How to Fix a Cell Phone If You Have No Service

By Brad Harris

Cell phone service problems often arise without warning, leaving you unable to make or receive calls at the most inopportune times. Whether you are at home, waiting for your kids to call, or at the office, trying to meet a crucial deadline, you depend on the cell-phone service for which you are paying. Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken--prior to calling technical support--that may resolve the issue.

Things You'll Need

  • Cell phone
  • Cell phone user manual
  • Carrier contact number


Step 1

Turn the device off and back on. Most service issues are due to old, timed-out registrations that have dropped you from the network. By power-cycling the phone, a new registration is acquired and signal should be restored.

Step 2

Perform a Master Reset. If power-cycling did not restore your service, the problem may be due to a software issue. Doing a master reset will revert the software back to factory standards, restoring your service by removing bugs that may have developed over time. Generally this is done by pressing "Menu," "Settings," "Initial Setup" and "Master Reset." However, steps may vary from device to device so refer to your user manual for different steps if needed.

Step 3

Perform a Master Clear. If the master reset did not restore your service, the software issue at work may be severe. In this case, it is necessary to completely wipe all information from the device and install a fresh copy of the operating system using the Master Clear function. Press "Menu," "Settings," "Initial Setup" and "Master Clear." Again, steps may differ from phone to phone, so consult your user manual as needed.

Step 4

If the software resets did not restore your service, it's possible that the cellular radio has ceased functioning correctly. Contact your carrier for repair, replacement or exchange if it is still under warranty. Your carrier can advise you of the options you may have.

Tips & Warnings

  • Turning your phone off and back on at least once a day is the best preventative medicine there is. This routine reset will keep software bugs from developing and always ensure you have a fresh connection to your cell network.
  • A master clear will erase all content on the phone, meaning you will lose all contacts, pictures, music files, etc. Before doing this step, back up any important information you may need later on a memory card.