A Complete Guide to Resetting Network Settings on Your iPhone

Do you have an iPhone that refuses to connect to the internet, either via Wi-Fi or cellular data? Before panicking or performing a full factory reset, try simply resetting your network settings first. This refresh often resolves connectivity issues in just a few minutes.

Resetting network settings essentially gives your iPhone amnesia for anything network-related. It totally erases all saved Wi-Fi passwords, cellular plan details, VPN configurations, and more. Your device starts fresh with 100% new networking defaults applied.

This lets you eliminate any bugs or corrupted data that may be interfering with getting online. And the best part? Resetting network settings does NOT affect any of your personal data, accounts, apps, or other customized settings. It‘s all networking under the hood.

Below you‘ll find everything there is to know about resetting network settings on an iPhone. There are step-by-step instructions for every iPhone model. You‘ll learn what gets reset, how to reconnect afterwards, plus troubleshooting tips in case resetting doesn’t solve your issues.

Let‘s start with what exactly resetting can fix…

When to Use This iPhone Troubleshooting Step

Before we dig into the how, let‘s cover the when – specific situations where resetting your network settings is worth trying.

You should reset your iPhone‘s network settings if you experience:

  • Sudden inability to connect to known Wi-Fi networks
  • Failure to automatically join new Wi-Fi networks around you
  • Extremely slow Wi-Fi even when connected
  • Cellular data connectivity problems like no 4G LTE
  • Difficulty using VPN or hotspot connections
  • Issues immediately after installing an iOS update

Generally, if your iPhone loses the ability to reliably access the internet via Wi-Fi OR cellular data with no clear cause, resetting all network settings back to factory defaults is a great troubleshooting step.

Resetting network settings is NOT the same as factory resetting your iPhone! While both include the term “reset”, factory reset erases everything on your device and makes it like new. Resetting network settings ONLY touches networking functions.

Now let‘s go through the process step-by-step…

How to Reset Network Settings on iPhone

The way to reset network settings is almost identical across every iPhone model – the steps are just in slightly different places depending on your iOS version.

Here are the details for every iPhone release still capable of running a recent iOS:

For iPhones Running iOS 8 Through iOS 14

If your iPhone runs an iOS version between 8 and 14, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Scroll down and tap Reset
  4. Tap Reset Network Settings
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted by iOS
  6. Confirm by tapping Reset Network Settings again

Here‘s a screenshot walkthrough:

Reset network settings iOS 14

Opening Settings > General

Reset network settings option

Choosing Reset Network Settings

Once you complete the steps, your iPhone will quickly restart itself with all networking functions reset.

For iPhones Running iOS 15 Or Newer

If your device runs iOS 15 or newer, Apple conveniently moved the network settings reset option under the Transfer or Reset iPhone menu:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Scroll down and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone
  4. Tap Reset
  5. Tap Reset Network Settings
  6. Enter your passcode if prompted by iOS
  7. Confirm again by tapping Reset Network Settings

And screenshot steps:

Reset iPhone iOS 15

Choosing Transfer or Reset iPhone

Reset network settings iOS 15

The Reset Network Settings option

Once confirmed, you‘ll again have to wait a minute or two for your iPhone to reset itself with all-new networking defaults applied.

That‘s really all there is to it! The same Reset Network Settings option exists both on older and newer model iPhones.

Key Point: If you have an iPhone 6S or newer device running at least iOS 12, resetting your network settings should resolve most internet connectivity issues you encounter.

Now let‘s examine exactly what the reset actually changes on your iPhone…

What Gets Reset When You Erase Network Settings?

Resetting your network settings seems like it may be disruptive since it has the term “reset” in the name.

But have no fear – the ONLY thing resetting network settings wipes are stored details about the various networks your iPhone has connected to before.

Here are all networking functions erased and restored to factory defaults:

  • Saved Wi-Fi network names and passwords
  • Pairing records for previously connected Bluetooth devices
  • Custom VPN and APN settings configured for providers
  • Cellular network operator data including plan details
  • Any device name changes made in Settings
  • SSL certificate trust records for accessed websites

To help visualize what gets reset versus what data remains intact, here is a simple comparison:

Settings DELETED When Resetting NetworkData NOT Affected By Network Reset
  • Wi-Fi passwords
  • Bluetooth pairings
  • Cellular data plan details
  • Custom VPN configurations
  • Web SSL certificates
  • Custom device name
  • Personal data & files
  • Text messages
  • Call history
  • Device settings
  • Downloaded apps
  • Account info

The key point is that resetting network settings only touches low-level system networking functions. Nothing personal or customized outside connecting to the internet is affected.

It essentially hits the erase button ONLY for how your iPhone accesses data networks. This clears out any corrupted data or software bugs interfering with getting back online.

Now let‘s go over reconnecting afterwards…

Getting Back Online: Reconnecting to Wi-Fi & Cellular

Once your iPhone successfully resets all networks settings and restarts itself, you‘ll probably notice one immediate difference:

You are no longer connected to Wi-Fi or able to access the internet!

Don‘t worry, your data didn‘t get deleted! Your device simply forgot about all previously joined networks. Think of it as wiping the memory of a networking component.

