Because of its small size and hidden location, a SIM card is one thing you forget until it stops working.
With it, your iPhone becomes a dazzling piece of modern technology, capable of making calls to the other side of the world, sending texts, and easily accessing the internet in the middle of nowhere.
This means you won’t be able to use your wireless data over 4G or 5G, and you won’t be able to make or receive calls.
Aside from an error message, you’ll know your iPhone has a SIM card problem if the carrier name and signal bars/dots at the top of the screen are missing or have been replaced by messages like No SIM or Searching.
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First Things First: What Is a SIM Card?
Simply put, a SIM card is what gives your iPhone the ability to function as a phone. The SIM card in your phone is a small memory card that stores important identifying information such as your phone number, billing information, and cellular provider.
It connects you to your carrier’s mobile network, allowing you to make and receive calls and texts, as well as using cellular data. When a SIM card fails or is not recognized, those functions effectively come to a halt.
Causes of iPhone No SIM Error
There are several causes for the iPhone No SIM error. It is possible that the iPhone does not recognize the SIM card used to connect to these networks.
This issue can also be caused by your SIM card becoming slightly dislodged or by a software issue with your phone.
The “No SIM” error can appear in a variety of ways, including:
- No SIM
- No SIM Card Installed
- Invalid SIM
- Insert SIM
Whatever the cause and type of error, the solution is straightforward: All you need is a paper clip and some software settings to fix this.
How to Find the iPhone SIM Card
To resolve SIM card issues, you must first locate the SIM card; the location varies depending on the model of your iPhone.
iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS: At the top of the phone, look for a slot with a tiny hole between the sleep/wake button and the headphone jack. This is the tray where the SIM card is kept.
iPhone 4 and newer: The SIM tray is located on the right side of the phone, near the sleep/wake (or Side) button. A microSIM card is used in the iPhone 4 and 4S. Later models have a smaller, more modern nanoSIM.
How to Fix the iPhone No SIM Card Installed Error
If your iPhone displays the No SIM error or you don’t have cellular bars when you should, try the following steps to resolve the issue.
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Remove the SIM card from your iPhone and reset it.
Because the No SIM problem is frequently caused by the SIM becoming slightly dislodged, the first step is to try to reseat it and ensure it is fully seated.
The No SIM Card Installed error should disappear after a few seconds (up to a minute), and your regular bars and carrier name should reappear at the top of the iPhone’s screen.
If it doesn’t, remove the SIM and inspect the card or slot for dirt. If they are, wash them. Blowing into the slot is probably fine, but compressed air is always preferable.
Restart your iPhone.
If your iPhone still doesn’t recognize the SIM card, try the all-purpose solution for many iPhone problems: restart. You’d be surprised how many problems can be solved simply by restarting.
Turn Airplane Mode On and Off.
If you’re still getting the No SIM card installed error, try turning Airplane Mode on and off again. This will reset the iPhone’s connection to cellular networks, which may resolve the issue.
If the problem persists, see if there is an update to iOS, the operating system that runs on the iPhone.
Before doing this, you should connect to a Wi-Fi network or a computer and have a good battery life. Install any available updates and check to see if that resolves the issue.
Check that your phone account is active.
It is also possible that your phone company account is no longer active. You must have a valid, active phone company account for your phone to connect to a phone company network.
The SIM error may appear if your account has been suspended, canceled, or has another problem.
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Check for an update to the iPhone Carrier settings.
Another possible explanation for the SIM not being recognized is that your phone company has changed the configurations for how your phone connects to its network, and you need to install them.
Check for a defective SIM card.
If your iPhone still says it doesn’t have a SIM card, your SIM card may have a hardware issue.
Inserting a SIM card from another cell phone that you know works fine is one way to test this. Use the correct size SIM card for your phone (standard, microSIM, or nanoSIM).
If the No SIM Card Installed message disappears after inserting a different SIM card, your iPhone SIM is faulty. You can get a replacement from Apple or your phone provider.
Contact Apple’s technical support.
If none of these steps solve the problem, you have a problem that cannot be fixed. You can schedule an appointment with an Apple Store online.
FAQ On No Sim Card Installed
If your iPhone is unlocked and running iOS 11.4 or later, you can ignore the “No SIM Card” message during activation. For iOS 11.3 and earlier, request to borrow someone’s SIM card solely for the purpose of activating your iPhone.
Yes. After you’ve activated your iPhone, you can remove the SIM card and use it for anything except texting and calling through a cell phone carrier.
Yes, you can activate your iPhone without a SIM card, but it must first be unlocked and run iOS 11.4 or higher. If this is the case, you can ignore the ‘No SIM Card’ message during the iPhone activation process.
I sincerely hope this article has assisted you in understanding, diagnosing, and resolving the “No SIM” warning on your iPhone.