How I Fixed an iPhone that Couldn’t Get Mail Unless On WiFi

Updated October 3rd, 2020.

Does your iPhone get mail when it’s on WiFi, but not when it’s on Cellular? Here’s a fix for that problem. Hint: It has to do with the iPhone’s Cellular Data settings.

Executive Summary

Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data should be ONScroll down… Mail should be ON

(Thanks, John, for the “Executive Summary” idea.)

The Problem: Mail worked on WiFi, but not on cellular data

My friend Laura dropped her iPhone 6 and cracked the screen. She was going to get a new one, but decided to get the screen replaced and keep using it. Everything seemed fine after the repair.

But Then…

Laura called me (I’m her iPhone and Mac consultant) to say that her email wasn’t working on her iPhone. She kept getting messages like this one:

iOS 10 Cannot Send Mail message (because iPhone is not on WiFi)
Cannot Send Mail

I had her check the settings for Mail and they seemed fine. I tried setting up one of my spare iPhones with Laura’s email settings and I was able to send and receive from both of her accounts– obviously, if I could sign into her accounts, we knew the right settings. And since I was able to send and receive emails from both of her accounts, her email accounts were working fine.

I asked Laura to try sending me an email and to our surprise, it worked. She also received my reply. Problem over, or so we thought.

The next day, I got another call from Laura. “It’s not working,” she said. This time, I asked her where she was. “Florida,” she said (I was in California so I couldn’t fix her iPhone in person). She was on her way to a meeting. In the car. The funny things was, we both knew Mail worked perfectly yesterday.

I asked Laura, “Where were you yesterday, when your iPhone’s Mail worked?”

“In my hotel,” she said. “On their WiFi.” “Aha,” I thought. “Mail works over WiFi, but not on Verizon’s network. Something must be wrong with Cellular Data.” Maybe it was turned off. Laura checked (Settings/Cellular)– it was on.

Cellular Data in iOS-- ON
Cellular Data in iOS– ON

My next guess was that maybe there was something wrong with Laura’s account with Verizon. Maybe she was over her data limit. Laura checked into it– no problem.

A Brilliant Idea (that didn’t work)

Then I had a flash of inspiration. “Try going to web pages with Safari,” I said. My guess was that this would not work and that we would narrow our problem down to something wrong with the network connection (or maybe the antenna) when not on WiFi. But guess what? Safari worked just fine over cellular, in the car.

To recap: when on WiFi, Safari worked, and so did Mail. When on cellular, Safari worked, but Mail did not. We knew we had the right settings for Mail because the accounts worked fine when on WiFi. And we knew the cellular data antenna worked, because we could use Safari and load web pages when not on WiFi.

It wasn’t the phone itself

Laura went to a nearby Apple Store, told them her story, and they sold her a nice new iPhone 7, hoping it would solve her problem. She left the iPhone 7 in the box for me to set up upon her return to Los Angeles.

At this point, the old iPhone still didn’t work right. Actually, the only thing it had trouble with was Mail– the iPhone would not send nor receive email unless the iPhone was on WiFi. Everything else worked fine– Messages, phone calls, Weather, other apps.

The old iPhone was backed up to iCloud, so I set up the new one by restoring that backup to it. Restoring a backup to a new iPhone can be a very lengthy process, as this one was, but I had to wait it out to see if the new phone could get mail when not on WiFi. When the new iPhone was ready I tested sending and receiving email over WiFi, and it worked perfectly (as expected). Then I turned WiFi off and tried doing it over cellular– and it did NOT work.

Now I knew we had a software (or settings) problem, because the new iPhone (a clone of the old one, software-wise) had the exact symptom exhibited by the old iPhone. In effect I’d copied the problem to the new iPhone.

The Fix for the iPhone that wouldn’t get Mail over cellular

I looked at Cellular again. Yes, it was on. But this time, I scrolled down. This revealed a section of Cellular’s settings that I hadn’t looked at. It’s called “Use Cellular Data For:” and here’s how it looked (this is iOS 10– other versions may look a little different).

iOS Settings Use Cellular Data For
iOS Settings Use Cellular Data For

Scrolling down a little more I saw this:

Cellular Data OFF for Mail
Cellular Data OFF for Mail

I was very, very surprised to find that “Use Cellular Data For” was turned OFF for Mail! So many apps were allowed, but not Mail. Naturally I flipped the switch for Mail to “On” and the problem went away.

Note: if, for some reason, you turn “Use Cellular Data For” to OFF for Mail, you’ll get a big warning telling you your mail won’t work right if you do that. Apparently, with Laura’s iPhone, the warning was not shown, or not seen, or not understood– certainly not remembered.

