iPhone XS Max owners who encountered this same error after updating were able to find permanent remedy by simply removing and reinstalling the SIM card on the phone. Hence, you may consider this among the first possible solutions to try. And here’s how it’s done:

  1. Turn off your phone completely. This is recommended to prevent causing any sort of damage to the SIM card or phone itself.
  2. While the phone is turned off, insert the SIM ejector tool into the tiny hole on the SIM tray found on the side of your iPhone.
  3. Gently push the ejector tool until the SIM card tray protrudes.
  4. Remove the card tray from the phone.
  5. Then take the SIM card from the card slot.
  6. Examine the card for any signs of damage like scratches or liquid traces.
  7. If the SIM card looks perfectly fine, place it back into the SIM card slot in the same position before you removed it.
  8. Secure the SIM card in place.
  9. Then push to insert the SIM tray back into the phone until it’s completely locked.

Turn your iPhone back on and then see if the Cellular Update Failed error is gone.

Second solution: Turn Cellular Data and Airplane mode on or off.

Toggling the cellular data switch as well as Airplane mode switch on the phone can also help get rid of this error, should it only occurs among other minor post-update glitches. These workarounds also help clear out random errors affecting the phone’s network functions. To toggle cellular data on or off, simply follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select Cellular.
  3. Toggle the Cellular Data switch to turn ON (if it’s OFF). Otherwise, turn the switch OFF for a few seconds and then turn on again.

This should restart and refresh cellular data services on your iPhone. If that won’t fix the problem, then try the Airplane mode trick. It’s been a widely used workaround to deal with network-related issues from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth and cellular data problems on an iPhone. Here’s how it’s works:

  1. Navigate to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn the feature ON. This will disable wireless radios on the phone.
  3. Reboot your iPhone while Airplane mode is turned ON.
  4. When the phone is finished restarting, go back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  5. Then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode OFF again. Wireless radios are then re-enabled.

Performing those steps somehow gives a quick reboot on the phone’s wireless services and likewise eliminates random errors causing the network system to glitch. Try that and see if the Cellular Update Failed error will also be cleared out. If not, then move on and try the next applicable solutions.

Third solution:  Update carrier settings on your iPhone XS Max.

Installing the latest carrier settings update available for your iPhone can also be the key to fixing network-related errors including those that occur following an iOS update. Carrier settings updates are comprised of small files or programs that are designed to enhance the phone’s network functions as well as to eliminate existing problems affecting the network system.

To check for available carrier settings update, go to Settings-> General-> About. Remain on the About screen for a short while until you see a carrier settings update notification.

Read and review the information and then follow the onscreen instructions to manually install carrier settings update on your iPhone XS Max.

After the carrier settings update is successfully installed, reboot/soft reset your iPhone to apply the recent settings changes and likewise to refresh the phone memory.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone XS Max.

Performing a network settings reset will erase current network configurations including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections on the phone. It’s usually needed when clearing out network errors that could not be remedied by the usual system reboots. The new update might have overridden your current network settings and eventually resulted to a conflict that eventually triggers the cellular update failed error to occur. To rule this out, follow these steps to reset network settings and restore the default network configurations:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to proceed.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm network settings reset.

Your iPhone should reboot by itself when the reset is finished and then restores the default network options. Don’t forget to reconnect to Wi-Fi or re-enable cellular data on your iPhone XS Max afterwards.

Fifth solution: Restore factory default settings on your iPhone XS Max using iTunes.

If a network reset doesn’t help either, then you may have to consider wiping and restoring your iPhone system to its factory default settings. The update might have inflicted fatal system errors that caused cellular data to fail. In that case, performing an iOS restore would be necessary. Before you do so, back up all your important files beforehand. Then follow these steps to reset and restore your iPhone XS Max to its factory default settings using iTunes:

  1. Open iTunes on a computer. Be sure to use the latest version of iTunes software to avoid bumping into system conflicts.
  2. Connect your iPhone XS Max to your computer using the supplied USB cable or Lightning cable.
  3. If prompted on your iPhone to Trust This Computer or to enter the device passcode, follow the onscreen instructions to continue.
  4. Select your iPhone XS Max when it shows up in iTunes.
  5. Navigate to the Summary section on the left panel and then click the Restore [iPhone] button.
  6. If prompted, read and review the information to confirm iOS restore. iTunes will then instigate the system reset and then download the latest software version for your iPhone.

After the reset, set up your cellular data connections again and then see if the error is already gone.

Other options

Performing a recovery mode restore or restoring your iPhone XS Max in DFU mode can also be considered among the last-ditch solutions if all else failed to get rid of the cellular update failed error on your phone. A more detailed walkthrough on how to perform a recovery mode restore or DFU mode restore on iPhone XS Max can be found on the Tutorials section of this site. Feel free to visit that page whenever you need help with the steps.

Otherwise, consider escalating the problem to your device carrier or Apple Support. There might be some complex system errors caused by some tough update bugs that needed a fix patch.

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