Why Does My iPhone 12 Say “No Service”, even with a Signal Booster?

Written by Alejandra Jasso
17th Aug 2021

Why isn’t my iPhone 12 Working with My Signal Booster?

Does your iPhone 12 randomly lose cell service while at home or on the go, even though you own a cell signal booster? This shouldn’t happen, especially when your previous iPhone worked perfectly fine. Does this mean signal boosters don’t support the iPhone 12?

We’ve received tons of calls regarding this topic, so you’re not alone.

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The iPhone 12 Connectivity Dilemma – 5G & LTE Cellular Signal Drops

Days after the iPhone 12 launched, LTE and 5G network drop and “No Service” complaints started appearing on MacRumors, Reddit, and many other forums. User joxesCA was amongst the first to report the issue on Apple’s forum on October 28, 2020. Since then, over 2,000 iPhone 12 users have reported the same issue. This dilemma is affecting subscribers across all US carriers, as well as those in Europe, Africa, Australia, etc.

Normally, network connectivity issues occur in areas with poor cell reception, but iPhone 12 owners are seeing networks drops occur in areas where they had good cell service with their previous iPhone. What could be causing the iPhone 12 to randomly disconnect from the network?

According to many reports, many users are losing service while driving or moving. This raises the assumption that the issue lies when switching from one cell tower to another and failing to reconnect. Cellular towers can only cover so much area. When you leave their coverage zone and enter a new one, cellular devices are supposed to automatically pick up the new tower’s frequency bands for constant connectivity, which doesn’t seem to be happening with the iPhone 12. If the cell tower handoff theory is correct, it explains why many customers believe their vehicle signal boosters don’t work with their iPhone 12. Mobile signal booster antennas are constantly picking up cell signals from different cell towers. Instead of seeing a boost in service, customers may be seeing network drops because their iPhone 12 isn’t registering the switch between towers.

However, other iPhone 12 users randomly lose service while standing or sitting in one spot. iPhonetricks states that losing service while stationary is the result of the device operating on the border of two cellular towers and switching between the two (Note: this statement hasn’t been confirmed). If true, home and office signal boosters picking up cell signals from multiple cell towers would result in your device receiving boosted signal from different towers, which could cause your iPhone to disconnect from the network.

While it may seem cell tower handoffs are the sole cause of network drop issues, the problem may be much deeper than that. Seeing as it’s happening across multiple carriers throughout the world, it’s probably not a carrier issue either. Maybe it’s a hardware or software issue since not every iPhone 12 owner is experiencing network drops.

Apple hasn’t made any public statements regarding the reason behind this dilemma. Thanks to users taking their experience to social media and public forums, we know that Verizon and AT&T are working with Apple to resolve the issue. As more news come out, we'll continue to update this article.

Do Signal Boosters Work with the iPhone 12 Series?

Short answer, yes.

Because iPhone 12s are randomly disconnecting from the network, many customers are assuming their phone is simply not compatible with their iPhone signal booster, which is a fair assumption for those unaware of the issue.

Cell phones use radiofrequency waves to send and receive voice and data via cell towers. Those frequencies fall within frequency bands allocated for 4G, LTE, and 5G signals. The booster's external cellular antennas pick up frequency waves (in other words, available outside cell signal) from nearby cell towers, boost the power, and broadcast enhanced cell signal inside your home, office, or vehicle. As long as your iPhone 12 operates under the same frequencies the signal booster can amplify (which it most likely does), your iPhone 12 will be able to take advantage of the boosted signal for faster data speeds, uninterrupted text messages, and significantly fewer dropped calls.

If you randomly see your iPhone 12’s signal degrade before the connection drops or unexpectedly lose service even though you have a mobile or home booster, it’s because iPhone 12 models are not retaining a network connection, not because it doesn’t work with signal boosters. During the times your phone is working fine and staying connected, your iPhone utilizes the boosted signal to make calls, watch videos, post content on social media, and more.

How to Fix the iPhone 12 “No Service” Problem

Since it’s still unknown as to why iPhone 12s randomly lose service, the following troubleshooting tips are simply workarounds to help you reconnect to the network. Once connected, your device will receive amplified signal from your booster while at home or on the go. Here are a few things to try:

Toggle Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode forces your iPhone to disconnect from the network to fix minor network issues. After disabling Airplane Mode, your device will search for the closest cell tower and reconnect to the network. This simple process has helped many iPhone 12 users, though it appears to only be a temporary fix.