UPDATE: in iOS 13, Mail’s settings include the Use Cellular Data switch. If you turn it on here, it turns it on in the “Cellular Data/Use Cellular Data For” section. One setting, in two places. Looks like this:

Mail settings in iOS 13, with Cellular Data on (yours should be on too!)
Mail settings in iOS 13, with Cellular Data on (yours should be on too!)

Summing it up

As usual, solving this problem started with figuring out what the problem was. We started out thinking the problem involved the iPhone settings for Laura’s email accounts, but that wasn’t it. Then we thought cellular data might be off– but we saw it was on. Then we thought it might be something wrong with the cellular antenna, but we were able to use Safari over cellular, so that wasn’t it either. Then we thought there might be something wrong with Laura’s account with the cellular carrier– but that wasn’t it (Verizon said so, and again we knew we could use Safari, and that uses the same cellular data as the Mail app).

Finally, having looked at the master switch for Cellular data a second time, we had the idea of scrolling down (on a Settings page that doesn’t look as if it has anything to scroll). I think it was just bad luck that the Cellular settings screen fit so perfectly on the iPhone 7– had it been cut off in the middle or something, we probably would have realized that there were more settings below and that we should scroll down to see them. Anyhow, once we saw the “Use Cellular Data For:” section, we zeroed in on the problem, and fixed it right away.

Sliding the switch to let Mail use cellular data was easy. The hard part was figuring out what the problem actually was. Sometimes it’s the other way around– easy problem to figure out, hard problem to correct. Here’s a story about a wrestling match I had with an iMac a few weeks ago (I won).

Bonus: here’s how to forward a voicemail message received on your iPhone.

Copyright 2008-2023 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

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250 thoughts on “How I Fixed an iPhone that Couldn’t Get Mail Unless On WiFi

Add yours

  1. I don’t know if you will ever see this, but THANK YOU! For almost a month, I’ve had the same problem. Tried everything. Was using the GMAIL app and just honestly don’t care for it. This solved my problem. Thank you!!

      1. Hi Christian,

        I have exactly the same problem but this one might test you a little more as it has me for about 3weeks…. unfortunately my cellular data for mail was turned on when I checked after seeing this post, I was really hoping it might have been that… have you got any thoughts / ideas on what to try?

        1. One idea: switch the cellular data for mail off, then shut the phone off, then turn the phone on, and then witch the cellular data for wifi back on.

          If that doesn’t work, email me and let’s discuss.

          1. Hi! I had the same problem as Simon. Mail was turned to ON under Cellular but still wouldn’t send over the network – only wifi.

            I turned cellular data for mail off, shut down phone, turned back on, turned cellular data for mail back on and “voila” – works perfectly.

            All per your suggestion above, so thanks for that!

          2. I was having issues with mail, text, and safari not connecting. Shut phone off without shutting all the apps of then back on, and it works fine now.

          3. Ive been dealing with this same issue for a month. My cellular data was on, but when I switched it off and reset the phone it started working again. THANK YOU!

      2. Well it still works better on wi fi but this fixed it for most of the time. Many thanks.

      3. I am a software engineer and though i was pretty sure i have turned on data for mail and after reading this post i thought no this is already turned on in my phone so this won’t solve my issue. But still i thought let’s check out out… And guess what.. yes it was turned off i was surprised how it could be. If i am not allowing data for certain app then it should show a different message.

        But thank you very much.. and a lesson learnt— don’t ever we should think we know all the things even though it could be a little silly thing but you never know and have over estimated yourself. One again thank you.

      4. I’m so grateful to you! I followed your advice and fixed my mail issue! I had the same problem and never turned cellular off for mail. I would have no idea how to do it to begin with! Thank you so much!

          1. Hi Have the same problem. Email server error with BT. Checked Mail is on, did the on/off after switching phone off. Can pick emails via BT Mail? Problem started whilst in Europe. No problem when on WiFi. No problem when using iPad via phone personal hotspot????

          2. It sounds as if it is “network related.” I would bet that it has to do with security stuff. There are too many unknowns here for me to say specifically “do this” but in general, if you are having trouble with mail on an iPhone, first make sure the phone’s software is up to date. Then, in the settings, if you see “SSL On” try turning it off. And vice versa. Let me know how it goes. It is interesting that your iPad works via the iPhone’s personal hotspot, but the iPhone itself doesn’t. Naturally it makes sense to compare the settings (Passwords & Accounts, in Settings) on the two devices.

        1. You’ve been a huge help Christian. I had the issue with my email for last three months. Thanks heaps 👍🏼

    1. Why did I not know this? I’m sure this will fix my phone. I went through the same thing as you did I even got a new phone, then I got a new Sim card and still have the problem no dear Apple new one it was. I’m convinced it’s going to work now thank you so much, I’ve been stuck in this for years, just saying to people I can’t get emails when I’m out only when I’m at home on my Wi-Fi.

