iPhone 3G "No SIM card installed." Problem Solved

After waiting for 4 hours at my local Apple store, I finally got my iPhone. Like everyone else, I was so excited and hurried home. When I got home, I started to play around with it. When I handled the iPhone, I noticed that the bottom felt hot. Without taking much notice of it, I continued to set it up and try all sorts of interesting things that can be done using this phone.

Then, suddenly the message “No SIM card installed.” popped up, and the phone function stopped working. A simple Google search found this thread, which is extremely helpful. People suggested taking the phone back to AT&T store and getting the SIM card replaced. However, it was late, and the store was closed, so I decided to try out some of the other suggestions to reset the settings.

First, I tried reset the Network settings. This is what I did:

  1. From the main screen, tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Reset Network Settings.

After resetting Network Settings, my phone wass still not working. I then tried to reset all settings.

  1. From the main screen, tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Reset All Settings.

To my disappointment, it still didn’t work. Before I called it a day, I reset the network settings again, and it started to work again.

I don’t know if the problem will come back or not. Hopefully, this will fix the problem permanently.

[Update: 7/13/2008]

The dreaded “No SIM card installed” message came back tonight. I took out the SIM card and reseated it several times. I also reset all settings several times again. It is now working again. I think that I still have to eventually get the SIM card replaced at the AT&T store.

[Update: 7/15/2008]

How can you live a day without the SIM card problem?! I experienced the problem again yesterday morning. I noticed a pattern. The problem always occurred right after I took it out of my pocket, and I usually place the iPhone in my pocket upside down. I think the SIM card tends to come loose when the iPhone is upside down.

I have thus changed the way I put the iPhone in my pocket, and I have yet to come across the same problem since yesterday morning. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  • Lilla

    I’m gutted, really need my iphone for work and it just keeps coming up with the “No Sim” message!!

    I phoned my network provider and they’re sending me a new SIM. But I’m not sure how this is going to help?? The current SIM was working fine this morning and is still working fine in my old (LG) phone??

    Surely I need a new phone? I’ve had it for 3 months.

    I have tried the “settings > general > reset all settings” about 10 times but its not working!

    Any other suggestions?

    • Tyler

      Here’s a new way to fix the problem (tested on iPhone 3gs and 4g) Actually there’s 2 ways.

      1. Turn airplane on and off.

      2. Press firmly on the Sim card slot.

      Hope this helped and the airplane mode method works best on iPhone 4g and the second way works best on 3gs.

      • Audrey

        god bless you, my dear(:

      • Em

        Wow!!!!! It worked on my 4G!! AMazing, thank u so much!

      • Reginald Schwanze

        Nope, didn’t work for me. What a crock! Maybe if I place the phone in the middle of a circle of fairy dust and wish 3 times it might come back to life!!

      • mark

        Thanks, I-phone 3g Airplane on and off 🙂

      • HERO

        omg i already tought my iphone was broken i tried to put the SIM in the spot without the holder than i had to get it out with some piece of paper it was a hard time XD you saved me never tought it was so simple

      • Germaine

        thanks very much! that worked for me!

      • Rick Harlan

        I have a 3G. I didn’t want to “Reset all settings” so I just reset Network Settings, and I’m back to having all my dialing, receiving, voicemail, etc. WORKING. Praise the Lord and Lady too.

      • Gabby

        Worked for me.

      • Xavi

        Man, are you Mr.Jobs?? Thanks!!

      • Ashley

        Hi, I cant go into settings when its on this page, I’m not sure how you can?? please help I really want it working again!! 🙂

      • Amy

        Wow!….It totally worked! THANK YOU!

    • ken

      i rebooted mine by turning it off and holding down the on button and off button at the same time. When the apple appears on the screen, release the buttons and wait a couple of minutes it should reboot and come back on and be ok. This is good for when the system becomes unstable too.

    • Colleen

      For the 3G, take a pin and poke it in the hole at the top of the phone where the sim card live. Pull it out and put it make in. That worked like a miracle for me. 😉

      • Tk in phil

        Thanks Colleen – that worked and fixed it for me!!

  • Billie

    I have the iPhone 16g and I have had it for 6 months no problem suddenly my sims card broke when I took it out ! I went and got a new one now with the new sins card my phone don’t get bars and when it does it’s not for long it says searching or no sim I never had problems befriend I got the new aim I am now on my second sims card and it’s maken me mad cause I don’t kia what’s causing this problem?

    • Sufian

      i had the same problem my Iphone 3gs was working very good till one day Drop it down after that IPhone say NO Service i’m too go mad please if anyone have solution for this problem send it to me on this E-Mail
      [email protected]

      thanks all

  • helpseeker

    my iphone wont work coz da sim inserted dose not appear to be supported….HELP! HELP! HELP!

