iPhone “SIM Not Supported & “SIM Not Valid” Fix – Unlock iPhone for Any Carrier!

I bought a second-hand iPhone and when I put my SIM card in, the iPhone said “SIM Not Supported”. What can I do to fix this?

This issue is common among users who purchased a second-hand iPhone from the Internet.

When you see one of the following messages it means your device is locked to a specific carrier.

  1. “SIM Not Supported. The SIM card that you currently have installed in this iPhone is from a service provider that is not supported under the activation policy that is currently assigned by the activation server. This is not a hardware issue with the iPhone. Please insert another SIM card from a supproted service provider or request that this iPhone be unlocked by your service provider. Please contact Apple for more information.”
  2. “SIM Not Valid. The SIM card that you currently…”
  3. “SIM Not Supported. The SIM card inserted in this iPhone does not appear to be supported…”

Even if you insert the correct network’s SIM card, that doesn’t guarantee this error disappears. Rather than struggling to deal with it, we’ll be showing you the best ways to resolve this issue and unlock your iPhone for any carrier.

Part 1. Things You Need to Know About iPhone SIM Not Supported/Valid

Let’s start by covering a few important notes that surround SIM card not supported/valid on iPhone.

  1. To use a locked iPhone on a different carrier that you currently have a contract with, you must unlock the iPhone.
  2. A locked iPhone is only limited to connect to a single network carrier; therefore you must unlock it to switch to other carriers
  3. The official iPhone unlock method involves contacting the carrier for a network unlock (if you haven’t completed the payment plan, they won’t help you)

You get the idea – if a carrier locks your iPhone, you need to unlock it before you can connect to another carrier.

Before we talking about how to unlock, you need to learn how does the carrier lock work.

How Do Carrier Locks Work?

So, unless you have a lot of interest in technology, you’re probably wondering how exactly a carrier lock works.

When you first purchase an iPhone or take out a new contract with a carrier, it’s typical for them to install a custom piece of software on it. Although this software doesn’t impact the iPhone’s functionality or features, it limits your SIM card in various ways. The main types of carrier locks are:

  • Carrier Lock. Blocks SIM cards from making and receiving calls or texts when you leave the country you reside in. Although carriers don’t use this type of block as much anymore, they do increase your call/text/data rates substantially whenever you travel.
  • Network Lock. Blocks the use of SIM cards that aren’t from the original carrier. If you insert a SIM card from another carrier then it won’t be usable unless you pay to unlock the iPhone.
  • Subscriber Lock. Blocks all SIM cards except the original. This means that even buying another SIM card from the original carrier will not be usable after you insert it into your iPhone. Evidently, this is the biggest restriction you can have.

How to Check Which Carrier Lock iPhone is Locked to?

This is not so easy for you to check this personally. You may have realized that an iPhone IMEI checker is effective to help you.

As is known to all, there’re so many online IMEI checkers. But nearly all of the Online IMEI Checkers generate a report from an outdated database.

These companies are irresponsible since the IMEI report they generated is not accurate which misleads people badly and wastes them a lot of time.

That’s why we recommend WipeLock iPhone Carrier Checker. Differing from most of online IMEI checkers, WipeLock check the IMEI manually to ensure a 100% accurate report. Except that, WipeLock can also check the Blacklist status & iCloud status for you.

This is very important for you to know the Blacklist status of your iPhone. A blacklisted iPhone is hard for you to unlock.

imei carrier check example result

If you have any of the carrier locks on your iPhone and you wish to remove them, the next step is to unlock iPhone for any carrier.

Part 2. Top 2 Ways to Resolve iPhone “SIM Not Supported”

Wonder if the following methods worked on the latest iOS 13? Of course! They can unlock all models of iPhone on iOS 7/8/9/10/11/12/13.

Method #1 – Fix iPhone “SIM Not Supported/Valid” by Contacting Carrier

This is one of the most popular methods since it is free if you’ve already finished the payment plan in the contract. If there are still several months before the contract finish, you’ll have to wait until it ends or try the IMEI unlocking service.