  2. Thank you Christian. It turned out i didn’t have Mail turned off to use cellular data but I had ‘Watch’ turned off. Turned watch back on and voila fixed!! I have been pulling my hair out for days over this. Thanks again

  3. Thank you so much. Had same problem for 6 weeks. Like most complicated problems the solution is way simpler that what we were looking for.

  4. I have asked tech guys who do this for a living and my months-long problem just went away with a simple google search. Thank you!!!

  5. Christian,
    Thank you so much for such a great post, along with the pictures of the screen. It was very helpful and you have provided a wonderful service for many. Easy fix, if you know where to look.

  6. Fantastic advice . Exact same problem & i have now been able to get emails. Thank you so much for your help

  7. Another desperate user saved! Thanks so much for your skills, clear step-by-step explanation and generosity in sharing with the rest of the world.

  8. Christian!

    YOU MADE MY WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have been looking for this for months! I was going crazy!
    Thank you so so so much.


  9. Thank you! I had the same problem today, googled “my phone can get email on wifi but not with cellular data” and your article came up!

  10. Thank you!!!! This fix was exactly what I was looking for, and it was driving me nuts. Buried down in the UI, never even thought to scroll down once…

    1. I had exactly the same experience– I never thought to scroll down because what I saw of “Cellular” settings fit perfectly on my iPhone’s screen– and of course there are no scroll bars on the iPhone to indicate that there’s something to scroll! Glad I could help you.

  11. You are brilliant! our dept IT person couldn’t fix the problem. Why didn’t I think to google the problem sooner. Gah! THANK YOU!!

  12. Thank you for doing all the hard work for us! I am part of the growing populace that troubleshoot with the “Google/Youtube first, use brain second” mantra. Nice to see folks out there still doing it the old fashioned way! Thanks a million. Fixed my co-workers phone in just a couple of clicks. Now he thinks I am a sorcerer or something.

  13. Thank you thank you thank you! I went to the Apple store, but they couldn’t help!!!, but reading this solved this old problem i 5 minuts (I should have googled before !)
    Greetings Frank

  14. Hi! I work tech care and had a customer with this same issue, and it resolved it perfectly, thank you!

  15. Add me to the list. I’ve had this problem since getting my phone in Dec. I feel a bit stupid for not going to the store sooner but i just dealt with it. Thank you!

  16. Add me to the list. I’ve had this problem since getting my phone in Dec. I feel a bit stupid for not going to the store sooner but i just dealt with it. Thank you!

  17. My problem is that mail, Gmail, Hangouts doesn’t even show up in the list as an option to turn off or on cellular data used for.

  18. Same problem, similar solution. I checked my settings, and Mail was on. Turned it off and on again. Sorted

  19. Thanks for the help, didn’t know what to do….

    The most surprising part of the story is when your friend Laura goes to the Apple Store and instead of telling her how to solve the problem, the sell her a brand new iPhone 7…. seriously?

  20. Two years and several apple stores later I had completely given up. Thank you SO much for this information, it immediately fixed the problem. The biggest problem with taking it to an Apple Store was they all have wifi so it was always working fine when I brought it to them ?– Finally!!

    1. That part about all of the Apple Stores having WiFi, so the phone always worked– it would be funny, except for all the trouble. Glad you have it working now! Tell a friend.

  21. Thank you so much! I was not able to read work emails and was getting desperate!

    One thought on how the switch got turned off — my family has a very limited data plan, and I vaguely remember a few years ago scrolling through the cellular data settings and turning off data for apps that I rarely use but didn’t want to/was unable to completely delete. At that time, I wasn’t using the Mail app for work, so when I started a new job recently and thus started using the Mail app, I had forgotten about changing my settings so long ago until I read this post.

    1. What can I say but thank you. I have been struggling to work out what was wrong with my email for months, Google’s and found this post. Email now fixed, cheers xx

      1. Thank you so much !!!! I have had this problem for over a year and finally took it to a Bell store as I have Bell email. They spent over an hour trying to fix this to no avail. I googled the problem and it was fixed in two minutes after I read your solution.

  22. This happened last week to 4 of my firm’s Iphone users, no warning, nothing, just stopped. I did check that setting and the mail was ON. We still have not resolved the issue and multiple IT people cannot solve it. I have deleted accounts, reset network settings, added account back on to no avail. My personal Samsung has had no problem and never lost exchange, it’s only the Iphone peeps. We thought it might be a certificate problem and even changed that, still doesn’t work. I can sometimes bring up our mail OWA setting on their Safari and think the problem is solved, go to add the account and no dice, or it adds but won’t hold. Everyone has Verizon as the carrier, no changed made to our Exchange . . . some simple setting has flummoxed the whole thing and I have lost days of work, frustrated much, yes!