Here’s how:

Method 1: Open the Control Center by swiping down from the top-right corner -> Tap the Airplane icon to enable -> After a few seconds, tap again to disable

Method 2: Go to Settings -> Look for Airplane Mode -> Tap the slider to enable -> After a few seconds, tap again to disable

Restart Your Device

If enabling Airplane Mode doesn’t work, try rebooting your iPhone. Turning off your device also helps disconnect from the network, as well as eliminate any bugs that could be affecting your device's performance. When your phone boots up, it’s forced to search for a signal and hopefully connect and retain it.

Here’s how:

Soft Reset: Press and hold the Side Button and either Volume Button simultaneously -> Release buttons once Slide to Power Off appears -> Drag the power off slider to the right -> After a few seconds, hold the Side Button till the Apple logo appears.

Force Reset: Press and release the Volume Up Button quickly -> Press and release the Volume Down Button -> Press and hold the Side Button for a few seconds till the Apple logo appears.

Check Your Sim Card

A SIM card is basically your membership to access your carrier's cell network. A damaged or dirty SIM card can prevent your iPhone from receiving and retaining a consistent connection.

Here’s how:

Insert a SIM-eject tool (should be included in your iPhones packaging), paperclip, or earing into the hole found on the SIM tray and push in. Pull out the tray and remove the sim.

Replace Your SIM Card

Some users have reported that they've had success in eliminating the “No Service” issue after replacing the SIM card that came with the phone for a regular SIM card. Dr. Josh commented on 9to5mac that a Verizon rep mentioned that there is a known problem with the SIM cards that come with the iPhone 12. After receiving a new sim card from Verizon, the problem stopped. The same thing happened to Stacey Simons. AT&T supplied her with a regular SIM and the issue disappeared. She also mentions that the regular SIM will still connect to the 5G network, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on 5G service wherever it’s available.

Disable 5G Connectivity

Dropping signal could also be related to the fact that the iPhone 12 is the first 5G compatible iPhone. It’s entirely possible that when switching between cell sites, the device is searching for 5G service and doping the connection when it’s not detected. Disabling 5G is worth considering if it means you’ll be able to make calls and browse the web.

Here’s how:

Open Settings -> Tap Cellular -> Tap Cellular Data Options-> Tap Voice & Data -> Select LTE

Update Carrier Settings and IOS

Carrier settings and IOS updates are designed to improve your network connection, performance, and eliminate software bugs. Operating under old versions can hinder connectivity and performance.

Here’s how:

Carrier Settings: Open Settings -> Tap General -> Tap About -> If an update is available, you’ll see an option to update your carrier settings

IOS: Open Settings -> Tap Software Updates -> If an update is available, download and install

Reset Network Settings

This step will reset your cellular and WiFi settings back to the factory default. All connectivity information will be wiped from the device, forcing you to disconnect from your carrier’s network and eliminating connectivity bugs. Once your phone reboots after the reset, it’ll connect to the closest cell site and hopefully maintain a consistent connection while stationary or in motion.

Here’s how:

Open Settings -> Tap General -> Tap Reset -> Tap Reset Network Settings -> Enter your passcode if asked to -> Tap Confirm

Factory Reset

If you’re still experiencing network drops, this is the last resort. A factory reset will erase everything from your phone – apps, bugs, personalized settings, media, etc. If there’s a setting, an app, or a bug inside your phone that is causing you to randomly lose service, this will definitely get rid of it. Before doing this, make sure you’ve backed up your device so you don’t lose important documents.

Here’s how:

Open Settings -> Tap General -> Tap Reset -> Tap Erase All Content and Settings -> Tap Confirm after backing up your data

Contact Your Carrier and Apple

If all else fails, it’s time to contact your cell phone provider and Apple. Even though they may ask you to perform all the troubleshooting tips above, with more callers and complaints they might try to find a solution faster and address the issue.

Questions? Contact Us

Wilson Amplifiers is the leading provider of cell phone boosters. Our goal is simple: keep people connected. If you have any questions or comments regarding your iPhone 12 connectivity issues, please give us a call (1-800-568-2723) or email us (sales@wilsonamplifiers.com). We’ll be happy to help!

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