Why Is Your Mobile Data So Slow? How to Speed It Up in 10 Steps (2023)

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Wondering why your cellular data is so slow? Working with a slow data connection on your phone is extremely frustrating, whether you have an iPhone or Android device. When you're trying to watch a video or look up information, it's easy to get upset when service doesn't meet the standard you expect.

In most cases, a slow data connection is temporary as it's caused by your location or network congestion. But at other times, it can persist for hours or even days. Before you call your mobile carrier's technical support, try these simple steps first and see if they fix your slow mobile data issues.

1. Restart Your Phone

This seems like a cliché fix, but it often works. Restarting your phone should fix sluggish cellular data speeds, especially if you haven't turned it off in a while. If you're in a rush, you can try putting your phone in airplane mode first. But a full restart is always a good idea.

Restarting your phone is simple. Follow these steps for your device:

  • On an iPhone without a Home button, press and hold the side button, plus either the Volume Up or Volume Down button, until Slide to Power Off appears. After you power off your iPhone, hold the side button again to turn it back on.
  • If you have an iPhone with a Home button, simply hold the side button (usually on the right side of the phone, or the top of older devices) until Slide to Power Off appears on the screen.
  • For most Android phones, you just need to hold the Power button until the power options appear on the screen, then tap Restart. If you don't see Restart, choose Power off, then hold Power again to boot your phone back up.

No matter your device, it's a good idea to leave your phone turned off for a few minutes before turning it back on.

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Why Is Your Mobile Data So Slow? How to Speed It Up in 10 Steps (1)
Why Is Your Mobile Data So Slow? How to Speed It Up in 10 Steps (2)

2. Move to a Different Location

Many physical factors can result in slow LTE or 5G. These include weather, network congestion, and even solar activity. But chief among these are geography and buildings.

If you're in a remote area, or there are a lot of natural barriers around you (such as hills, mountains, and valleys), you'll probably experience a poor signal. Try to move to a more even-leveled location if the landscape around you fits one of these extremes.

The same goes for being inside buildings. You might be in the middle of a heavily populated urban area with full bars on your device, then wonder why your data becomes so slow when you enter certain structures. Being underground, or surrounded by concrete in a structure like a basement, can negatively affect your data signal.

(Video) How to get Faster Mobile Data speed when you change a simple setting!! - Howotosolveit

If you're having data speed problems that only started in a certain location, try moving somewhere else. You may need to leave the building you're in or drive a few miles away. While this may not be convenient, it's a good way to troubleshoot your speed issue.

This step is likely something tech support will ask you to do anyway if you call for help. Unfortunately, current network technology doesn't provide perfect coverage in all areas, so location is still a big factor. As 5G continues to become more popular, we'll hopefully see fewer dead zones.

3. Update and Disable Network-Heavy Apps

Sometimes a troublesome app can cause issues by hogging your data connection, thus leaving less bandwidth for other apps and slowing everything down. In such a case, you'll need to do a little investigating to see what, if anything, is eating into your bandwidth. If there is something amiss, you can disable the app's access to your cellular data connection or uninstall it.

When your iPhone internet is slow, you can visit Settings > Cellular and use the list to disable any app's access to your cellular data connection.

On Android, you'll find this at Settings > Network & internet > Mobile network (SIMs on Android 12) > App data usage. Tap an app, then slide the Background data slider off to prevent that app from using data in the background.

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You should also check for app updates. App developers publish updates to address bugs all the time, which could include fixes for slow network performance or excessive bandwidth usage.

See how to update apps on iPhone and how to update your Android apps if you need help.

4. Disable Data Saver or Low Data Mode

Both Android and iPhone contain modes designed to reduce your data usage. These are handy if you have a limited amount of data, but if you enabled them by accident, they can make it seem like your mobile connection is slower than it actually is. Try disabling these modes to see if everything feels faster.

On Android, head to Settings > Network & internet > Data Saver. If you have an iPhone, you'll find a comparable setting called Low Data Mode under Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Data Mode.

(Video) How to Improve Phone Signal and Get Faster Internet speed when you change a simple settings!!