      1. Yep, when Wi-Fi on everything catches up, on cellular, notta. Seems to be am issue with our go daddy certificate, but go daddy has verified it. Also used other cell providers like sprint and there was no problem, instant over cellular. It seems to be a Verizon issue but customer service just says to install outlook app. Ps, my Samsung has had no issues which is also weird if it’s a certificate issue.

        1. Very interesting and it sounds as if you’ve narrowed it down to Verizon not connecting properly to GoDaddy’s server. You’re able to browse websites when on Verizon, yes?

          1. Yes, we can browse websites, but does it make sense that it is a certificate problem when my Samsung connects through Verizon cellular and the IPhones won’t? That is my stumbling block on this . . .

          2. Hmmm. That’s hard to make sense of. One difference is you’re not using Apple’s Mail app on the Samsung. When you set up the accounts on the iPhones, do you get any sort of verification (check marks) showing that it’s all OK? I don’t doubt that you know the right settings. I just wonder whether it gets verified.

            I would try deleting the account from the iPhone, TURNING OFF WiFi on the iPhone, then adding the account again, so the whole thing has to get verified over Verizon’s service. Let’s see what happens.

          3. Yes, I get the verification checked off – BUT ONLY when I do it through WiFi – it won’t do it through cellular when WiFi is off. I have multiple times on different Iphones with different versions completely deleted accounts, reset network settings, turned back on, left wifi off and added exchange account back on – won’t connect, turn on wifi and it verifies and connects. So, great as long as my attorneys are somewhere wifi is available, but when they are on the road, meeting at a courthouse, meeting witnesses at a scene, they cannot communicate via email with no wifi. It’s becoming a huge problem! All out of the blue last week (while I was on vacation, of course!).

          4. That’s not good news but it’s what I was expecting. If you can get the account to verify when setting up while on cellular, you’re in business. Wild guess: turn SSL off?

  23. I have a similar problem except my personal yahoo and gmail works on both wifi and cellular but my exchange only works on wifi. Any help?

    1. I think this might be a certificate problem. Obviously the certificate isn’t the whole problem, because it works over WiFi. But something about the certificate/cellular combination could be it. Who hosts your email, and who is the cell phone service provider? Would be interesting if it’s GoDaddy and Verizon (see below).

      1. Our latest thought and we are getting ready to implement it now is that with the IOS update to Iphones last week and Verizon’s general weirdness and updates lately, that the Iphone requires a newer encryption protocol that the Androids do not. We do not have the newer encryption protocol on our server, so we are getting ready to load that on and then we will see. It makes sense as far as how our Android phones were fine and the Iphones were not. I’ll let you know how it goes!

          1. While adding the newer encryption protocol file on the server, we noticed the IP 6 address was filled in and it should not be – – it was either corrupted by something or something had forced an IP address in, hard to say. Anyway between deleting that and the file update I am happy to say everything is working. A week+ of frustration and loss of productivity but what can you say, it’s an art, not a science.

  24. thank you! was just about to go on a camping trip and was flipping out. you have checked off a huge box on my to do list and peace of mind.

    1. That’s so great! I am really glad to hear that I helped you out. Whenever I run into something really weird and challenging I try to write it up so the next person doesn’t have to struggle as I did… Looks as if I did something good with this article!

  25. Same here, ipad of a co-worker, worked fine for 6 weeks , until the error.
    Removing and reinstall account, it did accept the Exchange account settings, and even the tree with maps showed up, but no mails. Only the error”The Connection to the Server Failed”.
    On my test ipad (both on IOS 10.3.2) switching off the mail in mobile data led to warnings and errors in the mail app. On his device it did not.
    For the record, our mail settings are pushed with Sophos MDM.

      1. I gave AT&T a call first… to find out that they never added the data plan to my line. Now it works outside of wi-fi range. Will take the phone with me to work to test it some more…

  26. You legend – same problem here, was completely stumped. This was exactly the problem.

    FWIW – genuinely don’t think I switched this off myself, there might be a bug that sets this to off incorrectly.

    1. I think you’re right. I don’t think anyone is going to the Cellular Data section and switching it off for Mail. I can see deliberately switching it off completely, but not just for Mail. It would be hard to do by accident, due to the control itself being way down the list of apps with a cellular data on-off switch.

  27. So great to find this post, there don’t seem to be many / any other articles covering this.
    Unfortunately me and my colleagues are facing the same problem as a few above, where our iPhones all started rejecting Mail over WiFi a few weeks ago. Definitely isn’t the Mobile Data switch issue – seems to be something to do with a certificate?

