Did you just update your iPhone 7 only to find it now says “no service”? Welcome to the club, we’ve got good news and bad news.
The Good News: This issue is caused by a manufacturing defect and Apple has taken responsibility for it by offering a free repair program.
The Bad News:
The program only covers your iPhone 7 for 3 years after the purchase date. Most iPhone 7’s were purchased in 2016/2017 which means that 3 year window has already expired for many iPhone 7 owners.
UPDATE! As of March 2020 Apple has extended this program to cover your iPhone 7 for 4 years after the purchase date instead of 3 years. Affected devices were purchased between September 2016 & February 2018. That means this free program will begin to expire for some iPhone 7’s starting in September of 2020. Take advantage of this extension and get your iPhone 7 repaired ASAP.
Why Does My iPhone 7 Say “No Service”?
Apple claims that a “small percentage” of iPhone 7’s will display “no service” due to a failed component on the logic board. The component they’re referring to is the baseband ic chip which allows your iPhone 7 to communicate with wireless networks. This component may fail at any time, but most commonly it happens during a software update / restore. In our experience, this “small percentage” is more in the 10% range which adds up to hundreds of thousands of iPhone 7’s with no service.
Best Option – Apple’s Free Repair Program.
To qualify, your iPhone 7 needs to fit these 3 qualifications:
1: Your iPhone 7 is a model A1660. The A1660 is the only USA model covered, if you have an A1778 version Apple won’t be able to help. The model number is written on the back of your iPhone 7.
2: It needs to say “no service” all the time. If your iPhone 7 just gets poor service or only says “no service” in areas with bad cellular coverage it does not have this baseband issue and won’t qualify for repair.
3: Your iPhone 7 must have been purchased within the last 4 years of today’s date. Check your purchase receipt for this date.
If your iPhone 7 fits all 3 of these Apple will repair it for free, provided there’s no other damage to the device. This free program is a mail-in only service which means you cannot walk into an Apple store and get it repaired the same day. You can bring it to an Apple store and they’ll mail it for you but the more convenient option is to have Apple ship you a box and shipping label that you can put the iPhone in and then ship it yourself. The turn-around time for the repair is usually only a day or two and they’ll overnight the shipping both ways.
If Apple Won’t Fix Your iPhone
Try a 3rd party repair
You’re very unlikely to find any local repair shops that will fix the iPhone 7 “no service” for you. It’s a specialized repair that requires a lot of training and expertise to perform. If you do find someone to fix it locally it’s likely going to cost you well over $100.
The better bet may be going on ebay and mailing it to a business that specializes in performing that specific repair. Just go to ebay and search for “iPhone 7 no service”. You’ll see many businesses offering this repair service, most of them in the $70 – $100 range. Be warned though, the quality of this repair will vary greatly depending on the repair technician and the issue may return again if the repair isn’t performed correctly. Some companies may “reflow” the defective chip, which is only a temporary fix. Make sure to check customer reviews before sending off your phone to one of these companies and use common sense to avoid getting scammed.
Realistically: Just buy another iPhone
If Apple isn’t going to repair your “no service” issue the easiest way to move on with your life is to just buy another iPhone.
You can buy another iPhone 7 on ebay or backmarket for about $100-$150 as of the time this article was written. If you go this route, make sure you don’t just throw away your broken, no service iPhone 7. You can sell it to websites like GadgetGone and get some cash for it, more importantly it will be responsibly recycled instead of ending up in a landfill. If you do decide to sell it, be sure to select the “broken” condition category to avoid being re-quoted and delaying the turn-around time.