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Why Is Your Mobile Data So Slow? How to Speed It Up in 10 Steps (5)
Why Is Your Mobile Data So Slow? How to Speed It Up in 10 Steps (6)

If you're worried about how much data you use, make sure you turn these back on after a bit. You should be able to tell if this setting is making your mobile data slower or not. It cuts a few corners, such as not loading images until you tap them, or pausing background sync until you open an app.

5. Remember Your Data Cap

Don't forget that you probably have a mobile data cap ranging from a few to several dozen gigabytes. If you go over that cap, your mobile carrier will usually slow your connection (in lieu of expensive overages).

Even those on so-called "unlimited" plans will usually experience throttling or "deprioritization" during times of network congestion, especially after they hit a certain limit. This might be the cause when you experience slow mobile internet. If you've used up your allotment, you'll either have to wait until your bill cycle resets or purchase additional high-speed data.

It's a good idea to know how much data you can use before your carrier drops you down to a much slower connection speed. If you're not sure, check your account through the company's mobile app or website. That will show how much high-speed data you have per month, and how much you've used so far.

hen, use our tips for reducing your mobile data usage if you need to cut back on data consumption.

6. Disconnect From Your VPN

VPNs can provide additional privacy and let you get around geo-restrictions, but staying connected to a VPN can also slow down your mobile speeds due to increased overhead. Thus, if your phone is connected to a VPN and you need to make your data faster, try disconnecting from the VPN first.

Chances are, you'll notice an immediate improvement as soon as you disconnect. If that does fix the problem, you can improve your VPN's speed when you reconnect to it.

Not using a VPN yet? We highly recommend ExpressVPN because it's effective and reputable. But if you find it too expensive, CyberGhost is a good value-conscious option.

7. Check for Network Outages

Though mobile carriers love to boast about their reliability, outages happen all the time. These outages often account for reduced speeds or even lost connections. If you're still experiencing slow mobile data after checking all the above, it's a good idea to check for outages with your carrier before calling in.

(Video) Mobile Network Full But Internet Slow | slow Internet problem and solution |

If you can connect to Wi-Fi, it's possible to do some investigating. Try checking a website such as Downdetector. Often, if the issue is widespread, other people will have already reported it. You'll see a large spike in recent reports about outages with your carrier, and can check the heatmap to see which areas of the country are experiencing problems.

Why Is Your Mobile Data So Slow? How to Speed It Up in 10 Steps (7)

You can also hop onto social media. Twitter is a good place to research connection issues because people will often tweet about their connection problems. Plus, if you contact your mobile carrier's support Twitter account, you're likely to get a response quickly.

This also lets you do something else while you wait, instead of wasting time on hold while calling your carrier's support number.

8. Reset Your Phone's Network Settings

Resetting your network settings often fixes a slow mobile data connection, but it's a more drastic step. Doing this resets everything related to networking to its default. This includes removing your Wi-Fi access points, Bluetooth devices, and similar. Losing these isn't the end of the world, but you will have to reconnect to saved Wi-Fi networks and re-pair your Bluetooth devices later.

To reset network settings on an iPhone, open Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Your phone will prompt you for your passcode if you have one, then it will restart to perform the operation.

On an Android phone, you'll find the reset network settings option at Settings > System > Advanced > Reset options > Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth. This may be in a different location depending on your phone manufacturer and Android version. Try searching for "reset" in the Settings search bar if you can't find it.

Resetting the network settings on an Android phone usually does not require you to restart the device. However, it's not a bad idea to restart anyway.

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Why Is Your Mobile Data So Slow? How to Speed It Up in 10 Steps (8)
Why Is Your Mobile Data So Slow? How to Speed It Up in 10 Steps (9)
(Video) 5 Ways To Boost Your 4G Internet Speed 🚀

9. Remove and Reinsert Your SIM Card

Finally, you can try to pull out, then reinsert, your SIM card. This can clear up any underlying issues affecting your phone's connection to your carrier.

Where your SIM card is located varies from device to device. On older iPhones, the SIM card slot is located on the right edge of the phone, below the side button. The iPhone 12 and 13 series have the SIM slot on the left side of the device.

On Android devices, it can be on the side, top, bottom, or even behind the back cover if your phone has a removable battery. Google your phone model, or check the manual, if you can't locate it.

The SIM sits in a small tray that will pop out. You can pull some SIM trays with your fingernail. Others may require you to use a small tool, usually provided in the phone box. If you don't have this handy, you can bend a paper clip or use the back of an earring.

