Top 12 Solutions to iPhone Says “No SIM Card Installed”

You turn on your iPhone and try to call one of your contacts. Instead of being able to call them, you see that iPhone says no SIM.

This is an extremely frustrating error because in most cases, the iPhone does have a SIM card. The problem is in fact that the iPhone isn’t recognising your SIM card for whatever reason.

In this article, we’ll be explaining why this occurs and what you can do to remedy the situation.

Part 1. What Does It Mean When iPhone/iPad Says No SIM?

So, why are you seeing this error in the first place? It’s likely that your problem is caused by one of these four reasons:

  • The SIM card is damaged and therefore won’t function properly
  • There is a bug with the iOS software which is affecting the SIM card’s recognition
  • Your SIM card (or SIM card tray) hasn’t been inserted properly
  • A firmware error caused by iOS is causing the SIM card to not work properly

There are more reasons we could list, but these are the most common when iPhone says no SIM card installed.

Part 2. How to Fix iPhone Says “No SIM Card Installed”

Regardless of whether or not we listed your reason above, you should try each of the solutions we’re about to explain that will fix iPhone says no SIM.

1. Make Sure SIM Tray Closed

If you’ve only just got the iPhone and had to insert a new SIM card, you may not have closed the tray properly. Make sure that the tray is inserted properly and fits flat against the rest of the iPhone, otherwise, the iPhone won’t detect the SIM card.

Not sure where the SIM card tray is? On the iPhone 3GS and earlier, it can be found between the headphone jack and the lock button, and there will be a small hole for you to use the pin tool to remove the tray. On the iPhone 4 and later, you’ll find the tray below the lock button also with a small hole on it.

2. Turn On/Off Airplane Mode

Another solution to try when iPhone says no SIM card installed when there is one is to turn Airplane Mode on and off. This will force your iPhone/SIM to re-establish a connection with your carrier network.

Step 1 – Open Control Center.

  • For iPhone X and later: swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen
  • Other models: swipe up from the bottom edge of any screen

Step 2 – Tap the Airplane Mode to enable it.

airplane mode iphone

Step 3 – Wait about 10 secounds and tap it again to disable it.

After doing this, a new connection will be made and the error might disappear. If not, proceed with the rest of these fixes.

3. Restart the iPhone

Sometimes all it takes to fix a smartphone problem is restarting the device, and this can resolve iPhone says no SIM too. How you do this is different depending on the model you have.

  • iPhone X and later. Press and hold both the Side and Volume Down buttons at the same time, swipe the Power Off slider when it appears, and wait until the device turns off. To turn the iPhone back on, hold the Side button.
  • iPhone 6 to iPhone SE (2nd Gen). Press and hold the Side button, swipe the Power Off slider, and once the iPhone turns off simply hold the Side button again to turn it back on.
  • iPhone SE (1st Gen) and earlier. Press and hold the Top (lock) button, swipe the Power Off slider, and after the iPhone is off you can turn it on by holding the Top button.

restart iphone

Doing this will force your iPhone to completely reload the iOS firmware. If there were any glitches or malfunctions with the iOS, this will resolve them.

4. Check for SIM Card Damage

This might be harder to do if you aren’t sure what to look for, but SIM card damage will prevent it from working properly. Carefully remove the SIM card tray from your iPhone and look for scratches, scuffs, or any sort of damage. Wipe it with a clean cloth before reinserting it.

If you do discover that the SIM card is damaged the best thing you can do is contact your carrier to receive a new one. After you get the replacement, iPhone says no SIM should be gone.

5. Remove and Reinsert the SIM Card

Just like how turning your iPhone off and on can help with many issues, removing and reinserting the SIM card can too. Using the removal tool that came with the iPhone (this tool looks acts as a pin, so any similar object would also work), remove the SIM card.

remove sim card

After a few seconds, reinsert the SIM card in the tray and wait for a connection to be made. If this doesn’t work, move onto another solution.

6. Try Another SIM Card

Sometimes you’ll see iPhone says no SIM card installed and because you don’t know what the exact cause is, it’s worth trying another SIM card. Why? Simply because by doing this, you can discover if your SIM card is broken. Even if there aren’t any signs of physical damage, it may still malfunction.

To do this you’ll obviously need another SIM card. This can either be a friend’s SIM card or, if you don’t mind spending the money, purchase one. If you don’t get the error when the new SIM card is inserted then there is a fault with your SIM card and a replacement is needed.