    The annoying thing is, my email hosting service told me it wasn’t their issue so to speak to the mobile service provider, and my mobile service provider said it wasn’t their issue and to speak to the email hosting service! ?

    Unfortunately I’m on a VirginMobile plan in Australia, but sounds like the same issue. Any help is MUCH appreciated, it’s not too often a problem like this completely stumps me.

    1. I can’t be sure of this but it might be a security patch that needs to be applied to an Exchange server. See the comments below– we had one person who deleted her email account from the iPhone, set it up again, and it would verify if she was on WiFi, but not if she was on cellular. She fortunately was able to get the server people to apply the latest MS Exchange patch, and the problem went away.

  28. This was so helpful. I had done everything on your list repeatedly since April… in addition to checking IMAP setting on gmail account via email. Today after reading your article, I realized that when I switched Cellular Data back on after international travel, and made sure GMAIL was on too (the Google app in the G part of the list of course), I neglected to make sure MAIL was on as well (meaning the native Apple app in the M part of the list). So many little details, so many little settings to miss. Thank you thank you thank you. I feel like I have one of my favorite arrows newly sharp and back in the quiver.

  29. THANKS!! I have been wondering too! I have to wonder if some software update turned it off. I don’t remember doing it. It had worked fine for years and then just stopped!!

    1. You’re welcome! I don’t think ANYONE remembers turning it off. Something must be triggering that– an update, maybe some sort of crash. Maybe it’s on purpose– when running out of battery? When running out of data? I would love to know what does it. At least we know how to fix it.

  30. so very very helpful!!!! My suggestion however would be to just include bullet points of the solution eg settings>cellular/mobile>use mobile data for>mail (slide on) just for brevity.

    Again very helpful!

  31. Thank you so much! I went into my phone store today and they couldn’t find anything wrong with my phone! So they are certainly not experts!! Thank you again!

  32. I CANNOT tell you thank you enough for posting this! I did the same thing, got a new phone and nothing changed. I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled my email so many times. Google solutions and nothing. Finally o found this article. Thank you thank you thank you! I’ve been struggling with this for over a year ?

  33. Wow! Thank you so much. This has been bugging me for months. Such a simple fix. I guess sometimes we overlook the simple settings! Thanks again.

  34. I have been fighting this exact problem and tried pretty much everything you described EXCEPT I did not know about the Use Data For settings. That worked! This article was so helpful, thank you for sharing what you found!

  35. Was so hoping this was my problem as I am having the same issues. Checked, but both mail and outlook are on under cellular data, yet, cannot receive emails unless connected to wifi.

  36. I had similar; even though Safari (on my phone) connected to iCloud etc., using cellular data, it (my phone) would not connect to iCloud using cellular data. (Couldn’t urn off Find my Phone etc.) Interestingly, though, it could connect to Weird, Huh!
    When I scrolled down I found that many were turned off. I turned them all on, and Voila!! I’ll go through them now and sort out the culprit which prohibited access to iCloud via cellular data.
    Thanks mate.

  37. Thanks for the info dude !!! This has been driving me crazy for months !!! And you showed me how to fix it pronto !!!! You rule !!!!

  38. Had this issue from an iphone 6s to a 7 and gave up a year ago. Just got the new 10 and the problem of course followed with the restore from icloud. We spent hours and hours trying to figure this out and many google searches. Out of desperation tonight, i did one last search and came across this article. Years of issue was literally fixed in seconds. Thank you!!!!!

  39. Thanks for your post.
    I had the same problem and looked at correct location however I missed the disabled mail button.
    Thanks to you I looked more carefully into the cellular section and found it.

  40. Omg thank you !!!!!
    I have had this issue for a year and no one could help with it.
    Thank you for going to the effort to put this up to help others bless you

  41. Had this problem for like a year and didn’t seriously try to fix it because I could use it over WiFi..the fact those menus exist and I’ve never looked at them made me wonder what I don’t know what my iPhone does – remembered I recently watched Steve jobs’ pitch for the original iPhone unveiling nd actually discovered stuff my iPhone does I didn’t know about – crazy! – anyway thanks for your solution, it’s 04:51am here in the UK, I got up especially for this and the fact you helped me solve this so easily has made my night (and morning!)

