Why Does My iPhone Say No SIM Card? Here’s The Real Fix!

How To Fix The No SIM Card Error On iPhone and iPad

1. Eject The SIM Tray

Insert a paperclip into the tiny hole in the SIM tray and press until the tray ejects. You may need to apply a fair amount of pressure to get the tray out, and that’s normal – but use your common sense. If you’re not sure of the exact location of the SIM tray on your iPhone, this Apple article will help you find it: Remove the SIM card from your iPhone or iPad.

2. Inspect The SIM Card, SIM Tray, And Inside Your iPhone

Take a close look at the SIM Card and SIM Tray for any damage. If they’re dusty, wipe them off with a soft damp cloth, but be sure they’re completely dry before reinserting them into your iPhone.

Next, check if the SIM tray is bent, as even a tiny misalignment can cause the SIM card to not fully connect with the internal contacts in your iPhone.

Finally, use a flashlight to take a look for any debris inside the SIM tray opening. If there’s gunk in there, try to blow it out with some compressed air.

A Note About Liquid Damage

If you have an iPhone 5 or newer, you’ll see a white circle sticker if you look closely inside the SIM tray opening. That sticker is one liquid contact indicator that Apple techs use to determine whether your iPhone has come into contact with water. If that white sticker has a red dot in the middle, it means that sticker has gotten wet at some point, and water damage can sometimes cause the “No SIM” issue — but not always. Remember that while the SIM card is resilient to water, the internals of the iPhone are not.

3. Reinsert The SIM Tray

Put your SIM card back into the tray, reinsert the SIM tray into your iPhone, and cross your fingers. If the “No SIM” error goes away, congratulations — you fixed the issue!

4. Try Using A Friend’s SIM Card

Find a friend with an iPhone, and try putting their SIM card into your SIM tray and inserting it into your iPhone. If the “No SIM” error goes away, we’ve determined the culprit: You’ve got a problem with your SIM card. Instead of making an appointment with the Apple Store, it might be easier to visit your carrier and tell them you need a replacement SIM card for your iPhone. It’s a quick process and you should be back up and running in no time.

If the “No SIM” error remains and you’re confident there isn’t any physical damage, you may have a software problem with your iPhone. Remember that the software on the iPhone is the brains of the operation. If the software isn’t working correctly, the hardware won’t either.

5. Turn Your iPhone Off And Back On Again

Hold the power button on your iPhone until “slide to power off” appears. Move your finger across the slider to power off your iPhone. After the wheel has stopped spinning and the iPhone display has gone completely black, hold down the power button until you see the Apple logo appear to power your iPhone back on.

If you have an iPhone X or newer, press and hold the side button and either volume button to reach the “slide to power off” screen.

slide to power off power icon on iphone

If the “No SIM” error is gone, congratulations — we’ve just resolved the issue! My gut tells me that some people may have to go farther to keep the problem from coming back, and if you’re one of those people, keep reading.

6. Reset Network Settings

Head to Settings -> General -> Reset and choose Reset Network Settings on your iPhone. This restores the network configuration to the factory defaults, which can resolve software glitches in the invisible processes that are always running in the background and that are responsible for managing your iPhone’s connection to your cellular and other networks.

reset network settings on an iphone

Before you do this, note that Reset Network Settings will erase your iPhone’s saved Wi-Fi connections, so make sure you know your Wi-Fi passwords before you give this a try. You’ll have to reconnect in Settings -> Wi-Fi after your iPhone reboots.

7. Update Your Wireless Carrier Settings, Preferably Using iTunes On A Computer

Plug your iPhone into your computer (or you can use a friend’s) and open iTunes. I recommend using iTunes because before it upgrades your iPhone, iTunes will automatically check if a wireless carrier settings update is available for your iPhone, and if there is, iTunes will ask if you’d like to install it.

Alternatively, you can go to Settings -> General -> About on your iPhone to install the wireless carrier settings update, but there isn’t a button to check. Your iPhone will automatically check for the update and a screen will appear after a few seconds if an update is available. I believe that using iTunes to check is more reliable, however, because network issues may prevent your iPhone from connecting to the update server.

Carrier Settings Update On iPhone

8. Update iOS, Preferably Using iTunes

If an iOS update is available, install that too. Along with new features, iOS updates contain bug fixes for all sorts of issues, including those that can cause the “No SIM” error.

