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iPhone intermittently loses data connection despite full signal

iPhone intermittently loses data connection despite full signal

Is your iPhone not connecting to the internet even though it shows a full signal to the cell network? By following a few easy troubleshooting tips, you can usually get your iPhone back online within a minute or two.

Occasionally, when I leave a WiFi area like home or work and need to access AT&T’s data network, my iPhone will refuse to connect to the web. The status bar at the top shows strong reception (often 4 or 5 bars) and voice calls still come through, but apps that reply on an internet connection fail to load any data. Safari, Mail, Facebook, Twitter, Sirius XM, Pandora and others all act like the phone’s networking capabilities have been turned off.

In my experience, this issue surfaces sporadically – maybe once every month or so. Other iPhone owners, however, have reported weekly or even daily occurrences. In addition, it does not appear to be an AT&T or even U.S.-specific issue since some international users face similar troubles. While a permanent solution is currently unknown (to the best of my knowledge, at least), it’s typically a quick fix to get connectivity back.

If your iPhone is intermittently losing its network connection in a good cell coverage area, try these troubleshooting steps to restore internet access:

Toggle Airplane Mode

Airplane mode is the most convenient way to power an iPhone’s networking chips on and off. Just go to the Settings app and toggle the slider to the “On” position. Wait a few seconds for iOS to disable the cell radio, then switch it back to “Off.” Your iPhone will start searching for a signal and, hopefully, get its data connection back.

Toggle Airplane Mode

Hard Reset

While Airplane mode works some of the time, more often than not, a hard reset will be required. Hold the Power and Home buttons down at the same time until your iPhone’s screen goes completely black and the Apple logo appears. This is the real way to “restart” an iPhone, whereas holding the Power button and swiping the “power off” slider basically just puts it in a deep sleep. Typically the hard reset process takes 1-2 minutes and will restore internet connectivity for most users experiencing this particular issue.

Reset Settings

Still having trouble connecting, even though your iPhone is showing a strong signal from the cell network? This is where troubleshooting becomes more than a minor inconvenience. The next step is to go to Settings > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Keep in mind this will remove all of your saved WiFi networks and passwords. After you’ve reset your networking settings, perform a hard reset (as described in the previous tip). If that brings no success, repeat this procedure using the Reset All Content and Settings option on the same screen. This will remove all of your apps and data, but you’ll be able to get them back if you’re an iCloud user or use iTunes to back up your device.

Reset iPhone Settings

Restore Factory Settings

At this point a more serious issue may be at play – one that goes beyond the intermittent but easily solvable issue this article aims to fix. Your next step would be to restore your iPhone to factory settings. To do this, connect your phone to your Mac or PC and open iTunes. Select your iPhone under the Devices list, go to the Summary tab, and click the Restore button. Back up your settings and data when prompted and continue with the restore. At the end of the process, you will have the opportunity to load your backed up information back onto the iPhone.

If after performing all of these troubleshooting steps your iPhone still won’t connect to the data network, you’ve unfortunately done all you can do on your own. You’ll have to contact Apple tech support or visit an Apple Store to potentially get a replacement. Good luck!

Have you experienced this issue with your iPhone? What have you done to try to resolve it?

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11 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

this is happening too many times!!! Im sick of it!Losing internet connection

This really sucks! I pay monthly to have this service-the reason I got an IPHONE.. it simply disappears (the Internet) from my phone, and the largest most proftitable company on earth just ignors the problem.


This is happening two to three times a day on iphone 5. a hard reboot helps but if ur not watching and lose connection, you don’t get messages or e-mails.. Yeah it sure does suck

The assumption that it’s entirely an iPhone problem is not correct in my case. Both our iPhone 5s can be off our internet, have full strength and repeatedly told the password is wrong. Our iPad and computers connecting fine. By unplugging my “new” Netgear router from ATT for a few seconds and plugging it back in – the problem is fixed !!

Seems to be issue with iMessage servive
When I get text messages, it seems to take a long time to do anything while my iPhone is receiving the text message
Afterwards, I lose my data connection and have to toggle airplane mode to correct issue
This has even happened when I’m using wifi, and have had to toggle airplane mode then as well

My Wife’s iPhone 5c has this issue. Tried everything, including restoring the phone. Verizon is sending a replacement. My iPhone 5 has not experienced this problem.

We have two iphones. One never has any problems with network connections. This phone loses connection twice a week or so i must power off and repower the phone to restore network. Im thinking it could be tango maybe because my other phone doesnt have tango. Does anyone know how to figure this out? Apparently talking to mom is too important to not use tango for a week. I suppose ill check tango help.

Never happened before iphone 6 was released and the updates came out.

Any app to find out what is locking up this phones connectivity. Yes we use wifi at home and other places like work. Again other phone is ok

I’ve just changed my Samsung for an iPhone 6,it keeps losing internet even when its got a strong signal. its really bugging me,because I need it for gps as I taxi for a living.Never had this problem with my Samsung.
can anyone help.

I had the very same problem, my iPhone5s used to not connect to internet even with full signal and 3G showing me on the home screen.
I’ve turned off “Background Refresh” and it seems to work for now. Let’s see how long this lasts.

Apple is highly pissed (I’m assuming here) that some of us cheapskates are *still* using the iPhone 5. In their view I guess we’re just a bunch of losers and need to upgrade to at least an iPhone 6s. Well, guess what? Apple can kiss my rosy red a$$.