  42. Had this problem for like a year and didn’t seriously try to fix it because I could use it over WiFi..the fact those menus exist and I’ve never looked at them made me wonder what I don’t know what my iPhone does – remembered I recently watched Steve jobs’ pitch for the original iPhone unveiling nd actually discovered stuff my iPhone does I didn’t know about – crazy! – anyway thanks for your solution, it’s 04:51am here in the UK, I got up especially for this and the fact you helped me solve this so easily has made my night (and morning!)
    PS Your article’s now fourth or fifth down on the google search “mail app iOS not working over network connection” haha

  43. I wish my problem was this easy to fix! Emails sometimes send over cellular data, sometimes they don’t. Other apps work fine. Switching to airplane mode and back again doesn’t help, but switching the phone off an on again does work (as does getting some Wifi)

    I tried a different email app a while ago and it didn’t seem to suffer from the same problem, but I didn’t use it for long enough to be sure (it was one of those apps which tries to organise your email for you, which I find really annoying)

  44. I’m so impressed that this worked for so many people – but disappointed that it didn’t work for me!

    I’ve checked the settings and the mail toggle is green. I’ve also tried switching it off, turning the phone off and on again, and then turning the mail toggle back on – and I still can#t get email on mobile data (the UK translation of cellular!)
    It’s bizarre – any clues?

    1. I’m guessing that your phone can do things like load web pages when on mobile data. Yes? Someone wrote here that iCloud Drive had to be turned on– that’s a big surprise to me– but you might try it. I can’t see how it would work, but for someone it did. Interesting that your address is hotmail– I wonder if that’s a factor. Maybe it’s a security issue, in which case you might be able to fix it by going to and changing the settings to allow less-secure apps (if that’s an option). Let me know.

      1. I originally fixed this problem with your suggestion of turning off cellular – mail, turning off phone, turning phone back on and turning cellular back on for mail. That worked for a while, but I recently installed iOS 12.1.2 and discovered this evening that my mail no longer worked on Verizon cellular. So I went back to your thread and followed it down to this post – and turned on iCloud Drive! My mail now works on cellular as well as wifi.
        Thank you!

  45. Thank you! You told my story too.I literally had this same problem with my iPhone 6splus. I could not send email unless I was on WiFi, thinking I fixed it from home, cracking the screen, not being able to send emails from Florida, checking all the settings. I spent so much time trying to learn about SMPT settings because this appeared to be the issue. Your writing is clear and helpful. Your recap at the end was the icing on the cake.

  46. The same thing just happened to me. I have no idea how this happened, but I nearly wiped my phone, I was so frustrated. I hope others find this and it helps them out too!

  47. Thanks so much Christian for your selfless work troubleshooting this issue for all of us. So simple but so tricky to track down!
    And I dont agree with the guy who said you should just summarise the procedure (which I see you did later under ‘executive summary’). For me the narrative was gripping….I kept praying the issue was indeed exactly the same problem that I was facing, and then reflecting on your process(es) of elimination until you found the culprit. You showed us that one must be calm and rational and go eliminating the possible causes and, most of all, be patient. You ended up backing the whole thing to another phone (must have taken hours) only to discover the problem still existed. That must have been very frustrating to your friend who had bought a new iphone but it proved that the problem was in the software. Ace !

  48. Thank you Christian!

    I’ve been dealing with this for over a year and just accepted it as fact!

    Then today I decided to google it and now it’s fixed!

    Thanks again!


  49. Christian you are a genius ! So simple I can’t believe it I have been fobbed off as a nutter by apple, my phone provider etc etc
    I have sat up for nights restoring to old back ups and Christian you saved me from a world of pain
    Can’t thank you enough !

  50. Interesting. Found that button. Turned it on and off, did a complete reset of the phone, re-provisioned it from the cellular provider (rogers) and still nothing. here is the catch. Wifes Samsung can send email with the same smtp server settings on Rogers cellular network. The 5 iphones at work will not work. They ALL work on Wifi flawlessly. So it is only Iphones and only when using cellular to SEND. (can receive just fine). So it is either an iPhone problem or a problem specific to the cellular account that the iphones are connected. But reprovisioning the phone should have fixed that. It is not a rogers problem in general as the wifes phone works on rogers with the same SMTP settings. I can send other types of email. I tried turning on Icloud drive. This does not work. not sure how that would anyways.

    interesting thing however….. the phones that don’t work, if one sets up a hotspot, all the other phones can send email through the hotspot. Even though ultimately it is going over the same cellular network.

  51. THANK YOU!! Had the same problem, Christian, until I found this site. As far as I could find, the T-Mobile (carrier) website doesn’t suggest trying this very simple solution. And Apple store staff suggested a much more complicated (and misguided) approach. I have no idea how cellular service for email would have gotten turned off (and I’m quite sure I would have remembered a warning), but a test email suggests that I’m back in business. Thanks again.

    1. That’s awesome! I wonder how that setting gets switched off. No one would do it intentionally and none of the people who have had this problem remember switching it off. It’s not easy to turn off by mistake, that’s for sure. Glad things are working for you again!

  52. Dear Christian,

    I do appreciate for your such kind information and explaining everything step by step:) I hope the life and whole your loved ones will be as generous as you are to you. Wish you a pleasant day buddy.

