How to fix gray cell data problem on iPhone and iPad

How to fix gray cell data problem on iPhone and iPad

You usually use the Control Center on your iPhone to activate and deactivate cellular data. But what happens if the Cellular icon looks gray and you press it does nothing? We went through this and worked on a guide to fix the problem on the iPhone and iPad.

Yes, you can still visit the Settings app to enable or disable cellular data. But strangely, all of the individual cell controls for apps also appear greyed out and “ blocked ” in place. The same goes for the Wi-Fi Assist switch.

Do not worry. There is nothing wrong with your iPhone or iPad. Screen time restrictions are responsible for this, most of the time. So without further ado, let’s see how you can get things back to normal.

Disable cellular data restrictions

Screen Time on your iPhone and iPad allows you to impose a series of restrictions on various features, including cellular data. You’ve probably limited changes to cellular data – maybe before handing your device over to someone else – and then you’ve forgotten everything.

Restricting changes to cellular data locks many parameters in place. You can no longer use the Cellular icon in the Control Center to activate or deactivate cellular data. Individual cell controls – except for the master cellular data control – in the Settings application will not work. The Wi-Fi Assist toggle may also appear grayed out.

To resolve this issue, you must allow changes to cellular data by modifying the appropriate screen time restriction. If you have your iPhone or iPad, it’s pretty simple. But if you are using someone else’s device or if your device is part of a family sharing plan, you must ask permission from the owner or family organizer.

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Note: Screen time is available in iOS 12 and above. If your iPhone or iPad is running iOS 11 or earlier, you can still access the cellular data restrictions below by visiting iPhone / iPad Settings> General> Restrictions.

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Tap Screen time, then Content and privacy restrictions.

2nd step: Scroll down the Content and Privacy Restrictions screen at the very bottom. Follow by tapping Cellular data changes.

Step 3: Enter your Screen Time password. On the Cellular changes screen that appears next, tap Allow.

Step 4: Open the Control Center on your iPhone or iPad. The Cellular icon should no longer appear grayed out.

The same goes for individual cell scales in Settings> Cellular, as well as for Wi-Fi Assist control.

In case the Cellular icon always appears grayed out (and deactivated), check if the Airplane mode is activated – in this case, the Airplane icon in the Control Center should have a distinct orange color. Tap the icon to turn off airplane mode.

About MDM profiles

It is also likely that your iPhone or iPad has an MDM (Mobile Device Management) profile installed. Usually this is the case if the device was given to you by your employer or organization. MDM profiles can not only impose restrictions on cellular data, but they can also prevent you from removing those restrictions.

To check if an MDM profile is installed, go to Settings> General> Profiles and device management. If there is, press it to display the restrictions it imposes.

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Image courtesy of Apple

Do not delete the MDM profile yourself, as this may prevent various applications and features from working properly on your device. It is best to contact your employer or your organization’s IT department about this.

Back to action

Solving the issue of grayed-out cellular data on the iPhone and iPad is fairly simple now that you know the reason. But again, remember that you won’t be able to fix the problem yourself if you don’t have the iPhone or iPad, if you’re part of a family sharing plan, or if there is a MDM profile with cell data restrictions imposed. In this case, you have no choice but to contact the appropriate person to arrange things.


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Last updated on April 21, 2020


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