My iPhone 8 Says Searching! Here's Why & The Real Fix.

David Lynch

AUGUST 22, 2017

Your iPhone 8 says Searching and you're start to get frustrated. The person next to has great signal strength, while you're not able to do anything on your iPhone! In this article, I'll explain why it says Searching... in the upper left-hand corner of your iPhone's display and show you how to fix this problem for good.

Software vs. Hardware: Why Your iPhone 8 Says Searching

One common misconception people have when their iPhone 8 says Searching is that they believe the problem is hardware related. While it's true that your iPhone may have a hardware issue (especially if you recently dropped it on the sidewalk or in the toilet), there's also a good chance a software issue is causing the problem.

The steps below will help you diagnose common software problems that could be the reason why it says Searching... in the upper left-hand corner of your iPhone's display.

What To Do When Your iPhone 8 Says Searching...

8 Steps Total
1.

Turn Your iPhone Off And Back On

When you turn off your iPhone, the operating system shuts down all the little background programs that keep your iPhone running. When you turn your iPhone back on, all those little background programs start fresh, and sometimes that’s enough to fix a simple software glitch.

How Do I Turn My iPhone Off And Back On?

  1. Press and hold the power button until "slide to power off" appears on the screen.
  2. Use your finger to swipe the red power button across the screen from left to right.
  3. Wait for your iPhone to turn all the way off. This may take up to 30 seconds.
  4. To turn your iPhone back on, press and hold the power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  5. Let go of the power button and wait for your iPhone to turn on.
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2.

Update Carrier Settings

The UpPhone recommend that you update carrier settings immediately after they become available because outdated settings may lead to connectivity issues between your iPhone and your wireless carrier's network.

Some potential issues include having poor service or your iPhone going straight to voicemail anytime you receive a call.

  1. Make sure that your iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi network, or that Cellular Data is turned on.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Make Tap General.
  4. Tap About.
  5. After a few seconds, if a carrier settings update is available, you'll see a pop-up on the screen of your iPhone which says, "New settings are available. Would you like to update them now?"
  6. Tap Update.
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3.

Remove And Reinsert The SIM Card

Taking out the SIM card and putting it back in can give your iPhone a second chance to connect to your wireless carrier's network.

  1. Use a SIM card ejector tool or small paperclip to open the SIM card tray on the right side of your iPhone.
  2. Close the tray once you've opened it.
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4.

Reset Network Settings

Resetting the network settings can give your iPhone a “fresh start” and allow it to connect to Bluetooth devices or WiFi networks that may have been problematic.

How Do I Reset Network Settings?

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down to Reset. Reset is the final option in Settings -> General.
  4. Tap Reset Network Settings.
  5. Enter your passcode.
  6. When your iPhone restarts, the reset is complete.
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5.

Back Up Your iPhone

It's important to back up your iPhone before doing any major restores (such as a DFU restore). If something goes wrong while you're trying to fix your iPhone, having a back up means you won't lose any of your data (such as contacts, photos, apps, and more). Restoring from a back up is a lot more convenient than having to go and reenter all the information that was saved on your iPhone.

How Do I Back Up My iPhone?

There are two ways to back up your iPhone:

Backup Your iPhone Using iCloud

  1. If you have a WiFi connection, you can back up your iPhone using iCloud.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Tap iCloud (I blacked out my iCloud email address in my screenshot, but you'll see your iCloud email address there!)
  4.  Tap Backup.
  5. Make sure the switch next to iCloud Backup is on. You'll know the switch is on when the switch is green.
  6. Tap Back Up Now.
  7. A status bar will appear to tell you how much time is remaining.

Backup Your iPhone Using iTunes

  1. Plug the Lightning connector on your Lightning cable (charging cable) into the Lightning port on your iPhone.
  2. Plug the other end of your Lightning cable into a USB port on your computer.
  3. Open iTunes on your computer.
  4. Click on the iPhone icon in the upper left hand corner of iTunes.
  5. Click the circle next to "iCloud" or "This computer" to select whether you want to backup your iPhone to iCloud or your computer.
  6. Click Back Up Now to backup your iPhone.
  7. When the backup is complete, you'll see the time and date updated under Latest Backup.