  53. Hi Christian,

    This is my first time visit to your blog. Really loved the tutorials your are sharing here to solve our day to day iPhone and Mac related issues. Specially loved this mail related one!

    Keep it up.

    You did such an awesome job of explaining everything step by step! I was literally tearing my hair out in frustration for the past week. I had indeed checked to make sure that cellular data for gmail was turned on; as a matter of fact I had checked it a number of times. What I did not realize till I read your article is that I somehow had a gmail app (which I must have downloaded from the app store at some point in time but I never ever use so I don’t even look at it and did not even remember it was there) and a simple mail app which came with my iPhone and which is the one I use and where all my mail normally comes. When I was checking to make sure that the mail was ON for cellular data, what I was seeing was the gmail app which was ON. Upon reading your article, I scrolled down further all the way to letter M and BINGO !!! Cellular data for MAIL which is the one I use was indeed OFF. I turned it off, disconnected from wifi, sent myself a trial email and within seconds had a BIG SMILE ON MY FACE :)))
    Million thanks for explaining everything in detail and urging me to scroll down further and see what else might be there that I should pay attention to.
    A huge thanks to you :)))

  55. Than you so much!! CANNOT believe I never checked there! I knew those settings were there & I even knew Mail was only not working on WiFi! ??‍♀️

  56. thanks a lot. i set up a new mail for one of our managers and it failed to download anything. took me a while to notice it would start syncing when i turned on wifi and then your guide helped me fix the rest of the problem. at first i thought it was a new policy for on-premise-only mail sync ( had that on another job) .

    I Guess it’s one of the failsaves for people with huge mailboxes. (even tho mail app already has that in place by downloading only the last month of mail)

  57. My phone did the same thing – switched off cellular data access for mail, seemingly on its own – I’m a power user and would have noticed the warning and/or the intended switch, but no such thing occurred!

    After several outings with no mail, I did a quick search and found your article with its quick fix and now it works again!

    Your article has saved me time, effort, and surely frustration with Store salespeople/”techs”. SOOOO glad I found it!! 🙂

  58. Thank you for posting this! I was finding it impossible to work remotely, having to send urgent work emails from my personal account whenever I was out of my office. Now I’ll share this with the others in my office who have the problem too. Made my day!

  59. I’ve spoken to Apple, my network provider and Google trying to get this working. I have googled and search twitter for countless hours for the last 2 days. your pos has saved my sanity. thank you

      1. Having same issue. I tried all of the fixes mentioned with no luck. I have iPhone 6, Charter email, and T Mobile. Everything works fine with gmail accounts but not Charter Spectrum.

        1. Interesting. I would start by making sure I had the settings right for the Charter account. Apple has a nice site where you can look things up: According to that site, the servers for incoming and outgoing mail will both be The account should be set up as IMAP. Username is your entire email address. Incoming port is 993 (SSL ON) and outgoing port is 587 (SSL ON). You need to set “authentication” to “Password” for your incoming AND outgoing mail– look in the “advanced” part of the settings for the account for the incoming part. For outgoing, you have to tap where it says “OUTGOING MAIL SERVER” and then “PRIMARY SERVER.” Most important: set it up as IMAP to begin with.

          1. Charter was adamant that both servers need to be I spoke to a Apple tech on 3/20/2019 and even he told me that is correct setting . What may have changed is a mystery to me. My phone as well as my wife’s phone was set to and working fine up until about a month ago. I’ll give setting another try and let you know. Thanks…

          2. There’s more to it than just the server names. There are port numbers, and there’s SSL. When you set up the account on your iPhone you’ll get green check marks down the right hand side if everything is right. Another thing: see if things work when you’re on WiFi (turn off the cellular antenna temporarily). You can do that from the Control Center (swipe up from the bottom of iPhone).

  60. I did get the check marks and the ports are correct as well as the SSL setting. It does work on wifi. Still not working on cellular data.

    1. I wonder what happens if you turn off WiFi, so you’re on cellular for sure, before you try to set up the account. Do you get check marks then? I would bet “not.” Let’s see!

      1. If I try to set up on cellular data it will not verify the account. So you are correct, no check marks.

        1. Well, that’s good, it shows we know what is going on. But it doesn’t tell us what to do. Remind me: what’s your email address look like? I don’t need to know all of it, just the part after the “@.” Is it “”? Just let me know. I will try to set up an account that is similar, so I can see how it goes here.

  61. Here is a variation on this theme: I have a gmail account, and an alias address that comes in through gmail. As of this morning, the alias email address won’t send or receive except over WiFi. The regular gmail account works fine over cellular or WiFi. Cellular is turned on for Mail. I toggled it off, turned off the phone, turned the phone back on, and toggled it on – still not working. Clearly, it’s not the same problem as the one addressed here, as my regular gmail account is working fine. Any thoughts on what this could be?

