Fixing iPhone 4 “No-Sim Installed” Problem


We recently bought several iPhones 4 for our company employees in order to show how much we value them (this is true, guys!).

However, after using the new phones for a while we encountered a problem that some of them could not see the sim-card installed in them. The thing is that the SIM cards used by the new iPhones are smaller than those used in previous models. The new format is called “micro-sim” and the SIM cards seem to be at least one third smaller than the normal sims. Micro-sims look like this:

Picture by Gizmodo (Source)

Unfortunately, to our great disappointment, at least two of the 5 iPhones we bought encountered the following problem:

We tried searching on the Internet for a solution but couldn’t find one and decided to dig into the problem ourselves (I`m sure our technicians were quite happy to do something not related to servers…).

What we discovered was what seemed to be a design problem of the mechanism ejecting the sim card tray in the new iPhones.

On the following picture you can see that when you insert a needle or a paper-clip into the tiny hole on the right, the sim card tray pops-out due to the pressure coming from the top part of the mechanism.

The problem is that the top part of the mechanism seems to have a design flaw and sometimes it touches the metal contacts on the sim card making a short circuit. As a result, the phone stops recognizing the sim.

When we found what the problem was we knew how to solve it. So here is the solution.

1.First, take some thick double sided adhesive tape and cut a small piece of it.

2. Second, stick that small piece of tape to the side of the sim tray as shown on the picture below.

3. Not put the sim card into tray and insert the tray back into the phone. Now the tape will prevent the top part of the ejecting mechanism from making a short circuit with the sim card.

So far we have been using our iPhones without a problem but it would be better if Apple recongized the problem and improved the design of the tray mechanism.

Please also note – we take no responsibilty for broken iphones whatsoever. Good luck!

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P.S. One of our readers suggested another way of overcoming the problem. His solution is to put some tape on top of the SIM card as shown on the picture below. This should also prevent the short circuits but we have not tested this solution yet.

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P.P.S. We still have some “special deal” servers for $20 in stock. If you are interested, do check them out!

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50 Comments

  1. Thank you guys. The lady at att was useless and I didn’t know what inwas going to do. Thanks to your tip I’m out of the woods! Thanks

  2. Bought an iPhone4 on 6/11/2011. Had this pop up today. I put a piece of masking tape exactly where you indicated and voila!…solved the problem. Still going to take it in, but this was a nice quick fix, thank you!

  3. The nail polish worked for me. Had to cycle Airplane mode on an off to get the sim card reconized afer the fix, but once and done. Seems to have improved reception as well.

  4. hi I’m from the UK i bought my iphone 4 for £349.00 in Tesco on the o2 network with a 12 month £20 contract it spot on the hole time it was unlock through itunes i went with giffgaff who use o2 network as well tariff very very good the first month no probe then bang no sim card installed i have tried everything on the net and no go to have to put a bit of tape in a £49.00 phone is ridiculous and scandalous
    apple would need to head out of there A * s’
    and fix this instead of pushing 4s and 5 phones
    ps the tape and every thing i tried did NOT work still no phone

  5. I am having same problem, can you please let me know where exactly I need to put that tape, as I didn’t understand from three images given by you. I am using Gevey Sim to unlock my iphone. So I didn’t got your point some tape on top of the sim, please explain.

  6. I placed a thin sliver of scotch tape along the edge of the SIM where the metal contacts are closest to the metal housing (a little different than the pics posted here – along the left edge as you look at those pics). That did the trick. Finger nail polish is also a great idea. Still, kind of a ridiculous problem to release with.

    Make sure you don’t cover any areas where the SIM does need to make contact. After sliding it out a few times you can see the tracks on the metal contacts of the SIM.

  7. If your iPhone is less than a year old, just take it to an Apple store and they will replace it free of charge, I had to take one back because it burnt out some how.

    Now with the new one I’m getting the “no sim installed” problem. I’ve had this phone less than a year, but its been more than a year since I actually bought it. hmmm.

    Also the bumper case has ruined the phone, its put dents down one side and scrapes round one of the top corners. Ive temporarily fixed the “no sim installed” problem with two pieces of tape, and will probably just wait for the iPhone 5… Praying for a June july release.

  8. This worked for me: Instead of putting a small piece of tape on the location indicated in the photo below step #2, i put nail polish on that spot. It worked instantly.

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  10. Tried both the tape and fingernail polish but no luck!!!! What will I do … so hard without a phone!

  11. Tried both the tape and fingernail polish trick but no luck!!!!
    What will I do … so hard without a phone!

  12. Wow, was really skeptical about this but tried it anyways. I used a needle to pop out the sim card and then cut a tiny piece of tape and placed it over it as depicted on the bottom 3 pictures. it actually WORKED :D!

  13. I seem to have found a solution. If u have an old iPhone 4 switch out the sim tray with the new iphone4 s tray. U can see the new one is slightly thinner then the old one So far so good.

  14. Had the same problem with my 4s. On my third Sim card and so far so good. Apple needs to fix. Maybe a re-design and swap of the Sim tray is in order. Caused me two days of grief and lots of calls to my carrier and Apple. Glad i am not the only one. If it happens again i’m off to Apple for a new phone!!

  15. Ya switching the trays out works great. My 4s is still working perfect an when I did switch the trays out. The 4s instantly found the sim no searching. So good luck to everyone hope u can get the tray switched out. I def didn’t want a piece of tape in my new phone.