I recommend using iTunes to update your iPhone’s software because if your iPhone is already experiencing software problems (as evidenced by the “No SIM” error), I wouldn’t trust the software on the iPhone to do the iOS update if I could avoid it. Chances are, everything would be fine if you updated your software by going to Settings -> General -> Software Update, but my gut tells me that given a choice, using a computer would be the safest option.

update iphone to ios 12

9. Restore Your iPhone

If you’re still seeing the “No SIM” error, it’s time to hit the software with “the big hammer”. We’ll restore your iPhone to factory defaults, reactivate with your carrier as part of the setup process, and restore from your an iTunes or iCloud backup.

A Strong Word Of Warning

Your iPhone needs to be activated after you restore it. Activation happens the first time you set up your iPhone. It’s what connects your unique iPhone to your wireless carrier’s network.

Here’s where things can get tricky: Your iPhone needs to be activated before it can restore from a backup – or do anything, for that matter. If the restore process doesn’t fix the “No SIM” error, your iPhone might not be able to activate. You won’t be able to restore your backup, and you’ll be left with an iPhone you can’t use.

I learned this lesson the hard way, and unfortunately, so did the person who couldn’t use his iPhone because it wouldn’t reactivate after it was restored. Here’s what I recommend: Don’t try to restore your iPhone unless you have a backup phone you can use if restoring your iPhone doesn’t fix the “No SIM” error.

Always Backup Before You Restore

If you do choose to restore your iPhone, make sure you have a backup. You can backup your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud, and I’d like to point you toward two Apple support articles that do an great job of explaining the process: “Back up and restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using iCloud or iTunes” and “Use iTunes to restore your iOS device to factory settings”.

Still Seeing The “No SIM” Error?

If the “No SIM” error still hasn’t gone away, you’re going to need support. When dealing with Apple support, I find it easiest to start at Apple’s support website or call my local Apple Store to make an appointment with the Genius Bar.

If you’re out of warranty and Apple’s repair costs are too high, Puls is a new service that will meet you at a location of your choice, fix your iPhone today, and guarantee their work for life — all for a lot less than Apple.

This may also be a good time to consider switching wireless carriers, especially if this isn’t the first time you’ve had SIM card issues on your iPhone. You can use UpPhone to compare cell phone plans from dozens of different wireless carriers. You might even save money if you switch!

Wrapping It Up

I really hope this article has helped you to understand, diagnose, and fix the “No SIM” warning on your iPhone. If have any questions or comments you’d like to share, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond as soon as possible.

Thank you so much for reading and I wish you all the best,
David P.

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About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Emilija Markoski
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Emilija Markoski

Hello.
I have iPhone 5 with newest iOs version, and 1 week appeared No SIM card but after I restarted it was okay. I tried again today and it don’t lost, still stay No SIM card. I have tried all from above, but nothing work.
Please help.

yemi ali
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yemi ali

hi there. I tried ALL but still the NO SIM error is not yet resolved. I took it in for repairs but it could not be fixed. what do I do now?

Foster Atteberry
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Foster Atteberry

Thanks David, My No Sim Card error was fixed with a simple remove then reinsert. I appreciate the extra time that you have taken to educate the rest of us.

Why Does My iPhone Keep Restarting? Here's The Fix!
Guest

[…] If removing the SIM card doesn’t fix the problem, don’t put your SIM card back in until you’ve completed the next step. If you’d like to learn more about your iPhone’s SIM card, check out my article called “Why Does My iPhone Say No SIM Card?”. […]

Ruf1919
Guest

My IPhone 5C all of a sudden stopped working with the “No Sim” up in left corner where carrier should be. The phone had a Sim Card from a carrier in the USA and when we returned to Canada and inserted the Canadian Carrier card the problem started. Both carriers are lost on a solution and after speaking with Apple they insisted a do a restore which I did with no solution. Problem is, now I can’t even access the home screen. but it shows me a screen which asks for language, region, wifi network and then asks for a… Read more »

My iPhone Says No Service. Here's The Real Fix!
Guest

[…] in again. If you’re not sure how to remove your SIM card, read steps 1-3 of my article about why iPhones sometimes say “No SIM.” If your iPhone still says No Service, come back to this article and move on to the next […]

Brandon McGrath
Guest

I have a problem with my iPhone 5c SIM card. I’ve been getting invalid SIM card errors a few times and they would be fixed when I rebooted my phone but now it didn’t work so I got worried and tried taking the SIM card out to see if I could fix any problems with your methods but they didn’t work and when I reinserted the SIM card and rebooted it, it said no sim so am I completely screwed now!? Please help!