  • Leila

    Dropped my iphone & the next day I got the No Sim thing. After reading the above, I reset my network settings and – badabing badaboom – that’s all it took. Thanks soooooooooooo much!!!!!!

  • Kate

    Thank you! Reset network and worked right away!

  • I bought my iphone 3g 8gig back in September of 2008. Until june of 2010 I hadn’t seen the “No SIM card installed” message and when I did the reset procedures. When this didn’t work I shut off and turned on my iphone. Since June 2010, it gives me this message every or every other day. I have found no way to fix it out side of turning the device off and back on.

  • Hey my phone just started doing this to me this past Friday and I sit it down very now and then it fixes the issue! There must be something sensitive in the back that’s causing this problem! Trip to apple store and repair may be needed! Too bad though I just got this 3 weeks ago used! Gettin pissed cuz it kudtstarted again today!

  • Edward Tachie-Menson

    May be this would help a bit. If you never turn off your phone like I do, when I get like a few bars I just plug my iphone3G and start charging without turning off the phone and this heats up the components possibly the stuff that holds the sim card together in the phone.
    Try turning the phone off completely shut down and wait for about an hour. Ensure that your phone is cool and try switching on the phone with the sim inserted. This worked for me. If it doesn’t for you, then you may try the other stuff like dropping your phone on the sim card side, socket side etc.Good luck folks!!

    • deb

      right on ed. had dropped ph ‘which triggered no sim mssg. turning ph off & back on did trick. And to thin I read your mssg right after I tried this out. thanks! !cheers

  • thanks for this post! just had this issue and thought I would google it before I requested a replacement.

    worked perfectly (I hope it lasts!)

    thanks aggain

  • Jessica

    The first option worked for me. Your awesome! Thanks

  • Hodgey

    The people at the Apple store massively suck at their Job!!!
    I went to the genious bar and the bloke said that I need to pay $249 to replace it! I said no, one as I didn’t have it and two that I only got it a month ago!

    Did a reset of network just then and praise the Lord its working again!

    I think I’ll call and give apple what for tomorrow!!

    Cheers to all!!!!!

    • KupKake

      A note to all of us 3GS OK thats apples way of saying sorry we no longer make these anymore but hey well buy youre from you and you can get a ewsnew 4 well then they keep on keepin on well they r bascically get the old in snd screwin us by us payin for a damn phone that you know were gonna go through this much trouble again when they make more . Oh n when these new ones come out i think they send a signal to these damn things we love so much and tell it dont work we got newer and much much more expensive ones ……. anyways mine had not been workin for 3 weeks now so n still isnt but ive always had problems with this thang…. GOOOD LUCK

  • Sonal

    I just tried dropping it vertically on a rug and it fixed the problem! Thanks!!

  • Ulas

    Hello All,

    I encountered the same problem almost a week. In the second day of the problem, I went to apple store to change the iphone. They immediately replaced it. Then, the following day the problem continued, and yesterday I got a new simcard replaced. Until now, the problem did not appear.

    they have an outline for the problem solution (apart from replacing the card on tray, making flymode on and off, and network settings)
    1. they change the iphone in the first instance
    2. they change the simcard if problem still exists.
    that is all.

    • Gr8tRJ


      Not everyone gets there iphone at a cell store. Therefor not everyone can take it back.

  • runner

    I had the same problem after I dropped the phone, reset all settings worked for me.

  • Anand

    Was gifted a iPhone 3G last week. Am trying that it works with my regular BSNL SIM (I have taken the monthly subscription for 3G services). But with no success for last few days. On inserting the Sim, it recognizes the Sim (since it asks to unlock the sim) but thereafter fails to take or make any calls. Pls Help.

    • amida168

      If your iPhone 3G is locked with a certain carrier, you need to unlock it first.

  • Mark

    Thank you. did the reset and all is well…


  • cam

    i have replaced 3 sim cards over 3 days is it possible for me to send my phone in to get fixed ?or is it a write off ?once it stops working in my phone it dose not work in any other phone either its like its formatting my sim after every day only used to happen a couple times a day but id fix it with plane mode i tried all 4 of my old sim cards and it just shows no sim as soon as i put a brand new sim in it works for a day

    • amida168

      Take it to the Apple store and see if they can fix it.

  • shawn

    hey guys and gals…i have the same problem..and for those of you whom dropped your phone and it comes up with the sim card error one of the three metal pins that read the sim card when you install it into your phone has either broke off or is about to break off. that is what happened to mine. i could no figure out why the “No Sim Card” kept comming up and that is why. On the inside of the phone when you push in your sim card there are three metal figers (as i call them) that make contact with the underside of your sim card and transfer the info to your phone, well one of those fingers on my was barley hanging on and any little bump or shake and i would get “NO SIM CARD” no for those of you whom get it constanly, these fingers could be broke or just dirty. if they are dirty they do not work hence “NO SIM CARD” comes up. I’ve fixed many iphones in my days and i know how to get in and out of them with ease, but i would not suggest doing this if you have no experince. bring it in to a authorized dealer or to a cellphone repair shop most major cities should have one or two of them. it should not cost more than $50 to fix and make sure you mention what i said above or they will try to bill you for trouble shooting the problem, this way they start right from there…..hope this helps everyone….

