How to Check for a Carrier Settings Update on iPhone
From time to time, your cellular network provider or Apple may issue a carrier settings update to an iPhone or cellular iPad device. The carrier updates are usually very small and make adjustments or improvements to carrier specific settings pertaining to the cell network, data, personal hotspot, voicemail, text messaging, or making calls. While you may see a carrier update pop up randomly on your iPhone, or a request to install one during a general iOS update, you can also manually check for these carrier updates on your own at any time.
Check For & Install Cellular Carrier Settings Updates in iOS
Carrier updates are usually quick and fairly inconsequential, though it’s still good policy to backup your iPhone before attempting to install one. This works the same on any cellular equipped iOS device, whether an iPhone or iPad:
- Open the “Settings” app and go to “General”
- Tap on “About” and wait a moment at the about screen, if a update is available you will see a popup window that says “Carrier Settings Update : New settings are available. Would you like to update them now?” with ‘Not Now’ and ‘Update’ as the two available options, tap on “Update” to install the carrier settings update onto the iPhone
The carrier update screen looks something like this:
Installing the carrier update will make your cellular service cycle off for a moment and then back on, so you won’t want to try to install the update while you’re transferring data or in an important conversation, whether though a call, SMS, iMessage, or voice texting. Typically you do not need to reboot or restart an iPhone for any change to take effect or for the update to complete installation.
Though these are usually pushed and installed onto your iPhone when you update iOS, if you haven’t seen a carrier update in quite some time, it can be a good idea to check every once in a while to see if one is available.
Sometimes these carrier updates can even add new features to your iPhone, for example, a recent carrier settings update available to many iPhones on US cell providers offered the ability to change the data connection from LTE, 3G, or Edge, a feature that was made possible with an iOS update, but had to be specifically allowed by the carrier as well.
It’s important to note that these carrier updates are specific to each cellular and mobile plan provider, and those are completely different from the general iOS system software updates, which arrive from Apple. Sometimes when you install a new iOS software update, a carrier update is made available as well, and sometimes a carrier update comes on its own without a broader iOS system software update.