Apple iPhone XS Max cellular signal keeps dropping after iOS update

We have received complaints from our readers saying that the cellular signal keeps dropping on their iPhone XS Max and that’s what we need to address here. Having an unstable cellular signal is indeed troublesome. Not only that it affects core services such as calling and texting but can likewise destabilize Internet connection via cellular data or mobile data. Nonetheless, problems like this are inevitable as they can be triggered by many factors. In case you’ll encounter a similar issue on your iPhone XS Max wherein cellular signal keeps dropping after installing the recent iOS update, I’ve lined up some helpful workarounds for you to refer to. Read on for more information.

What causes the cellular signal keeps dropping issue on iPhone XS Max?

Aside from firmware update bugs, there are also other factors that can cause your iPhone XS Max cellular signal to drop more frequently. Among the common triggers are as follow:

  • Distance from cellular base  – it’s normal for your device to encounter cellular drops if it’s way too far from the network’s coverage. The signal strength is likely very poor or weak and that therefore causes the cellular signal to become unstable. Network signal interference such as tall buildings, concrete walls and mountains are also other factors to consider.
  • Network problems – technical problems from network outages and bad weather can also cause unexpected signal drops. This is when scheduled maintenance or unexpected technical problems on the network base arise. Unfortunately, in cases like this, there’s not much can be done on your end but to wait until the network engineers or technicians are able to fix the problem.
  • Software-related issues – network settings that aren’t properly configured and software-related errors that adversely affect the iPhone’s network system fall on this category. The same goes to iOS cellular bugs. Cellular signal drops that are attributed to software problems are rectifiable by certain workarounds including the ones I’ve lined up below.
  • Hardware damage – this is by far the worst among the possible causes. Cellular problems caused by some damaged network components typically require services. Those that are attributed to a defective SIM card requires new SIM card replacement.

Troubleshooting iPhone XS Max with cellular signal keeps dropping issue

Below are a few suggested workarounds that are used to solve frequent cellular signal drops on the iPhone XS Max, following the recent iOS 12.1.4 update implementation.

First solution: Toggle Cellular Data off and on.

Some updates overrides settings and so it’s possible that cellular data was automatically disabled by the update. To make sure that this isn’t causing your trouble, follow these steps to check and manage cellular settings on your iPhone XS Max:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Next, tap Cellular or Cellular Data.
  3. Toggle the switch next to Cellular Data to turn the feature OFF and then back ON again.

This is also a way of refreshing cellular services that were acting up after the recent update.

Second solution: Restart your iPhone (soft reset).

Another simple solution to software-related flaws including minor post-update cellular glitches is a soft reset or iPhone restart. If you haven’t done this already, simply refer to these steps to soft reset your iPhone XS Max:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears and then drag the power off slider to the right.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the iPhone reboots.

This process also refreshes the phone memory and thereby eliminates corrupted temporary data from the update.

Third solution: Enable/disable Airplane Mode.

This old trick has been proven to work wonders when dealing with minor problems affecting wireless functions of the phone. It works by abruptly restarting wireless services and likewise clears out any existing minor flaws. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select Airplane Mode.
  3. Tap the switch to turn on Airplane Mode feature on your iPhone. Doing so disables wireless radios including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Cellular connections.
  4. While Airplane mode is turned ON, restart/soft reset the phone.
  5. After the phone restarts, head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  6. Then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode OFF again. Doing so re-enables the phone’s wireless functions.

Make sure that cellular data is activated and see if the problem is gone.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings.

If none of the initial procedures work, then you may have to consider performing software resets. The update might have ruined some network settings and destabilized cellular services. The first reset you can try would be a network settings reset. In this process, network settings and relevant information are deleted while restoring the defaults. This won’t affect any saved information thus you don’t need to create backups. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode then follow the onscreen instructions to confirm network settings reset.

After the reset, your phone should reboot. Enable wireless features including cellular data afterwards and see if the problem is gone.

How to fix an Apple iPhone XS Max that suddenly won’t turn on

Fifth solution: Install carrier updates on your iPhone XS Max.