  • longstrider

    I had the same problem. Took apart the phone and it turns out that there is a minute microswitch at the bottom of the sim card slot that detects if the simcard holder is in. I just added a small bit of pvc tape to the bottom of the sim card holder to help activate the switch and hey presto it has worked ever since. Before I added the tape the switch was not activated and the no sim card message would be displayed. After I added the tape switch was activated and normal service resumed. I assume that dropping the phone just activates the switch by and is not a very reliable fix. A new sim card holder is probably the best fix but the tape works just fine

  • CatTieen

    I’m having the same problem. Everything you suggested worked. But I have to do it every time I set my phone down, in my bag, or in my pocket. I think its my loose sim tray. I want to try taping it. My sim jiggles up and down. Where shall I tape it, towards the bottom or top??

  • paul

    tapping your iphone on the palm of your hand, like you would an unopened pack of cigarettes, seems to also do the trick.

  • Clive

    I have found a fix for this problem. Go to this site for details. All you need is some sellotape! http://wooservers.com/20100710/fixing-iphone-4g-no-sim-installed-problem/

  • odane156

    thanx this helped me big time

  • Cookie

    Reseting network settings worked for me – thanks for this – would have been really stuck as it wasn’t working for me 🙂

  • Jason

    This worked like a charm. I dropped my phone and then a No Sim error came up. After attempting to shut down and restart, the phone had the same issue. When I reset the setting, everthing worked like a champ!!

  • Marissa

    I dropped my iPhone 3gs and then the no sim shenanigans started as suggested I reset my network settings and then pressed down on the Sim card slot and viola it was back to normal and I haven’t had a problem since. I’ve had my iPhone for years and this is the first and only time I’ve had this problem.

  • mlooney

    Tried this on my brand new iPad. Didn’t work. Opended the SIM tray. And guess what? It was empty. So sometimes when it says No SIM, it means it:)

  • Michelle

    I turned it on and off a few times. the third time it came back with my service!

  • Jay

    thankk you so much tried the 1st step and it worked =]

  • Jason

    This issue is caused by the screen warping the pins that connect to the sim card are directly on the glass. As the screen warps away from the sim card, it gets intermittent or complete loss of contact. Pressing on the top of the screen is a temporary fix, but there is no long term solution to the problem. I had my phone replaced 8 days outside of warranty because of this issue.

  • Kia

    My iphone says “No Sim”. I’m totally sad. One day it works and the next it doesn’t. I was in the middle of a text message when my phone said No Sim. I tried to restart and tap the back of it a little but nothing happened. I have been w/out my iphone for an entire week and 1 day. I guess I’ll stop being stubborn and take it to AT&T.

  • Reggy

    I experienced this No Sim CARD installed MESSAGE on my iPhone 3gs 16GB and this is HOW I fixed it.

    1. Press the home or menu button down to shut the iPhone completely off
    For those that don,t know this its that circle button on the bottom of your iPhone screen.

    2. Take the Sim card out with the smallest paper clip you can find
    The Sim card is located at the top of your iPhone near the microphone hole,
    now look closely for a very small hole opening put the tip of the paper clip in the tiny hole and press down the Sim card should come out with a tiny tray.

    3. Next put the Sim card and tray back in the same slot that it came out of and press the circle button on your iPhone screen to turn it on,now wait till it loads up you will see that the No Sim card installed message is gone.

    4.Don,t worry.You will not loose none of your numbers,pictures,text messages,Emails info or data on your iPhone so don’t panic.
    Hope i helped someone Today.

  • Matias 929

    When i connect the iphone to itunes in the computer, it says ” Seems like the sim card put in is not compatible in this iphone”

    Anyone knows about this problem and knows how to fix it?

    Thank you, please send to my email
    [email protected]



  • Scott

    I had the same problem with my IPhone 4 when I first got it from At&T. I took the SIM card out on the right side of the phone and used a pencil eraser on the gold contacts… This is the same treatment you do on any electronic contact. I have never had the trouble again. I was at the AT&T store to look at covers for the IPad and ask about the problem. They said the manufacturer of the SIM leaves an oily film on the contacts which must be cleaned… Depending on the batch ordered by AT&T, sometimes they are clean and other times they have the oil film… They also said when they snap the SIM out of the plastic card the corner can get chipped or extra plastic is attached to the SIM not letting it seat without moving around… Feel around the edges..


