If you’ve ever experienced the dreaded “SIM Not Valid” error on your iPhone, then you know how frustrating it can be. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of ways to fix an invalid SIM error that doesn’t involve throwing it across the room in frustration…. or is that just me? Anyway, here are all the steps to do to don’t require that you throw it away and buy a new phone – there are some easy things you can do right now that will fix this issue and have you staring mindlessly at your phone in no time!
Before ANYTHING, Check If Your iPhone is SIM LOCKED
If you put in a new SIM card and get this error, over 90% of the time it’s because the iPhone is locked to a cellular carrier. This means that the phone is “locked” to a specific cellular carrier and will only accept their SIM card.
To check your iPhone SIM status, go to Settings > General > About > Carrier Lock.
If it says “Locked,” then you’ll need to contact your carrier to unlock the phone or use a SIM unlock service that can unlock your iPhone online remotely. If your iPhone’s Carrier Lock says NO SIM Restrictions, then you can skip the next one and go straight to the one about blowing.
SIM Unlock Your iPhone From Any Carrier Online
If your iPhone SIM is locked, you can use an online iPhone unlocking service that can remove your SIM lock with just your iPhone’s IMEI number. These services charge a small fee, take a few days, and can unlock your iPhone even if it’s financed, under contract or in some cases, blacklisted. We recommend ONLY using reputable unlocking services to avoid scams or issues.
If your iPhone’s Carrier Lock says “NO SIM Restrictions”, continue troubleshooting blow:
Eject, Blow & Reinsert the SIM Card
The first step to try after confirming your iPhone is SIM unlocked, is physically resetting your SIM card by ejecting/removing it from the iPhone for about 10 seconds (blowing on it like a SNES game cartridge helps) and then putting it back in. You may laugh now, but this will often fix any connection issues with the SIM card itself.
If this does not work, don’t fret — there are still other ways
Bad SIM card? Try a Different SIM Card
Maybe your SIM card is bad, or your iPhone doesn’t support it. To find out if this is the case, simply try using a different SIM card on your phone. Maybe you are the type of person that has SIM cards lying around all over the place, but if not, you can also borrow someone else’s SIM card to see if it works in your phone. If the new SIM card works without any error messages, then you know that it is the old SIM card that needs to be replaced.
Turn On Your iPhone’s Airplane Mode
Sometimes an invalid SIM error is caused by interference from other cellular signals. To fix this, put your phone in Airplane Mode and then turn it off. This will enable your phone to reset itself, hopefully eliminating the error.
Shutdown & Restart Your iPhone
If nothing else works, restarting your iPhone or iPad may be an excellent way to fix this issue. Simply press and hold the power button until you see the Apple logo and then your phone will restart. Alternatively, you can go to Settings > General and select Shut Down at the bottom. Once restarted, check if it connects. If not, you may need to continue reading.
Check for Carrier Settings Update
The iPhone might be having trouble connecting with its carrier’s network due to outdated or invalid carrier settings. To check and update your carrier settings, go to Settings > General > About and if there is an available update for the carrier settings, it will appear here. This process can take up to 10 minutes, so make sure you have enough time before attempting this.
Reset Network Settings
If all else fails, resetting your network settings may help. Unfortunately, aside from the cellular settings, this will also reset Wi-Fi networks and passwords, and VPNs and APNs that are used for MMS messages and internet access. To do this go to Settings > General > Reset and select Reset Network Settings. Once the reset is complete, check if your phone is able to connect to a cellular network.
If none of these steps have worked, then you may need to update your iPhone’s operating system. To do this go to Settings > General and select Software Update. If an update is available, download and install it and that should fix the issue with your SIM card.
NOTE: If you have an older iPhone model (iPhone 6 or earlier) updating to the latest iOS version may not be available, or may slow it down.
Apple Store Genius Bar
If none of these fixes work, our 10th and last option is getting someone to actually physically check your iPhone. You may need to visit an Apple Store or schedule an appointment at their Genius Bar for further help as it may be a hardware issue with your iPhone.
We hope that these 10 steps have given you some insight into how to fix the SIM Not Valid error on your iPhone. Whether it’s blowing on and ejecting/reinserting your SIM card, trying a different sim card, turning on Airplane mode, restarting or resetting network settings, updating carrier settings or iOS – there are many options available for troubleshooting this common issue. If none of these fixes work then don’t hesitate to visit an Apple Store as they should be able to help you out with further assistance. Good luck!