As discussed, before using this method you need to check which carrier is your iPhone locked to with a reliable iPhone Carrier Checker.

After knowing which carrier is your iPhone locked to, you can now contact the carrier. Nowadays you’ll find that most carriers allow their customers to unlock an iPhone. There are 3 steps for doing this.

Step 1. Check if the Carrier Supports Unlocking

Start by finding out whether or not this is something your carrier supports. Most do, and this allows you to fix SIM not supported.

A quick visit to Apple’s support site lists all the carriers that are available in your region. When you see “Unlocking” item under your carrier, this means they are capable of unlocking your iPhone. Contacting them directly will give you the exact answer.

att-unlocking

Step 2. Contact the Carrier for Unlocking

Now that you know if it’s actually possible to unlock your iPhone, give your carrier a call and make an official unlock request. There are a few things to remember at this point:

  • If you have a monthly contract (e.g. paying $40 per month for 2 years), your carrier may deny the request
  • If you are behind on your phone payments, they are more likely to deny the request
  • Most carriers will charge you to unlock the iPhone, so be aware that your next payment could be more than you expect

How you contact your carrier for this request varies. Usually though, calling them and answering a few security questions or logging into the carrier’s online dashboard with your account information will suffice. For example, here is how you can unlock straight Straight Talk iPhone:

straight-talk-iphone-unlock-carrier-request

After submitting the request, wait for them to process the unlock (usually 3 to 5 working days).

Step 3. Start the Unlocking Process

While you wait for your carrier to process the carrier lock removal and fix iPhone SIM not supported, take a backup of your iPhone. This will prevent unnecessary data loss that may occur after the lock removal is complete.

backup iphone to itunes

After your carrier notifies you that they have removed the lock, you have a few final things to do:

When you have a new SIM card:

  • Remove the old SIM card from your iPhone and insert the new one
  • Set up your iPhone again

You should now be able to set up your iPhone without seeing “SIM Not Supported” message! If you lose text messages or contact information then simply restore your backup.

Method #2 – Using an IMEI Unlocking Service to Unlock iPhone for Any Carrier

Rather than go through the hassle above, you can instead choose to use an IMEI unlocking service like DirectUnlocks or ExpressUnlocks. Here, we take DirectUnlocks as an example.

directunlocks iphone unlock

This service enables you to effectively unlock iPhone for any carrier and fix your SIM card errors, but without you having to lift a finger.

  • Permanently unlocks: your iPhone won’t be locked again
  • Professionally unlocks iPhone remotely, they will whitelist your iPhone from Apple’s database
  • Suitable for unlocking any model of iPhone (and any iOS version, including the latest iOS 13)
  • Doesn’t require any additional software installation on your iPhone
  • More affordable than paying your carrier for a network unlock
  • You don’t have to jailbreak your iPhone (which will cause heavy damage to the firmware of your iPhone) to unlock it

Steps to Solve SIM Not Supported/Valid on iPhone 11 Pro Max

It’s beyond any doubt that if you want to resolve SIM Not Supported on iPhone, DirectUnlocks is the service for the job. More to the point, you can get started on fixing your iPhone with this site by following the steps below.

Step #1 – Go to the DirectUnlocks iPhone Unlock service page.

Step #2 – Choose your iPhone model.

Step #3 – Select your country and your iPhone’s network carrier and input the device’s IMEI number below. Then click “Continue”.

unlock iphone 11 verizon

Step #4 – Follow the payment instructions to finish placing your order.

After you place an order you just have to wait a few hours (usually less than 24 hours) and they’ll notify you once the iPhone unlock is complete!

Here is one of the complete orders (you can track the order at DirectUnlocks):

att usa unlock complete

Bonus: How to Tell if the Unlock Worked

If you aren’t completely sure that the method you chose was effective, you can use this quick guide to check if the iPhone unlock worked.

Step #1 – Turn off your iPhone. And remove the SIM card with the paperclip-like tool.

Step #2 – Insert a SIM card from a different carrier.