  16. I had that problem w/ my new 4S a couple of weeks ago. The Airplane mode trick worked once. Then I got the error twice more in the following days. I eventually went back to the Apple store and they gave me a new phone.

  17. Tape in a new phone? What happens when it comes loose & jams everthing up? I took my sim tray out & with a small point file I removed just a bit of metal along that thin rail. Angled it back a little too. Seems like the best idea to me. Plus I ran out of fingernail polish doing my toenails. Duh.

  18. Heres another idea don’t buy an iPhone or get rid of the current one you own like I’m going to and go to android you don’t have the problems like you do with apple and if there is an error it’s usually just software thus being a very simple update fix unlike the new iPhone where it’s had every problem in the world let me just name a few of them, this problem for one, yellowing dots on screen (which FYI they have had the same problem with EVERY IPHONE LAUNCH), battery problems which they thought they had fixed with the software update but the majority of the people still have the problem, iPhone still having reception issues thus still being rated one of the worse phones for reception Even after their “brilliant” idea of an external antenna, Siri problems….I mean I could go on…I mean I’m sorry I was a firm believer of the iPhone but are starting to realize that after the iPhone 3GS (which in my opinion was the best iPhone) they have gone just down hill and in my opinion can’t compete with android when android is coming out the same phone as far as having the same features as the iPhone 4s but being way cheaper or totally surpassing it cause I’m sorry all the iPhone 4s did was copy what android has had for a year like the drop down menu the 8 mp camera and such. The last thing I have to say is that apple better step it up next release or they’re out for good cause they are losing ground and losing it fast!

  19. just tried the tape technique, so far so good. I’ve had this problem for the last couple of months & hopefully it continues to work. Thanks for the info!

  20. Señores con lo que cuesta el telefono y se conformais poniendole una cinta en en Sim, como os falle fuera de la garantia haber a quien os quejais.

  21. I’ve had my iPhone 4 for over a year and just started to get this issue last week. I like Williams idea the best. I think I will just throw this piece of junk in the landfill with all the other iPhones. Not impressed with Apple at all.

  22. I’m amazed. The fingernail polish trick worked for me immediately. Apple has to send all 4s users a new sim card tray eventually, don’t they?

  23. As an update to this post, the tape solution described here did NOT work for me, but theiPhone 4S “No SIM Installed” error was fixed after i got a NEW SIM card from AT&T. I’m now going to replicate all the design flaws as discussed in other conversations and see if this SIM card error is related to those. I’m still holding any investing on Apple for a while due to this design errors and lack of interest from Apple.
    If this helps to those that do not want to get a new SIM card and still trust in Apple, Apple is proposing to “Restore from backup”, Apple reported that fix at the same time i was getting the new SIM card so i didn’t have enough time to try it. See link here:
    Posted on Dec 15th, 2011:
    “iPhone 4S displays ‘No Service’ or ‘No SIM Card Installed’
    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4148
     
    Let the iPhone users’ community know your results.
     
    Good luck!!

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  25. guys need help urgently……

    i was running my i4 locked on at&t carrier for 1 year through gevey sim. yesterday i just got problem in cydia apps so i just try to reinstall it. but after thet my phone software was not working properly then i installed new software which was i running previously though out a year. now it is showing me msg “no sim card install”…… if there is some problem in my sim then i have unlocke iphone too and the same sim is working fine in that unlock mobile….

    so pls help me guys…. is there problem in gevey sim? should i try an other gevey sim????

    need your urgent comments……

  26. Thanks so much for this! I had a small panic attack when I thought I’d have to replace my phone! So simple!

  27. nail polish didn’t work for me however that last untested photo of the sliver of tape across the top of the sim card has indeed worked for me, so far. thanks again for the tips. just had this f#$%ing phone for a week! nope, didn’t buy from apple bought an unlocked elsewhere (as i live overseas) so the phone just may end up being an expensive hand-held game if this trick doesn’t last long.

  28. I brought a factory unlocked iphone 4 for 1000$ in the black market as it was not launched in my country officially. Worked fine for 3 months.. Then the work nightmare in the morning came up… I found my phone very hot and it was showing No SIM. Changed the SIM and tried everything! Could not get any help from the apple service center or the internet.. And then i made a video and blew the phone with my pistol! And today i am reading this webpage.. I wish i never do that to my phone and this was posted before… 🙁

  29. You guys are AWESOME. My Orange SIM in the UK is stamped out slightly differently from the one shown in your photos, and the contacts have a slightly different geometry. I suspect that my short-circuit was occurring down the long side of the holder, rather than at the top. Suffice to say that dressing this edge with sticky tape using the same logic as your explanation provided me with a working solution all the same. I’m not sure if Apple should take all the blame on this problem, as it is my opinion that if the SIM contacts were perfectly positioned at the centre of the holder, a short wouldn’t occur. We don’t know what design rules and tolerances Apple issued to the people providing us with SIMs – when I compare my SIM with the one in your photo the whole layout and position is completely different. ANYWAY – thank you very much for your helpful blog post, you really sorted out my problem!

  30. Tape worked great. regardless of fix used, thank you for finding the problem. Our provider was useless also. so I was pleased to try this and thankful when it worked. I will forward your name to others.