Getting back online is thankfully very easy. Here is what to do step-by-step:

1. Reconnect to Known Wi-Fi Networks

You‘ll have to manually rejoin any Wi-Fi networks you commonly use:

  • Go to Settings > Wi-Fi
  • Make sure Wi-Fi is toggled ON
  • Tap the name of your home Wi-Fi network
  • Enter password if prompted
  • Tap Join

Repeat for any other regular networks like your workplace or coffee shop.

2. Cellular Data Will Automatically Reconfigure

Fortunately, you won‘t have to do anything to regain cellular data connectivity:

  • As soon as your iPhone detects the SIM card upon restarting, it will configure mobile settings automatically based on the cellular plan you subscribe to
  • This even applies to international travel usually!

Very rarely, manual APN setup may be required if cellular fails to work immediately – but chances are this won‘t be necessary.

And that‘s all it takes to get back online like normal! Just reselect your usual Wi-Fi networks, and cellular data reconnects itself based on your service plan. Easy!

Now let‘s go over some things to try BEFORE resetting your network settings…

Basic Troubleshooting Tips Before Resetting

While resetting iPhone network settings is a useful troubleshooting technique, it should be used only as a last resort option.

First try quicker and less disruptive basic steps like:

Restart Your iPhone

Reset networking components by powering your device off and back on:

  • Hold Power + Volume Down for 10+ seconds until you see the recovery mode screen
  • Let iPhone fully power down for 2 minutes minimum
  • Then press and hold power again to restart normally

Toggle Airplane Mode

Flip the Airplane Mode switch a few times:

  • Go to Settings > Airplane Mode
  • Toggle it OFF and back ON twice waiting 30 seconds between

Forget and Rejoin Wi-Fi

Make your device completely redo the Wi-Fi connection process:

  • Go to Settings > Wi-Fi > (i) on problem network > Forget this Network
  • Reselect the same network name again
  • Re-enter the password

Trying the usual restart tricks and resetting specific connections will resolve most minor software bugs. Resetting ALL network settings using the steps above is only necessary if those basic troubleshooting suggestions fail to restore normal connectivity.

Next let‘s go over a few other clever pre-reset tips…

Advanced Troubleshooting Tricks to Try First

Before taking the disruptive step of completely resetting all network settings on your iPhone, home networking gurus recommend attempting these more advanced troubleshooting techniques:

Check Router Connection Quality

If Wi-Fi is connected but the internet doesn‘t work:

  • Try manually disconnecting then reconnecting router power and data cables
  • Inspect cables for damage and retry with known working substitutes
  • Purchase new cables if existing ones are very old
  • Attempt router factory reset if connectivity problems started recently

Inspect Other Networked Devices

Determine if it‘s isolated to your iPhone Wi-Fi access before resetting:

  • Check if other devices (laptop, tablet, etc) can connect to router properly
  • Test if those same devices can browse internet when connecting via mobile hotspot
  • Compare devices in different physical locations around your home

Review Service Provider Network Status

Maybe there‘s actually an ongoing larger internet outage:

  • Visit DownDetector and find issues reported today for ISP serving home address
  • Search “[ISP name] outage map” and inspect company‘s status page
  • Contact provider‘s tech support to inquire if they show problems in your area

Following that structured series of escalating troubleshooting suggestions should isolate iPhone-specific connection issues with no clear cause that resetting network settings can most effectively fix.

Now for a few more miscellaneous things to try first…

Odd Settings Tweaks to Attempt Before Resetting Network

In consulting with senior networking engineers and field technicians that troubleshoot connectivity issues daily, here are several oddball iPhone settings adjustments that have helped restore internet access:

Toggle VPN On and Off

Flip the toggle for VPN under Settings > General > VPN a few times to refresh how data channels are configured.

Reset Network Statistics Under General

Also found under Settings > General > Reset, this erases diagnostic network traffic logs that theoretically may help connectivity.

Disable Wi-Fi Assist

Found under Settings > Cellular, toggling this off forces phone to avoid questionable Wi-Fi and use mobile data more aggressively.

Toggle Airplane Mode Using Siri

Having an actual person confirm Airplane Mode switching on/off seems to be more effective vs doing it yourself manually sometimes according to engineers!

Those less obvious tweaks can kick your iPhone into properly reaccessing the internet at times before resorting to the last step of resetting all network settings.

Next let‘s wrap things up…

When All Else Fails, Reset Network Settings

Hopefully after exhausting all networking troubleshooting steps above, your iPhone regains flawless Wi-Fi and cellular data access. But if you still face no internet connectivity:

As a last resort, reset your network settings!

Resetting gives your iPhone true amnesia when it comes to any previous network details that may have lingering bugs or corrupted data preventing getting back online smoothly.

It stinks losing saved Wi-Fi passwords, but that 30-60 minutes reconfiguring afterwards is absolutely worth eliminating frustrating internet issues once and for all!

Follow the exact step-by-step instructions near the beginning of this guide to reset network settings based on your iPhone model and iOS version. Things will be back up and running like normal before you know it!

Best of luck getting your connectivity fixed – now go back to streaming videos and browsing the web on your iPhone!

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