  62. Well, the problem seems to have gone away. It lasted about 24 hours, and then fixed itself. Not sure why. I will say that having a gmail alias on an iPhone has been problematic in many ways – this is just the latest. It does seem to be working now, though!

    Thanks so much for getting back to me.

  63. Came across this as my emails stopped working over cellular and worked only under wifi, tried your fix, but still not working. Any thoughts? Should I reinstall my email accounts?

    1. If your mail accounts work on WiFi it seems they’re set up properly, so reinstalling seems unnecessary. Can you do other internet things over cellular— browse web pages, for example? Hi

  64. Hi Christian, am experiencing a similar problem my iphone 7plus recently not sending out emails, receiving is fine on both wifi and cellular data. I reset network settings and suddenly it was sending out again for a few days on wifi and data. Then it stopped sending out again. I reset network settings and it started working again on data but not on wifi and if I switched between the two it doesn’t send out on data anymore. Am perplexed by this. Have a 100mbps fiber connection on wifi and no issues with router on desktop, webmail working fine on desktop so am thinking its a phone issue. Look forward to your thoughts. Thanks.

    1. Very interesting. Let me see whether I’m understanding this correctly: you turn off WiFi, so you know you’re on the cellular data, and you can’t send. And, you turn off cellular, but turn back on the WiFi, and it still won’t send. But, if you reset network settings (no fun) it might work for a little bit. is that right?

  65. Let me add my thanks too. I could never understand why Mail only worked when on WiFi but the signal was great & Speedtest reported very healthy data rates. Finally I looked under Mobile Data – scrolled down & found that of all my dozens of Apps only Mail was switched off. I definitely never switched it off. I suspect it’s some iOS update that did it as it worked until a few months ago.
    Once again thanks for the pointer.

    1. Isn’t it mysterious? I think it’s an update too, but we’ve been seeing this for a long time now so that would mean many updates have this problem. Hmmm. Glad I could help you, it’s such a shock when you see the cellular data switched off for Mail (and only Mail). Tell a friend!

  66. Merci beaucoup all the way from France! I have had this very frustrating problem for months and have been repeatedly deleting and re-installing my mail accounts but to no avail. The more cynical amongst us may think that it could have arisen following a software update to encourage the purchase of a newer iPhone – but I couldn’t possibly comment!

  67. Having this issue started November 2020 with no updates on iPhone. Happening with many co workers. Email works on wifi, connection error to server on cellular data, mail is on cel-data. Issue on multiple models, Apple and android too, baffling. I’m wondering if the mobile network is doing Dns lookups proper.

  68. Hello, gee, I was so excited to find what looked like a simple fix for a maddening issue. I can receive email via both cellular and WiFi but can only send via WiFi on both my iPhone X and iPad. I’ve checked the mail cell data on both every which way, turned both on and off again, nothing. My email address concludes “”. Any ideas would be so appreciated. Thank you.

  69. THANK YOU! I called Apple twice; spoke to two people for almost three hours total and they couldn’t fix my issue. Then I googled my issue of only getting new emails when on wifi and read your article. I did what you suggested, then walked outside and around the corner and was able to get my emails. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

  70. Hello!

    Worked for me! Glad I’m not the only one and soooo happy i found this article. Thank you so much for posting and commenting. Helps non-tech savvy people like myself.

  71. Hey Christian.. what a relief i came across your blog.. Yes that was the exact setting which fixed my problem !! Thank a ton..

  72. THANKYOU! I’d looked everywhere and this was the solution! Even the Apple store didn’t know ! I think a recent iphone update must have clilcked it off as I hadn’t changed any settings. Sir, you are a lifesaver !

  73. I have had this issue and my wife has the same. Mine started a month ago, while hers has persisted for nearly a year! Mine’s an iPhone14 MAX and hers is an iPhone 12 mini. T-Mobile service. No resolution still, after months! Neither Apple, nor T-Mobile can fix it and they just suggest a new phone, which I doubt will resolve it.

    1. So weird. Wild guess: in Settings/Cellular/Cellular Data, look for “Limit IP Address Tracking.” I’m betting it’s turned on. Turn it off and see what happens.

  74. Christian, thanks, I tried that as well, but it didn’t help. Shockingly, after I went to T-Mobile settings, and disabled a content filter (family filter) we could instantly send/receive emails on the tower signal! Previously, this could only be accomplished with a WIFI connection, including even using someone’s hotspot.

  75. This has been bugging me for months. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I guess the times it worked I must have been picking up wifi from somewhere while outside. This worked!

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