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10 Solutions to Fix 'iPhone Not Detecting SIM Card' Problem

You can insert your SIM card perfectly into the device only for the device to fail to detect it. This is a problem that affects a lot of iPhone users and when it occurs, the iPhone is unable to connect to a cellular network, make or receive calls or send and receive messages.

If this is the particular situation you find yourself in, this article will prove very helpful to you. In it, we will discuss some of the most effective solutions to this iPhone not detecting SIM card problem.

iphone not detecting sim card

1. Why Does My iPhone Say There Is No SIM Card

There are different reasons for the error of iPhone SIM not reading SIM card. The error may be caused by a simple glitch that is hard to explain. It might also be the reason that the iPhone is too hot or the dust on the SIM card. The SIM error can be displayed in several ways, such as:

  • No SIM
  • No SIM Card Installed
  • Invalid SIM
  • Insert SIM

2. How to Fix iPhone No SIM Error

You can try the following ways to fix iPhone 'NO SIM' error.

2.1 Clean SIM Card Slot

The iPhone will not detect SIM card when the SIM card slot is dirty. Dust and dirt that accumulates on the SIM card slot can prevent the iPhone’s sensor from detecting the SIM card. Therefore before attempting any more invasive solutions, eject the SIM card from the tray and clean the slot with a soft brush or a paper clip. Re-insert the tray back on to the device and test if the device detects the SIM card.

clean sim card slot

2. Check SIM Tray

It is also possible that the SIM tray could be damaged. Use a small paper clip to eject the SIM card tray from the iPhone. Once the tray pops out of the device check if there is any visible damage on the SIM card. If the tray seems damaged in some way or it doesn’t hold the SIM card properly, contact Apple to get it fixed.

Avoid using another device’s tray on your iPhone as this could damage the device and the SIM card permanently.

3. Re-Insert SIM Card

This problem can also occur when the SIM card is slightly dislodged from the tray. Therefore you may want to check if the SIM card is not properly inserted and then put it back in place. To do that, use a paperclip or a SIM card removal tool to pull out the tray and then push it back to re-seat it more firmly.

If this was the problem, the “No SIM card Installed” error should go away after a few seconds.

re-insert sim card

4. Turn on and Turn Off Airplane Mode

If this iPhone not detecting sim card problem persists, you should consider turning on Airplane mode for a few seconds and then turning it off again. This is a great way to reset the cellular networks and is therefore a valid solution for this problem. Here’s how to do it;

Step 1: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center.

Step 2: Tap on the “Airplane Mode” icon to enable Airplane mode.

Step 3: Wait a few seconds and tap it again to turn it off.

re-insert sim card

5. Test with Another SIM

If you suspect that the SIM card may be problematic. You can test it by inserting another SIM card into the device. If the device fails to read this SIM card as well, you may want to contact your Carrier to see if they can issue another SIM card.

6. Restart Your iPhone

If the iPhone still doesn’t detect the SIM card even after inserting a new one, the problem could be the device and the easiest way to eliminate any settings that could be causing the problem is to restart the device. Here’s how to do that;

Step 1: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on your device.

Step 2: Continue to press the button until a slider appears on the screen. Swipe the slider to turn off the device completely.

Step 3: Wait a few seconds and then hold the sleep/wake button again until the Apple Logo appears on the screen and the device restarts.

turn off and turn on iphone

7. Update Carrier Settings

Your iPhone could also fail to detect the SIM card if the carrier has changed the settings. In this case, the best way to fix the problem is to update the carrier settings. Here’s how you can do that;

Step 1: Open the Settings on iPhone and click on “General”.

Step 2: Tap “About” and if there is an update to the carrier settings, follow the on-screen instructions to update the carrier settings.

update carrier settings

8. Is the SIM Account Valid

Your iPhone will also fail to detect the SIM card if your phone company account is invalid. To be able to use the SIM card, you will need to have an active, valid account with the phone company. If for some reason your account has been suspended or cancelled, the device will not be able to detect the SIM card.

9. Fix ‘iPhone Not Detecting Sim Card’ Error with the Best Tool

If everything you’ve tried so far has failed and you are certain that the SIM card is working just fine and is not damaged or disabled, the problem could be software related. It is very possible that your iOS system could be damaged which is why the iPhone fails to detect the SIM card. In this case, the best way to fix the problem is to use an iOS repair tool like FoneGeek iOS System Recovery (iOS 15 supported). This tool is not just 100% effective in repairing the device if your iPhone is stuck on black screen/white screen, iPhone battery draining fast all of a sudden, etc. And it is also very easy to use.


To use this program to repair the device, follow these simple steps;

Step 1: Download and install the program on to your computer and then open it. Select 'Standard Mode' in the main window and then connect the iPhone to the computer using USB cables.

choose repair mode

Step 2: The program will detect the device’s model and present the necessary firmware for the device. Click on “Download” to download the firmware.

download firmware

If the program is unable to detect the device, you may need to put the device in DFU/recovery mode. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to do that.

Step 3: Once the firmware is downloaded, click on "Fix Now" and keep the device connected to the computer until the repairing process is complete.


The device will restart once the process is complete and it should detect the SIM card without any problems.

10. Restore iOS to Factory Settings

Another great way to remove any settings that could be preventing your iPhone from detecting the SIM card is to restore the iPhone to factory settings. It is however very important to back up all the data on the iPhone to iTunes or iCloud before attempting this process since it will cause total data loss.

Once the backup is complete, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Contents and Settings.

erase all content and settings

You may need to enter your passcode to complete the process. The device will revert back to factory settings and all data will be removed. Set up the device to see if the device will detect the SIM card.

3. Frequently Asked Questions about iPhone ‘NO SIM’ Error

How to activate iPhone without SIM card?

If the iOS version of your iPhone is iOS 11.4 and above, you can ignore the ‘NO SIM Card’ error during activation; If the iOS version is iOS 11.3 and below, you can borrow your friend’s SIM card to activate the device.

Is it possible to use an iPhone without SIM card?

YES. If your iPhone is activated, you can use your device as normal even if you remove the SIM card. But texting and calling are not allowed.

One of the solutions above should be very effective in fixing an iPhone that won’t detect SIM card. Select a solution that is ideal for your particular situation and implement it to the best of your ability. Let us know if you are able to get the iPhone to detect the SIM card in the comments section below. Any questions and comments on this topic or any other iOS related issue are always welcome and we’ll do our best to find the most effective solutions.

Joan J. Mims

Joan J. Mims is interested in researching all tips about iPhone, iPad and Android. He loves to share useful ideas with all users.

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