Michael E Hartigan
Guest
Michael E Hartigan

Feel I should mention what just happened to me. I followed all of the instructions listed above, down to the last step, of restoring my iPhone. So, I backed up my phone and went ahead with the Restore. After it was finished, I still had the no SIM card problem. But now, my iPhone is wiped, and iTunes can’t connect to it to restore the backup without a SIM card. So, you might want to add a note that this happens, as a warning to people who are about to try step #9. I just went from having a less… Read more »

Stephie Haron
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Stephie Haron

I’m sorry David. P, your tips and techniques unfortunately did not resolve my IPhone issue. Please come up with realistic solutions that actually work. Thank you.

Ray High
Guest
Ray High

I have the 5s. I use my bluetooth headset some when I’m driving, so I flip the switch above the volumn controls on side of phone to vibrate only. Keeps phone from ringing outloud. When I get home and take off the head phone I’ll switch it back to ring. It took 2 or 3 times before I realized this was causing the No Sim Card Error. I turn the switch off and then back on again, and my Verizon signal bars return. I’m probably not turning the switch back on good. Works for me. Hope this helps someone else.

Efren Flowers
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Efren Flowers

Worked! Thanks

Ivy Yeo
Guest
Ivy Yeo

My Mobile phone is telling me There is no Sim card, yet there is, and now I can’t text my Hubby who is away for a day or two. Please can anyone help. My supplier is EE.
.

susaneisaacs
Guest
susaneisaacs

My iPhone 4 is so old it doesn’t have a SIM Card. I did a restore to it to fix music sync issues. The restore process messed up the phone, now it says “no SIM card.” Took it to Apple. They absolved themselves of responsibility. Any ideas? Thanks!

Tyler Brandley
Guest
Tyler Brandley

Leecanon. Did you ever get an answer to your question? I did the same thing, ( except I did disable the motion calibration). I was curious abut this as well and am interested to know.

Leecanon
Guest
Leecanon

No I did not. However, the motion calibration monitors your physical activity. It is used by apps such as Health where it counts your steps etc. I.m told the cell network is searching for the stongest , best service IE: 3g, 4g . same for wifi. I’m guessing best to leave them on. I left all on and doesn’t seem to cause any big problems.

April Hall
Guest

This isn’t PF, but I I do have an idea on where your iTunes Store App maybe have disappeared to. When you place your finger on app and keep it there, the apps that you can move or delete begin to jiggle and show a black X in their upper-right-corner. As PF said in his article, there are a few apps that can’t be deleted, that are permanent on your phone, iTunes Store is one of these. If, however, you place one app on top of another app while moving apps around, iPhone will create and name a folder with… Read more »

David Payette
Guest

Hi Tyler and Lee, I apologize for taking a while to respond to your questions, and they are excellent ones at that. I had to do a little research about the Cell Network Search, but according to this Apple forum, “it records the tower ID of the towers within range of your phone as you move around throught the day and sends that back to Apple.” (see https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3850673) With regard to motion calibration, I believe that Lee is absolutely right in that it uses location data to increase the accuracy of the pedometer and the new M8 motion sensor included… Read more »

K Cielo D'Arcangelo
Guest
K Cielo D'Arcangelo

My iPhone 4 from Verizon did the very same thing earlier this evening when I connected to iTunes to do a back-up. Based on the time of your memo and your comment which is hauntingly similar to my own problem, it seems too curious to be a mere coincidence. I called Apple Care because my Mac is covered and I considered this an iTunes software issue. My phone was restored through iTunes but to no avail. Apple Care was closing so I’ll call tomorrow to let them know the restore failed. My error message reads: “SIM Required”. Since my phone… Read more »

susaneisaacs
Guest
susaneisaacs

NO WAY! Same phone, same carrier. Clearly this is an issue with the software restore feature doing something to destroy the phone. Let Applecare know and direct them to this message. I’m furious.

Almar
Guest
Almar

Sir tom, what if my itunes is already updated

K Cielo D'Arcangelo
Guest
K Cielo D'Arcangelo

If you que Google about the problem you will find very recent articles about the issue written by Apple technicians. I spoke with Apple Care again and received excellent customer service and the problem has now been corrected. It required the assistance of the Apple Care engineering team to manually override what is a software issue as it was communicated to me. I prefer using landlines in my business and don’t use my iPhone as much as so many people do and certainly not enough to warrant buying a new model at the announcement of the launch of a new… Read more »

nishanthnair
Guest
nishanthnair

Thanks.. looks like reset network settings did the trick for me!

Almaas Qureshi
Guest
Almaas Qureshi

I inserted SIM card in my ipad,it is showing signals but no one can call or send texts nor I can do so,how to fix it