Network problems can also be remedied by installing carrier updates on your device. These updates are pushed by your carrier or network service provider to enhance network functions and to resolve existing network problems. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap About.

Wait on this screen for a few seconds to view any pending carrier updates to install. A notification will pop up if a new carrier update is available. Simply follow these onscreen instructions to update carrier settings on your iPhone XS Max.

Sixth solution: Reset all settings.

Another reset that you may consider resorting to if the prior resets don’t work would be an all settings reset. This will erase all customized information and restores the original and default values. Any settings ruined by the recent update are thereby corrected. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset all settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode then follow the onscreen instructions to all settings reset.

Like the network settings reset, this reset won’t cause permanent data loss so backing up files won’t be needed. Just don’t forget to re-enable the features that you want to use on your phone including Cellular Data.

Seventh solution: Erase and restore factory default settings on your iPhone.

Performing a total system reset can be considered among the last options if the problem continues after the prior methods. The problem might be too complex and therefore requires more advanced solutions. But before you do so, be sure to back up all your important information because this will be wiped out along with any other data on your device. Once you’re all set, follow these steps to factory reset your iPhone XS Max through settings:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Erase all content and settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode then follow the onscreen instructions to full system reset.

You can also carry out a factory reset via iTunes. After the reset, you can set up your iPhone XS Max as new.

Eighth solution: Restore your iPhone from a previous backup via recovery mode.

Major software issues including update bugs that could not be resolved by initial procedures are usually rectified by a factory reset. However, there are some cases that even a factory reset couldn’t solve the problem. In that case, restoring your iPhone XS Max from a previous backup can be considered as the next option. To get this done, you will need to connect your iPhone to a computer via USB cable or Lightning cable. The computer must also have the latest version of iTunes app for you to manage your iPhone. Once connected, follow these steps to put your iPhone XS Max in recovery mode and restore from an iOS backup through iTunes:

  1. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button.
  2. Next, press and quickly release the Volume Down button.
  3. Then, press and hold the Side/Power button until you see the Connect to iTunes screen. This means that your iPhone has entered recovery mode.
  4. When you see the option to Update or Restore, choose Update if you want to restore without deleting files. Doing so will prompt iTunes to start downloading the latest software for your device. If you opt to restore from a previous iOS backup, then select the option to Restore.

If a recovery mode restore isn’t successful, then you may opt to proceed with a DFU mode restore. This is the deepest type of system restore done on an iPhone. You can refer to the step-by-step guide on how to put your iPhone XS Max in DFU mode, from this site’s tutorials section.

How to fix Apple iPhone XS Max cellular data that is not working

Ninth solution: Reinstall the SIM card.

Cellular signal dropping may also be attributed to SIM card issues from corrupted to damaged SIM card in use. To rule out minor SIM card data corruption, reinstalling the SIM card on your iPhone XS Max can help. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Turn off your iPhone.
  2. While your phone is off, insert the SIM ejector tool in the tiny hole on the SIM card tray.
  3. Gently push the ejector tool until the tray pops out.
  4. Pull the tray out and then take the SIM card off from the tray.
  5. Check the SIM card for any signs of damage like liquid traces or scratches. If there’s none, place the SIM card back into the tray in the same orientation before you take it off.
  6. Secure the SIM card in place then push the tray back into the phone.
  7. Make sure that the tray is locked in place.
  8. Then turn the phone back on. Wait for a few seconds until the phone re-establish cellular network connection. Observe your device and see if the problem is gone.

If you suspect that the SIM card is damaged, contact your carrier or network service provider and ask for a new SIM card replacement.

Cellular signal keeps dropping still?

If the problem continues after applying all the above procedures, contact your network service provider to check the current status of cellular network services in your end. There might be some sort of outage that inflicted technical problems on cellular services and caused intermittent network signal. Or you can also report the problem to Apple Support so they will become aware of it and tag it among other post-update bugs to fix on the next iOS patch.

I hope that we’ve been able to help you fix the problem with your device. We would appreciate it if you helped us spread the word so please share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you so much for reading!