Why Is Your Mobile Data So Slow? How to Speed It Up in 10 Steps (10)

Before pulling your SIM card, you should ideally turn off your phone. It's not a huge deal, but will prevent any potential damage. Also, make sure you pull your SIM while sitting at a table or other flat surface, since it's tiny and easy to lose. You don't want to drop it into the grass.

If pulling the SIM card doesn't work, you can try replacing it. This will require going into one of your carrier's store locations, so you should call first if your issue still isn't resolved at this point. Your carrier may send you a new SIM through the mail anyway.

Keep in mind that if you have an older phone, you may not be able to access the fastest mobile data standards. See our comparison of 4G LTE and 5G for what to expect. 5G is the newest and fastest data type, but LTE should be enough to do almost anything you enjoy.

10. Call Your Carrier's Support

If none of these steps fix your slow data, then it's time to call tech support. Contact your mobile carrier through its support number, which you can find through the mobile app or with a quick Google search.

Keep in mind that the technician on the phone may have you repeat some of these steps. You might want to refuse because you're already done them, but it's the employee's job to go through a list of troubleshooting steps to see what works and what doesn't.

You can try explaining upfront what you've already done, but it's worth sticking with their instructions to make sure you didn't miss anything.

Why Is My Phone Internet Slow? Now You Know

Hopefully, you can make your mobile data faster without having to call your carrier. But if nothing above does the job, the issue could be something on your provider's end that you can't fix. That's why it's a good idea to call if you're out of other options.

Remember that a slow data connection is only part of a potential problem. If your phone is still slow on Wi-Fi, you'll need to investigate further to improve Wi-Fi performance too.

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How can I make my mobile data faster? ›

Try the following tips to increase your mobile data speed:
  1. Restart your phone. ...
  2. Find the top mobile data–draining apps. ...
  3. Turn off inactive background apps and programs. ...
  4. Pause resource-draining apps the easy way. ...
  5. Install an ad blocker. ...
  6. Try a data speed booster. ...
  7. Clear the cache on your mobile browser.
Sep 13, 2022

How can I speed up my slow cellular data? ›

How to speed up your slow mobile internet in 9 ways
  1. Restart your phone.
  2. Check your data usage limit.
  3. Move to a new location.
  4. Check if you are using a VPN.
  5. Reset your network settings.
  6. Find data-draining apps.
  7. Clear your cache on browsers.
  8. Update your phone's software.
Sep 13, 2022

Why is my data speed very slow? ›

Spyware and viruses can definitely cause problems, but your Internet connection speed can also be affected by add-on programs, the amount of memory the computer has, hard disk space and condition, and the programs that are running. Two of the most frequent causes of poor Internet performance are spyware and viruses.

Why is my iPhone data so slow? ›

If the network that you're connected to is congested — for example, at an event with many people using the same network — apps might take a while to open or display their content. Your device can also seem slow as it repeatedly reconnects to new cell towers when you're in a moving vehicle.

How do I change my data speed? ›

How to improve your internet speed
  1. Turn things off and on again. ...
  2. Move your router to a better location. ...
  3. Switch your Wi-Fi frequency band. ...
  4. Adjust your router's antennas. ...
  5. Extend your Wi-Fi network. ...
  6. Prune unnecessary connections. ...
  7. Change your Wi-Fi frequency channel. ...
  8. Upgrade to faster internet.
Feb 14, 2023

How to increase internet speed? ›

How to increase download speed
  1. Restart your computer. ...
  2. Close unnecessary apps and programs. ...
  3. Disconnect other devices. ...
  4. Download one file at a time. ...
  5. Scan for viruses. ...
  6. Update drivers and firmware. ...
  7. Clear cookies.
Jun 3, 2022

What is a data speed booster? ›

Internet booster is a device that improves the internet connection speed by increasing the strength of wireless router signal. These devices can be used to boost the signal strength of home internet connections, or in offices and public places like cafes, hotels, and airports.

