How to Fix It When a 5G Network Doesn't Show Up

Troubleshooting why 5G is not working

Is your phone offline because 5G isn't working? As frustrating as it is when you can't get connected, consider the tips below to help you figure out what could be going wrong and get you back online ASAP.

This article covers troubleshooting steps for when your phone won't connect to a mobile 5G network. This article does not cover 5 GHz-related issues like a Wi-Fi network not showing up because 5 GHz Wi-Fi is different from 5G.

Why Can't I Connect to a 5G Network?

5G connection issues are hardly ever caused by something you did wrong or could have prevented. Here are some possible sources for the problem:

  • There's a temporary malfunction.
  • Your phone doesn't see the 5G network because you're out of range.
  • The closest 5G tower isn't working properly.
  • Your phone isn't compatible with the network.

To save yourself some time walking through all these steps, keep in mind that many old phones can't connect to 5G. See Step 8 if your phone was made before 2019.

How to Fix It When a 5G Network Doesn't Show Up

Follow these steps in order to try some of the easier fixes first:

  1. Turn airplane mode on, wait a few seconds, and then turn it back off. It will temporarily terminate your connection to the cell tower and then force it to try again.

  2. Restart your phone. See how to reboot an Android device or restart an iPhone for all the steps.

    Restarting isn't a fun process because it could be several minutes before you get back into your phone and everything loads back up, but this is an easy step you shouldn't overlook.

    This step is for restarting/rebooting your phone, not resetting. Restart and reset are different terms that will do different things to your phone. Resetting is one of the steps below, but don't do it this early in the troubleshooting process.

  3. Verify that there is 5G coverage where you are. While 5G has been deployed worldwide, there are huge gaps that make it unreliable in lots of areas.

    If you have a 5G-capable phone and you've been on a 5G network recently, moving even a few feet can push you back to an older standard like LTE/4G.

    The company you buy mobile service from most likely has a coverage map on their website to see where you can get dependable service, but if not, check out the Ookla 5G Map at

    There are multiple kinds of 5G networks, and your carrier could support some that your phone does not. For example, if the map shows low-band and mid-band coverage where you are, but 5G isn't showing up on your phone, it could be because your phone only supports 5G UWB.

  4. Confirm with your carrier that 5G is included in your plan. If a 5G network doesn't show up on your device even when you're in an area that's supposed to be supported, it could be because you're not paying for 5G access.

    Most companies include 5G in most of their plans but check with your carrier for specifics.

  5. Turn 5G on or off, depending on your situation.

    Turn it off if it's already on, but you can't reach the network. That way, at least your phone will work on an older network type, like LTE.

    Unfortunately, this might be the only solution because sometimes it's the 5G tower to blame, and there's nothing else you can do. It's most likely your situation if there's a specific tower near you that you consistently have trouble connecting to, but 5G works in other places.

    However, if you've completed those steps before, and that's why you can't access the network, reverse those steps to turn it on.

    You can turn an iPhone's 5G on or off in the Voice & Data area of the settings. Search for Preferred network type or Network mode if you're on Android.

    If the network type is already set to something that should cover 5G, like Global or Auto, change it to an option that best ensures a connection, like 5G On or 5G/LTE/3G/2G (auto connect).

  6. Update your phone's operating system to the latest version. The freshest OS installation contains all the latest fixes and enhancements for your phone, changes you're missing out on if you're running an out-of-date version of iOS or Android.

    See how to update iOS or update Android if you're not sure how.

  7. Reseat the SIM card, and clear the SIM Toolkit cache.

    Do this, specifically:

    1. Turn the phone off, remove the SIM card, and then turn it back on without it inserted.
    2. Clear the cache of SIM Toolkit. Open Settings > Apps > See all apps, and search for SIM Toolkit. Open it and go to Storage & cache > Clear cache.
    3. Turn the phone off, insert the SIM card once more, and then power it back on.
  8. Your phone might be too old. Specific hardware has to be present in the phone to locate and connect to a 5G network.

    A phone that can connect to 4G doesn't necessarily work with 5G, especially if manufactured before 2019. If you don't see 5G at the top of your phone, and none of these other tips have helped, you might not have a 5G-capable phone.

    To verify, run the phone's model number through a web search or on the company's website and look at its specs. It should say whether 5G is supported.

  9. Contact the support team at the company you get your mobile service through to see your other options. Let them know what you've already tried (all of the above steps); there might be something they can do on their end, or they might have additional advice to provide that's specific to your phone/plan.

    They might have you try a complete reset (see Step 10), but it's best to hold off on that as long as possible. Reaching out to the service provider first is wise.

  10. Factory reset your phone. It will delete all the customizations you've made to it and restore the original apps and other software to factory defaults.

    See how to factory reset an iPhone or factory reset an Android for all the details.

    This step is drastic, and you should take it only if you're confident your phone should be able to reach a 5G network, but it still won't even after considering all of the above.

  11. Contact the supplier of your phone. After resetting the phone's software and completing everything else in this list, faulty hardware preventing your phone from using 5G is all that's left.

    There's nothing else you can do but have them repair the phone or replace it with a working one.

  • Who has the best 5G network?

    In terms of coverage, T-Mobile's 5G network is the largest in the U.S., with AT&T, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular trailing. The speed of your device on each network still depends on your location and device, however.

  • How fast is 5G?

    The 5G you can access with your phone (mid-range) can run between 100 and 4,000 megabits per second. For comparison, 4G usually topped out at 100 megabits per second.

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