Cell phones are a technological marvel we take for granted. They have become an integral part of our lives and understanding how they work has become less important, as we at the same time depend on them all the more. There are a host of reasons for a cell phone showing “No Service” and the obviously not being able to place a call (call your carrier for assistance), but there remains for many the elusive case where a phone displays “No Service”, yet show a cellular signal and remain functional. To the OCD person this can be maddening as such doesn’t make sense, and to the curious = seems to be alerting to a larger problem.
The iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max support Dual SIM with either two active eSIMs or a nano-SIM and an eSIM. The eSIM is a feature that allows the sim card information to be stored on the phone electronically in the form of a digital SIM. This permits the activation of a cellular plan from a carrier without the need for a physical sim card. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 go a step further allowing for Dual SIM and eSIM to be used to keep two phone numbers on a single device simultaneously. While a great option, this is where the issue of “No Service” being reported comes in.
The problem of “No Service” can arise due to one of two situations. Situation number one is for individuals that have only one phone number; the second situation is for people that are using two phone numbers on one phone. If in doubt call your carrier to walk you through these steps and/or diagnose the situation more in-depth. For the adventuresome and those willing to try their own hand at tech support read on. ** Reader beware – you are responsible for your own actions, this article is not liable for misinterpretation(s) or for the following instructions. Proceed at your own risk. **
Situation Number One: iPhone with one phone number
The principle reason this crops up is the phone was not initially configured properly during the activation process. It is often the result of a failed attempt to configure the iPhone 12 / 13. In Apple’s attempt to make the activation process of the iPhone easy, it has also created a complication. This complication arises as these devices support two sims; either a physical sim card and an esim, or two esims – but only one of either is needed.
The fix for this is easy provided you know which of the two cellular plans is the active plan. You can phone tech support for your service provider, explain you want to remove the inactive cellular plan and they can assist you. Sometimes this is a better option as they can simply remove both plans and re-issue you a new esim (eliminating the physical sim altogether). … or you can do turn off the unwanted “no service” plan yourself with a little trial and error.
First determine which cellular plan is valid by a process of elimination. You simply need to turn off each sim profile individually and seeing which one turns off your cellular connection.
You can do this by going to “Settings”, then look for “Cellular”. Under the Cellular menu you will see an area listing the “Cellular Plans” that are available for us. If there are two plans available (turned on) one of these is culprit of this confusion. Turn off one of these listed and try to place a phone call (do not rely on texting as a test as iMessages will use any available internet connection). A good place to start is by picking the one that does not have a phone number associated with it. If you turn it off and the phone still places phone calls this will be the one you want to remove. If you turn it off and you are unable to place a call – this is the one you want to keep. To remove the plan you’ve identified as not working simply click the profile name (Primary, Secondary, Personal, Business, etc) to enter the settings for that profile. Scroll to the bottom and select “Remove <Carrier Name> Plan” and then restart your phone. It’s that simple.
Situation Number Two: iPhone with two phone numbers
Having two phone numbers and one of them reporting “No Service” is a bit tricker. For the most part the troubleshooting is as it would be for a single line phone (configured properly) reporting “No Service”. Sometimes a simple restart can address the issue. If this doesn’t work you may want to check with the carrier to inquire about the coverage area. If coverage isn’t an issue they will probably attempt to reset your network settings: Settings –> General –> Transfer or Reset –> Reset –> Reset Network Settings (enter pin and confirm). If restarting and/or resetting network settings doesn’t resolve the issue tech support can better address this situation as there may be an account issue you are unaware of.
If All Else Fails
If something should go wrong, simply phone your carrier and they should be able to assist you in correcting the problem. To save yourself some trouble, often the first person that answers your call will be a “general care” agent, simply tell them you want to speak with “tech support”. You may need to be insistent upon this, but typically the general care agents will honor your request and transfer you. If a call is impossible, phone your local carrier and ask where the closest “service” center is. In my opinion you will get better assistance at a location that is capable of repairs – even though this isn’t a repair. If the carrier is clueless about being able to resolve this situation consider another carrier.
- T-Mobile 1 (800) T- Mobile or 1 (877) 453-1304
- Sprint (now T-Mobile) 1 (888) 211-4727
- AT&T 1 (800) 331-0500
- Verizon 1 (800) 922-0204