Step #3 – Turn on your iPhone and see if the carrier is recognized. Or make a phone call.

If you find that the unlock didn’t work, try a different method instead.

Conclusion

Unlocking your iPhone using either of the solutions above is the best way to fix “SIM Not Supported”/”SIM Not Valid”. It can be frustrating to deal with carriers, not to mention expensive. As such, we recommend using DirectUnlocks for this particular iPhone issue.

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.

Comments

  • If your iPhone X is on iOS 13.5.1 and you put the unlock sim in and it works with unlock, when I update my iOS version on the iPhone to iOS 14 will the unlock chip stop working? Or will I need a new unlock code? please advise. Thanks

    • Hi Daniel,

      The methods mentioned here can remove the lock PERMANENTLY. Your iPhone will be still unlocked even after updating the iOS.

      BTW, only Android devices need a unlock code.

      Hope this helps.

  • Hi Darren,
    I purchased a second hand phone from a site I prefer not to mention. The seller described this phone as being in mint condition with AppleCare still available, with Verizon as the carrier. I paid for the device, received it by mail. Ripped off. Screen was broken, out of warranty and wrong carrier. I had the screen replaced. Popped my sim in to only get the Sim not supported error. Call Apple, they explained the carrier is some company call Spectrum. Unfortunately, never hear of it. I then call Verizon, they sent me an activation QR code! Still not working. This jerk has ripped me off big time!!! Beware of purchasing a IPhone online!!!!!

  • Michael Obiajulu May 12, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    I recently bought an iPhone 6s plus from a friend. Each time I insert my sim card into the phone it ask me for a software upgrade and afterward saying ‘Sim Not Valid’. The network status bar indicates that reception is available from the carrier.

    Please revert back o me with a possible way of solving this problem.
    Thanking you in advance.

  • Hey Darren,

    Trying to unlock my iPhone 11 Pro, a network check comes up with US Argon Locked Policy. Any idea which carrier this is, and if not, if an IMEI Unlocking service will help?

  • My iPhone is network locked with metro PCS if I leave it in this condition , does it unlock after one year

  • My iPhone 4s is unlock but can’t make call or receive calls because of a symbol that looks like a caller icon close to the battery meter, pls what should I do?

  • My iPhone and my SIM card are the same carrier but the sim won’t work i put it in correctly And it’s clean what do i do ?

  • Hey Darren, t-mobile said my phone isn’t locked to their network after I gave them my IMEI number and said all I need to do is master reset my iPhone xs max, however I’ve done that several time in several ways, still saying “activation required” and “Sim not valid” when I try inserting another sim from a different carrier..I’ve wiped the phone in many ways, even with different computers so I’m sure that’s not the problem, any idea what’s wrong? I really need my iPhone unlocked.

    • Hey,

      There’s a problem with the Network. Try to verify this by using another SIM card.

      This is a problem usually happens on iOS 11 above, so please make sure you’ve updated your iPhone to the latest version.

      Darren

  • Hi my daughter bought a second hand phone at Christmas for her straight talk service and when we put in a At&t sim it says Sim not supported. I am clueless what to do next.

  • Verizon says phone is unlocked. I put ATT sim card in. It says sim card not supported
    What do I need to do?

  • My friend bought iphone for me. At first it was working without sim, and now i have inserted the sim is saying activation sim not supported by iphone, i have also checked to know if it was on blacklist and it said clean. Also checked for sim lock it said unlocked, what could be the cause pls help?

  • I got a new chips and I picked ATNT US for carrier, suddenly Iphone was locked up and SIM card not supported.

  • Hi Darren,
    Is there any page or do you know someone or some service who unlock a VIAERO WIRELESS phone?
    It’s a NEBRASKA carrier company.

    I bought a second hand iPhone on eBay, and the previous owner didn’t put all information on the publication, and now he doesn’t answer me.
    Called VIAERO to ask for unlocking the device, but the only way is that previous owner call them.. It won’t happen.

    I live in Argentina, so is even harder to do so.

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