How do I turn off slow data mode? ›

How to turn off the Low Data Mode for the Mobile Data
  1. Open the Settings.
  2. Select Mobile Data from the first set of options. Go to Mobile Data.
  3. Tap on Mobile Data Options.
  4. Choose Data Mode.
  5. Enable any other option than the Low Data Mode.
Sep 3, 2022

How do I reset my network settings? ›

To reset network settings
  1. Find and tap Settings > System > Advanced > Reset options > Reset network settings.

How do I fix my slow Android phone? ›

Restart your phone normally & check apps
  1. Restart your phone.
  2. One by one, remove recently downloaded apps. Learn how to delete apps.
  3. After each removal, restart your phone normally. ...
  4. After you remove the app that caused the problem, you can add back the other apps that you removed.

How do I fix my slow phone? ›

Why is my Android slow? 8 ways to troubleshoot your phone
  1. 1 Restart your phone. ...
  2. 2 Free up storage space. ...
  3. 3 Uninstall unused Android apps. ...
  4. 4 Change the system animation speed. ...
  5. 5 Use Lite edition apps. ...
  6. 6 Update to the latest software. ...
  7. 7 Perform a factory reset. ...
  8. 8 Consider installing a custom ROM.
May 14, 2023

Why is my cell phone so slow? ›

Answer: Your phone could be slow because of low storage space. Try cleaning the memory of your phone, delete the apps you don't use, and backup your files and photos on an external drive or cloud storage and delete them. Reboot your phone and it should do the job.

Why is my phone running out of data so fast? ›

Restrict background data use

Background data is when applications are not in use but are running secretly in the background. This allows high consumption of data. Applications make use of data to find messages, ads, notifications, find, install, and update apps. This consumes your data without you knowing.

Should mobile data be on or off? ›

Leave mobile data on and your battery will drain quicker than if it was off. There are a few reasons why this happens. First, your phone will be constantly searching for signal. If you're in an area with particularly poor signal, things only get worse, as your phone consumes more power while searching.

Why is my AT&T unlimited data so slow? ›

Network demand and data use

This is called network congestion, and we may have to slow your data speed to keep everyone connected. On an unlimited plan? We may temporarily slow your speed at any time if our network is busy. We may also slow it after you use more than 50GB or 22GB of data in a single bill period.

How to improve connectivity? ›

10 tips to help improve your wireless network
  1. Choose a central location. ...
  2. Move your router off the floor. ...
  3. Replace your router's antenna. ...
  4. Reduce wireless interference. ...
  5. Replace your device wireless card-based network adapter. ...
  6. Add a wireless repeater. ...
  7. Change your wireless channel. ...
  8. Update your firmware or network adapter driver.

How can I increase my Internet speed by 20%? ›

Boost And Increase Your Internet Speed Upto 20%
  1. Limit Reservable Bandwidth.
  2. Open Google Chrome and press CTRL+SHIFT+DELETE.
  3. Select the Temporary Internet Files, History, and Cache data.
  4. Click on the Clear Browsing Data button.
  5. Now, switch to the Port Settings tab.
Sep 19, 2022

What is the best data speed? ›

For four or more devices, 25 Mbps is recommended. For two or more users who regularly stream high definition or 4K video, use videoconferencing, participate in online gaming, or work from home, a good internet speed of 12 to 25 Mbps makes the most sense.

Is there any app to increase internet speed? ›

Speedify is an effective mobile internet speed booster for Android. The app helps in improving the speed of the internet and the connection of the network within seconds. Professionals and travelers generally use the software to search for and connect to the fastest network.

Why is my LTE so weak? ›

Averse weather, interference from building materials or terrain, distance from your nearest cell tower, or network overload can all contribute to poor signal.

How do I fix slow LTE on my iPhone? ›

16 Ways to increase cellular data speed on iPhone
  1. Switch to LTE/4G or 5G. ...
  2. Turn off Background Apps Refresh. ...
  3. Turn off Low Data Mode. ...
  4. Disable automatic downloads and updates. ...
  5. Turn on/off Airplane mode. ...
  6. Restart your iPhone. ...
  7. Reset Network Settings. ...
  8. Update iOS.
Nov 11, 2022

How do I force my phone to use LTE? ›

Open the Settings app. Go over to Mobile Network. Choose the SIM card to enter SIM info & settings. Select Preferred network type, then choose the mode you want.