7. Confirm Your Account is in Good Standing

It could be the case that there’s a problem with your carrier account. This commonly happens for new customers who haven’t properly activated their SIM card. It can also happen if your account is in bad standing, for example, if you haven’t paid your recent bills.

In this case, contact your carrier and inquire. They will let you know if your account is in bad standing or if the SIM card wasn’t activated, and they will assist you with the problem.

8. Reset Network Settings

Resetting your iPhone’s network settings is also really helpful and can fix iPhone says no SIM. Doing this is very easy when it comes to iPhones, just follow these steps:

Step 1 – Unlock your iPhone and open the Settings app.

Step 2 – Go to General, swipe to the bottom of the menu, and tap Reset.

Step 3 – Select Reset Network Settings and confirm this decision.

iphone x reset network settings

After you do this, you’ll have to re-enter details such as your Wi-Fi passwords. However, it will re-establish your carrier network connection and possibly resolve the issue.

9. Update Wireless Carrier Settings

Every so often your carrier will provide updates to devices connected to their network. Most people don’t realize this and unfortunately, they aren’t done automatically. Therefore, you need to update the wireless carrier settings manually.

Step 1 – Open the Settings app and tap General followed by About.

Step 2 – Wait a few seconds for your phone to check if there are any carrier settings updates.

iphone carrier settings update

Step 3 – If carrier updates are found, click on Update, they will then be downloaded.

This is a quick and easy solution to try that doesn’t take up any time, so it may be worth trying this before anything else.

10. Update iOS

Keeping your iPhone’s iOS up to date with the most recent version is of the utmost importance. It ensures your phone has the most recent features and it can prevent issues like iPhone says no SIM card installed when there is one from occurring.

Step 1 – Go to the Settings app and tap on General.

Step 2 – Tap Software Update and if there is an update available, tap Download and Install.

settings general software update

Additionally, if you see that the Automatic Updates setting is turned off, consider turning it on and your iPhone will automatically install the latest iOS firmware.

11. Restore the iPhone

If you still haven’t been able to remedy the problem then it might be worth doing a restore. This will completely reset your iPhone to its factory state so if there are any iOS errors, this will resolve them. To limit any data loss, take a backup with iTunes or iCloud before doing this.

Step 1 – Open the Settings app and tap the General option.

Step 2 – Swipe down and tap on Reset and then on Erase All Content and Settings.

iphone x reset all settings

Step 3 – Enter your iPhone passcode to confirm the restore.

Step 4 – Once your iPhone has reset, set it up normally and restore the backup you took.

This will only be effective if the issue was a result of iOS errors, so it’s best to leave this solution as the last one you try.

12. Contact Apple

Contacting Apple can help in a few ways. At first, they’ll probably walk you through some of the basic solutions – a few of which we already covered. However, if your iPhone is under warranty (e.g. it has AppleCare+), they may be in a position to give you a replacement.

You can go to an Apple store and discuss the issue with an expert there. Alternatively, you can communicate with Apple through their support page by following a series of troubleshooting steps.

Bonus: Things About iPhone SIM Card You Should Know

1. What is a SIM Card?

The SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) Card is the chip that you insert into your iPhone which identifies you specifically on the carrier network. It holds information such as your phone number, allows you to receive texts and phone calls, and it is ultimately how the carrier provides you with services.

2. What if Your iPhone is Locked?

Something else that iPhone users experience, aside from iPhone says no SIM card installed, is their iPhone being locked. This can mean a few things: you might have forgotten your passcode, there could be a carrier lock active, or there may even be an iCloud activation lock.

In the case of there being a carrier lock, removing it is extremely beneficial not to mention it’s easy to do. In our guide to unlocking iPhone carriers for free, we explain everything you need to know about this process and walk you through every step of the way.

Conclusion

Now that you understand all the best solutions to try when iPhone says no SIM, you can handle this irritating occurrence effectively.

Sometimes all it takes is updating your iPhone’s iOS, other times it’ll be a case of getting a new SIM card.

Either way, we hope one of the solutions we’ve shown you in this guide has helped you to get past this inconvenience and regain the ability to make calls and send texts!

About Author

Darren has been passionate about ios devices ever since he got his first iPhone since 2013, while he was still a student in junior high school. He currently uses an iPhone 11 and iPad Pro, and he’s become the go-to guy for many of his friends who have mobile device unlocking-related problems.

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