    Iphone’s “NO SIM CARD installed” problem is to throw your cell phone from a height of around 1 feet to the floor with proper insulation of clothy carpet. And don’t forget to turn aeroplane mode on before throwing it. Even i thought it to be a useless and rubbish idea. When i had a feeling that i had to throw it i imagined to throw it from a great height. But when it completely didn’t work then i threw it from a small height then it worked.The problem arises because of the displacement of simcard. So if your iphone is not working and showing “NO SIM CARD installed” problem. Do this atlest 3 times. I am sure your phone will start working. And be confident that your iphone’s glass won’t be broken.

  • Eugen

    I do that with my iphone 3G : First i reset Network Settings and after restart nothing happen . Then i reset all settings to the factory settings. After restart everything is like a new. Thank you. >:D<

  • Cherie

    iphone 3gs Airplane on and off. Great Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  • Chandu

    Hey Guys,
    I am also facing the same problem like No SIM card istalled. I havetried all the ways as explained in this blog.Lastly i am trying one thing that putting a piece of solid paper exactly on the SIM and insert in to the panel along with the SIM.Now it is working fine.

  • johneyboy

    YESSS!!! it worked, thank you! i didnt even get to try the airplane mode on/off hahaa.
    i love it when there are people you can count on on the internet! such a relief

  • shannon

    arw my iphone 3gs wont come on and wont accept any sim :s which means its not letting me register it im really baffled and dont know what to do i want 2 cry :'(

  • george

    Find an old unneeded cell phone that uses a sim card. Break off one of the copper colored sim card contacts on that cell phone. It looks like a thin strip of metal.

    After taking off the face plate of the iPhone 3G:

    Bend the contact into the shape of a semi circle or a smile and slide it into the slot of the missing (broken off) sim card contact on iPhone. If you make it long enough and bend it/curve it enough it will hold itself in place. Install the iPhone sim card tray with the sim card in it and make sure the contact you installed stays in place. The sim card pressing against it will help keep it in place. Put the iPhone back together and it should work.

    I had similar problem on my iPhone 3G. The iPhone 3G was working when I gave it to my wife who took out the sim card to put it in her blackberry. I didn’t realize she broke it until I went through all the trouble of updating the baseband to 6.15.00 running iOS 4.2.1. I used Pwanage and Untrasn0w and then kept getting a sim card not installed error. I read a post that mentioned the a sim contact is broken or the sim card tray is not depressing a type of circuit breaker that also tells the iPhone a sim card is installed. In my case the sim card contact was broken off. No sign of it in the iPhone. I did the above and am ecstatic. I had an old broken cell phone in the house, didn’t have to buy parts and was able to do it in about half an hour taking my time.

    BTW: This iPhone 3G also had the wifi problem. Not sure what fixed it. Might have been when I updated it to iOS 4.2.1. Wifi now works like it was never broken. I also disconnected and reconnected the antenna before I did the update but that didn’t seem to resolve the issue. Maybe it was both the reseating of the antenna and the iOS update. Who knows. Good luck!!

  • amy

    just called att and asked for a puk code. they went through it went me and it worked.

  • Mike

    I have the iphone3gs it was unlocked thru Cydia so i could use my tmobile sim card..it worked alright at first, then when i tried to upgrade to ios5 i got stuck at the restore screen asking for my country n language preference,and then get stuck at the activating iPhone screen.. it refuses to activate because it says no sim card installed..Im hurt, please help!

  • dmh1187

    NO SIM CARD INSTALLED….WHY……THIS IS WHY………………….My daughters I PHONE 3gs took a swim is some cola, so I cleaned the internals with alcohol. Then I bought all new part except for the MOTHERBOARD, great it ALL works except it says NO SIM CARD. The problem was that when the SIM card tray is installed it does not go in far enough. When you open the phone up & look where the SIM card bottoms out at, there is a LITTLE switch (just 2 gold wires running from left to right). Make sure your SIM card is in & the phone turned on, take something and open the contacts up (try a tooth pick). If this works you need to put something between the contact permanently or something between the bottom of the SIM card tray and the top of the switch. It may take some trial and error to get right but it will work…..

  • tash over 70

    I have found that if a “no sim installed” is displayed when in fact there is a sim installed, there is a problem with the brass contact at the bottom of the sim tray, if the contacts are not seperated when the sim is installed then you must relocate the logic board by loosening the 7 screws that attach it to the case and ever so slightly move the board to the top of the case until the points seperate. Then you will get a service notice that you are connected (if you have a valid sim)
    Hope this helps someone,let me know

  • She

    Thanks for the tip..Worked for me.

  • minos

    not working with i phone 4 ios 6.0.1