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Summary:

I live in New York, so I’m constantly losing my iPhone signal when I go onto the subway. Sometimes when I get off the train and I’m back in range of the phone still can’t find the network. Recently, my phone has randomly also been telling […]

I live in New York, so I’m constantly losing my iPhone signal when I go onto the subway. Sometimes when I get off the train and I’m back in range of the phone still can’t find the network. Recently, my phone has randomly also been telling me “No Sim” even though it’s just been sitting on my coffee table or desk (and been in range).

To get my signal back I used to turn the phone completely off, and boot her back up. This solution was alright, but it took a lot of time and it occasionally took several attempts for my phone to actually find the network. So, I have new method. I simply:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Turn Airplane Mode on
  3. Wait a few seconds, turn Airplane Mode off

Turning Airplane mode on disables the wireless features of the iPhone, and then turning it back makes the phone re-register on the network. I’ve had better success getting my signal back by toggling Airplane mode rather than rebooting the phone. Good luck!

  1. I’ve noticed the same problem, and my last Blackberry was much better at coming back to life (nudge nudge apple, don’t let BB win!)

    Also to note, if I attempt to make a call and there’s no signal, it should immediately go looking for a signal, instead of waiting till the next interval time. I’m guessing the interval is pretty large for battery reasons. Valid, but let me force it to check if I do something that needs radio. This includes sending TXT messages, as the iPhone has no ability to queue them up and send when the radio becomes active.

    p.s. Not being able to write/queue up texts when I’m on the subway is one of the biggest negatives I’ve had for the iPhone, and one that’s easy to fix..

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  2. As a New Yorker I always have that problem wish I thought of this earlier. Great tip I will use it in a couple hours on my commute home.

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  3. Didn’t ever think of that. Makes sense. I ride the subway with Germano, so I’ll be using this tip a lot too.

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  4. [...] Force iPhone to Find Network! Jump to Comments Force iPhone to Find Network [...]

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  5. The ‘no sim’ thing… I think either your sim or iPhone is faulty. Assuming you are using the ATT sim, otherwise you may have a slightly incompatible sim card. Shouldn’t be an issue these days, but I have seen this in the past.

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  6. [...] AppleBlog These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web [...]

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  7. This Airplane setting I am using (when I come out of my building lift) but I do not remember every time to set that up!! It is ridiculous to remember and do that every time, no? I had Imate KJAM and there was never a problem.

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  8. The reason for this is neither Network nor Signal strength (in subway or life/elevators). Its the way iPhone is built to preserve battery life. See, network search and selection takes lot of battery life. So manufacturers avoid spending the battery when signal strength is zero/very less trying to find the network so that the phone can be used for other purposes for longer time. Like in iPhone use it for iPod. Cant blame the network guys since signal can never ever reach places full of concrete like the subway or lifts. Also, its too risky from security point of view. So why not enjoy zero signal for other good things rather than seeing the phone for coverage. Lol.

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  9. Exact same problem I’ve been suffering with. It has been causing couple of very difficult situation while waiting people on the street with no sense about the bug. After the incidences I just had to create an habit to check Network and force to find network periodically if needed… What a great pain this is !!
    I believe this is not an issue related to signal strength or saving battery, as if someone below explained, but just a true bug. The evidence is that my IPhone never get out of the “Searching” state unless I force it to find network manually.
    I knew the problem ever since I’d purchased IPhone 3G about 2 years ago and wished that the problem can get fixed whenever new release came out. However, unfortunately it neither be fixed nor seen any reasonable feedback from Apple. So, I gradually become to believe that Apple has too much confident to their own solution and direction, but doesn’t respect Customer’s feedback.

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