How to fix cellular data that is not working, doesn’t activate on your Apple iPhone XR [Troubleshooting Guide]

Cellular services require cellular network to work as intended. Aside from texting and calling functions, you can also connect to the Internet on your iPhone through cellular data. All you have to do is activate cellular data feature on your device and then start browsing using 3G, 4G, or LTE network. But there are just some instances when the supposed to simple enabling process becomes even more complicated.

Thus many people end up having trouble using cellular data services as the feature won’t activate on their respective devices in the first place. In case you will bump into the same issue when trying to use cellular services on your iPhone XR, feel free to refer to the outlined solutions below. Read on to learn what to do if cellular data stops working or won’t activate on your new Apple handset.

Before we move on to our troubleshooting, if you are looking for a solution to a different issue, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed some of the most common problems reported by our readers. Find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If you still need our help after that, then feel free to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XR with cellular data that’s not working

Before troubleshooting software problems affecting cellular services on your phone, try to remove and reseat the SIM card. This will help rule out SIM card problems from the underlying causes. Be sure to turn off your iPhone before removing the SIM card though so as not to cause any damage to the SIM card or relevant components. After reinstalling the SIM card, wait for your device to re-establish cellular network connection then retry activating cellular data. If that doesn’t help, then move on and try applying any of these workarounds.

First solution: Turn cellular data off and then on again.

Random network errors that might have halted cellular data functions are usually remedied by turning cellular data off and then back on. So if you haven’t already, consider this among the first possible solutions to try. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings-> Cellular menu. Then toggle the Cellular Data switch to turn the feature off and on.
  2. Alternatively, you can swipe open the Control Center of your iPhone and then tap the Cellular Data icon to turn the feature on or off.

A green icon is indication that Cellular Data is ON. Otherwise, the icon appears gray. In this case, it should be green.

Second solution: Enable Airplane Mode shortly and then disable again.

This old trick has been used to deal with various types of problems affecting wireless Internet problems and other network-related issues. Performing this trick works by giving Wi-Fi functions a quick restart and thereby eliminates minor glitches. Here’s how it works:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select Airplane Mode from the menu options.
  3. Then tap the Airplane mode switch to enable it. Doing so disables all wireless features of the phone including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Cellular Data.
  4. Restart/soft reset your iPhone XR while Airplane mode is enabled.
  5. Then go back to Settings-> Airplane mode menu and toggle the switch to disable Airplane mode again.

All wireless features are now active again. Try heading back to your iPhone settings and then see if cellular data is already active and working as intended.

Third solution: Install new carrier updates and iOS update.

Bugs and malwares are also among the usual culprits and therefore must be rid off. This is when updates play a vital role. Aside from bringing in new features, software updates also offer fix patches to get rid of any existing bugs and malwares that are inflicting troubles to your phone’s wireless functions.

  • To check for new carrier settings update on your iPhone XR, go to Settings-> General-> About menu. Stay on this menu for a few seconds and wait for the update message to appear. If a new carrier update is up for grabs, then it will be indicated on the message prompt. Otherwise, you won’t see any message prompt at all.

Aside from carrier updates, installing the latest iOS version available for your iPhone also does the same positive outcome when dealing with bug-inflicted network errors.

  • To check for new software update on your iPhone XR, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update menu.

Again, you’ll see an update notification if a new iOS version is available. Before downloading the update, be sure to back up important files for safekeeping. Then follow the onscreen prompts to download and install new update on your iPhone.

After installing updates, reboot your iPhone to apply the recent system changes and then try to see of that fixes the problem with your iPhone’s cellular data functions.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings.

Network-related issues in general are usually remedied by resetting the network settings. This reset works by wiping all current network configurations and server settings then restores the default functions and network options on the phone. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections are likewise deleted in the process, so make sure to reconnect afterwards. If you wish to give it a try, then here’s how to reset network settings on your iPhone XR:

  1. Open the Settings app from Home.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll to and tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to network settings reset.

After the reset, your iPhone restarts automatically and then loads up with the default network options and original network configuration. To get back online, set up and reconnect to your Wi-Fi network like the first time you do and do the same with Bluetooth and cellular data features.

Fifth solution: Factory reset your iPhone XR.

Among the last options and potential solutions you may consider doing if the problem persists after applying prior methods would be a factory reset or master reset. This will wipe everything from your device including your saved contacts, downloaded apps, customized settings, personal information and other added contents on the phone. Any complex system issues including those affecting cellular data will have a higher chance of being resolved in the process. But before you start with the reset, back up all your important files to iCloud or your computer drive through iTunes so you can just recover them later. Once you’re all set, you can carry out the quicker way to factory reset an iPhone through settings menu. Here’s how:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll to and tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Erase all content and settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm factory reset.

Follow the rest of the onscreen instructions to complete the reset. When the reset is finished, your iPhone reboots by itself. As soon as it boots up, you can proceed with the initial setup process and set up your iPhone as new.

Most software issues including fatal system errors are resolved by performing a factory reset, hence cellular data must already be working properly on your iPhone by then. If it’s still not, then you the problem could be on your network provider’s end. At this point, escalating the problem would be the next option.

Seek more help

If all else failed to fix the problem and that you still couldn’t get cellular data to work on your iPhone XR, contact our network service provider for more advanced solutions. The problem may also be on their end so you better have them double check the current network system status. Should this be a temporary network issue, then all you have to do is wait until the problem is fixed by your network engineers.

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!