What wastes the most data? ›

A lot of apps will quietly run in the background, which can drain your battery and burn lots of mobile data. Consider deleting apps that do this regularly, or (on Android) use some advanced options in Developer Mode to limit background processes.

How do I find out what is draining my data? ›

If you're on an Android device:
  1. Open your phone's Settings app.
  2. Tap Network & internet. Internet.
  3. Next to your carrier, tap Settings .
  4. At the top you'll see how much total data you use.
  5. To see graphs and details, tap App data usage. To pick a time period, tap the Down arrow .

Which apps are draining my data? ›

But here is a list of some of the highest data usage apps you'll likely have on your phone:
  • Streaming apps such as Netflix, Stan, Disney+ and BINGE.
  • Social media apps such as Tik Tok, Facebook and Instagram.
  • GPS and ridseharing apps such as Uber, DiDi and Maps.
Feb 5, 2020

Should low data mode be on or off on my iPhone? ›

This means you should turn Low Data Mode off, so you can stream at higher quality and allow your background apps to refresh. The only downsides to turning off Low Data Mode are that your iPhone will use more battery, and some apps won't refresh in the background.

How much data do I need on my cell phone? ›

Meanwhile, if you're using mobile data much of the day, every day, or using data intensive things like video streaming and tethering regularly, you'll probably want at least 50GB – and even that might not be enough.
Overall usageData per month
Very heavy50GB+
Jan 24, 2023

How do I reset my mobile data? ›

How to reset network settings on your Android phone or tablet
  1. Swipe up from the homescreen and open the app drawer.
  2. Tap the Settings app (the one with a gear icon).
  3. Scroll down and tap to System.
  4. Select Reset options. 2 Images. ...
  5. Select Reset Wi-Fi, mobile, & Bluetooth and tap Reset settings from the following menu.
Mar 28, 2023

What is the code for mobile network reset? ›

For newer Android devices

Enter *# *# 72786 #* #* into the dial pad. Don't tap the call icon or try to connect.

What happens when you reset all settings? ›

A factory data reset erases your data from the phone. While data stored in your Google Account can be restored, all apps and their data will be uninstalled. To be ready to restore your data, make sure that it's in your Google Account. Learn how to back up your data.

What is *# 9900? ›

*#9900# Opens up system dump mode.

How can I clean my phone for free? ›

To clean up Android apps on an individual basis and free up memory:
  1. Open your Android phone's Settings app.
  2. Go to the Apps (or Apps and Notifications) settings.
  3. Make sure All apps is selected.
  4. Tap on the app you wish to clean.
  5. Select Clear Cache and Clear Data to remove the temporary data.
Sep 26, 2019

What happens if you go over your data limit? ›

A home internet provider usually won't charge extra if you use more than your allowed amount of data. Instead, the system will automatically slow down your internet, so it can only be used for basic things like web pages or reading text. Some internet providers call this shaping your connection.

How to get more data? ›

Check your plan, buy data & control notifications
  1. Open your Settings app.
  2. Tap Google. Mobile data plan. To check your plan: At the top, see your current data plan status. To buy more data: Under "Buy data," tap the offer you want. Then tap Buy.

Why is mobile data running out so fast? ›

Your phone's data is being used up so quickly because of your Apps, social media usage, and device settings that allow automatic backups, uploads, and syncing, using faster browsing speeds like 4G and 5G networks and the web browser you use.

How can I increase my iPhone data speed? ›

16 Ways to increase cellular data speed on iPhone
  1. Switch to LTE/4G or 5G. ...
  2. Turn off Background Apps Refresh. ...
  3. Turn off Low Data Mode. ...
  4. Disable automatic downloads and updates. ...
  5. Turn on/off Airplane mode. ...
  6. Restart your iPhone. ...
  7. Reset Network Settings. ...
  8. Update iOS.
Nov 11, 2022

What is draining my data? ›

Check Data Usage in Settings

Check to see which apps are using data. On many newer Android devices, you can go to “Settings” > “Data Usage” > “Cellular data usage“, then scroll down to see which apps are using the most data.

Do I want mobile data on or off? ›

Leave mobile data on and your battery will drain quicker than if it was off. There are a few reasons why this happens. First, your phone will be constantly searching for signal. If you're in an area with particularly poor signal, things only get worse, as your phone consumes more power while searching.


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