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What is ‘Carrier Settings Update’ on iPhone? How to Update


If you open the support site of Apple, you will see the definition of carrier settings update as small files that consist of updates from Apple. They also include updates related to your carrier settings such as cellular data, network, messaging, voicemail, hotspot and so on.

What is a “Carrier Settings Update”

Carrier settings update handle everything linked to your iPhone and conveys to your network about the related services. Carrier settings update are important for the addition of new features or enhancing that of the old ones.

This includes supporting upgrades, voice-over-LTE, and so on. Carrier settings update is also essential for fixing certain problems. For example, a certain iPhone 5 handset was found to be using cellular data when its WiFi network was still switched on.

Later on, the carrier settings update spotted a bug that was responsible for this malfunction. Carrier settings update also occur when there is a swapping of SIM cards. If you plan to use the network of T-Mobile instead of AT&T on your iPhone, you will need a carrier settings update.

carrier settings update

This will enable you to use the new service provider. If you plan to go abroad, you can use these updates on a local SIM and save money. Due to the size of these updates in major upgrades of systems, they are usually not very time consuming. 

Why did you receive a “Carrier Settings Update” notification

If you are wondering why, you have received a notification regarding carrier settings update, then it is because of Apple’s internal mechanism.

  • Apple is merely alerting you about the changes that have been made to your device.
  • These changes are related to how your device connects to the network of your wireless carrier.

The carrier settings update notification is usually more of an iPhone feature compared to other Apple devices. There are similar changes in non-Apple as well as Android devices as well. However, Google and Microsoft usually incorporate such changes in very general software updates.

How is carrier settings update put out and delivered?

Carrier settings update may incorporate changes from Apple or its partners such as AT&T and Verizon or one that combines both.

When you receive a notification of such an update either on your iPad or iPhone, you are supposed to download and install it wirelessly.

You might also receive a message when you connect your iPhone to your PC or laptop with the help of a flash drive. Sometimes, there can be problems with network issues pertaining to, say your voicemail.

In that case, you can check whether or not you have skipped a pending carrier settings update.

What kind of change is happening via the carrier settings update?

All iPhone users are curious regarding the kind of change that is being brought about by the carrier settings update on the device. At the same time, Apple has ensured that users don’t find that out very easily.

In fact, there is no third-party app that one can download from App Store for the same purpose. There are certain cases though wherein the network provider shares certain details with their customer. On other occasions, the carrier can inform the user via the website even though this involves going through plenty of support pages.

If both the above methods don’t work, you may conduct a Google search leading you to specific information about Apple. Regardless of the size of the update, it is usually more advantageous to have the changes spelled out from the beginning. 

Are the carrier settings update safe?

A general answer to the above question is Yes. The carrier settings update is in fact safe from any kind of potential harm. This is because the iOS mobile operating system of Apple is protected (although not completely immune) to almost all viruses and malware.

As opposed to that, Android devices are not that safe. At the same time, it is wise to look out for any update that may seem to be problematic. One way of spotting such fishy updates is noticing their spellings.

You must always consider the potential of an update to impact your device negatively and compromise its performance.

There have been instances when the iOS updates had caused such problems for the iPhone. And yet, carrier settings update has not caused a huge issue and have always fixed the problem.

Are Carrier Settings Updates important?

Yes, carrier settings update is necessary in an iPhone because of the following reasons.

  • It changes the way in which your device interfaces with its carrier. These changes can be triggered for a variety of reasons.
  • It may be that the updates have enabled the iPhones to experience more efficient connections with the network.
  • It may also introduce capabilities such as WiFi calling or fix glitches and bugs causing trouble.

The bottom line is that if you do not accept the carrier settings update, it is your loss as you won’t get a chance to improve your device. A notification to update the carrier settings may also come when you change your SIM card.

How to update carrier settings?

Updating the carrier settings on iPhone is no different from click on the Update option when you receive a carrier settings update notification. As opposed to other updates, you will not have to reboot your iPhone so that the changes are reflected better.

As discussed previously, these updates are really small and are very less time-consuming than others.

But if you choose to tap the other option, that is “Not Now” instead of Update, the same notification will popup within a day or two.

how to update carrier settings

How to update carrier settings manually?

Installing a carrier settings update does not take more than a minute to finish. In fact, you can use your iPhone at the same time it is getting updated. The steps to follow to install the updates are discussed below:

  • Connect your device to your cellular network or WiFi.
  • Open Settings, followed by General and then About.
  • Follow instructions on your screen and install the update.

Inserting a new SIM card in your device will require you to download carrier settings. To see which version of the settings has been installed in your iPhone, follow the second step as discussed above and then open Carrier.

You can also contact the carrier to verify if the carrier settings in your device is the latest one.

Can I skip or postpone an update?

While some updates are very important, other may not be that pressing. When the former pops up on your screen, the only option available to you is OK. When the latter pops up on your screen, you get two choices – Update and Not Now.

Advantages of carrier settings update

If you choose to tap the Not Now option or just plain ignore the notification, for the time being, it won’t cause any specific problem.

However, each update is different from the others. If a particular update is supposed to make your iPhone function better and you skip it, you will miss out on some exquisite features. So, it is really your call.

Carrier update settings are harmless. The aim is usually to make your experience with the current carrier better and flawless. If you want to you can delay it but it will keep popping up the question every few days.

Now that you know what is carrier settings update, how does it work, its advantages and manual updation process, it is really your call on how you would like to go about it.



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