Backup Your iPhone Using Finder (Macs Running Catalina 10.15)

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a charging cable.
  2. Open Finder.
  3. Click on your iPhone under Locations.
  4. Click the circle next to Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac.
  5. Click Back Up Now.
  6. When the backup is complete, you'll see the time and date updated under Latest Backup.
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6.

DFU Restore Your iPhone

A DFU restore has the potential to fix software problems by completely erasing the code which may be causing your problem. The code is rewritten as if  your iPhone is brand new, so the software problem may get solved.

Think of it like a house that has cracks in the foundation. Rather than try and fix the cracks, we are building an entirely new foundation.

If you can, back up your iPhone before completing a DFU restore. Any time you do a restore, it erases everything from your iPhone. However, after the restore is completed, you restore all your backed up data back onto your iPhone.

How Do I DFU Restore My iPhone?

Watch our DFU restore video walkthrough on YouTube, or follow the steps below:

  1. Using a Lightning cable, plug your iPhone into a USB port on your computer.
  2. Open iTunes if you have a PC or Mac running Mojave 10.14 or earlier). Open Finder if you have a Mac running Catalina 10.15 or newer. It doesn’t matter if your iPhone is on or off.
  3. On an iPhone 6s or older, press and hold the Home button and the power button. On an iPhone 7, press and hold the power and volume down button.  
  4. After 8 seconds, release the Power Button, but continue to hold the power button (iPhone 6s or older) the volume down button (iPhone 7).
  5. Let go of the power button or volume down button when your iPhone appears in iTunes or Finder.
  6. Your iPhone’s display will be completely black if you’ve successfully entered DFU mode. If it’s not, try again from the beginning.
  7. Restore your iPhone using iTunes or Finder.
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7.

Get A New Cell Phone Plan

Getting a new cell phone plan may be the only solution when you're having issues getting cell service on your phone. If your phone consistently has says "Searching" or has no service, you may want to consider switching carriers.

How Do I Get A New Cell Phone Plan?

  1. Go to the UpPhone cell phone plan comparison tool.
  2. Use the sliders to select how many minutes, messages, and gigabytes of data that you need.
  3. Use the menus to select the features, pricing structure, and contract type that you want.
  4. Click View Plan when you've found one that you're interested in!
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8.

Repair Your iPhone With Apple

Apple repairs iPhones at the Genius Bar in Apple Stores and through their online mail-in repair service. Apple repairs are high-quality, but out-of-warranty repairs can be much more expensive than third-party solutions. If you're looking to save some money you're not covered by Apple's warranty, you may want to check out our other recommendations.

How Do I Repair My iPhone With Apple?

How To Repair Your iPhone With Apple's Mail-In Service

  1. Visit Apple's support website to begin the online mail-in repair process.
  2. Alternatively, call 1-800-MY-APPLE (1-800-692-7753) to set up a repair.

How To Repair Your iPhone At The Genius Bar Inside Your Local Apple Store

  1. Visit Apple's website to make a Genius Bar appointment before you go into the store. Apple Stores are extremely busy, and if you don't have an appointment, you may have to wait for hours or end up being turned away. (Editor's note: I'm a former Apple tech and we're not exaggerating — please, do yourself a favor and make an appointment first!)
  2. When you arrive, go to the Genius Bar to check in for your appointment.
  3. Genius Bar appointments always include free diagnosis. If you're under warranty, many repairs can be done on the spot, but it all depends upon which parts are in stock. If you're not under warranty, the Genius will give you a quote for the cost of a repair.
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The Search Is Over!

The search is over and your iPhone has found a cellular connection. Now that you know why an iPhone 8 says searching, you'll know exactly how to fix the problem if it happens again! Thanks for reading and feel free to leave us a comment below if you have any other questions about the iPhone 8.

AUTHOR

David Lynch

Hi, I'm David! I'm here to help you fix problems with your iPhone and help you find a better cell phone plan.

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