Encountered the dreaded “No SIM card inserted“ error? We wouldn’t want to be in your skin, mostly because we battled the same issue many times. Sometimes the issue isn’t the SIM card itself, which is even more confusing given the text. The good news is that the solution exists, and it is likely one of the first 7 we mentioned. If it isn’t among those, solution 8 is guaranteed to help solve the issue or point you in the right direction. So, don’t let the notification and the lack of the signal lines in the corner scare you, and take this as a challenge. Hyped and ready to begin? Here’s how to fix the “No SIM card inserted“ error.
1. Restart your phone
There’s no need to spend time and energy solving a temporary problem. Hold the Power button for 5 to 10 seconds and choose the Restart option.
2. Use Flight Mode
Some users report using Airplane Mode or Flight Mode is a solution to the “No SIM card inserted“ error. It disables calling, messaging, and mobile data, and connection to the network. Don’t forget to disable it after a minute or two. Here’s how to find it:
For Android, it’s in the Quick Settings/notifications menu. Swipe from the top toward the bottom to expand it.
For iOS 13 and later, it’s located in your Control Center. Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen.
3. Clean and reseat the SIM card
If the problem persists after a software reboot, do the hardware equivalent. Open the SIM card slot using the SIM card removal tool, and get the SIM card out. It’s a good idea to take a cotton swab, dab it in alcohol, and wipe the gold chip. Make sure not to touch the chip with your hands while you insert the SIM card again.
4. Activate your SIM card
If the above made no difference, let us ask you this. Are you sure that your SIM card is active? To make it easy for you to answer, we’ll cover it into two cases:
Whether you have a prepaid SIM or postpaid SIM card, the carrier usually requires you to activate it manually. The exact steps and available options vary by carrier. Luckily, we’ve already covered the activation process with:
If yours isn’t on the list, at least you have a point of reference where to look and what’s required.
Every phone number a carrier can disconnect can be transferred to a profitable customer. So, it’s time to ask yourself this. Did you sign the new contract after the expiration date? If you signed up for a limited-time package, have you signed up again? If you’re using a prepaid SIM card or a pay as you go SIM card, did you top up your credit recently? To clarify, most carriers require you to top up a minimal amount every 60-180 days, or else your SIM card gets disabled.
5. Switch SIM card slots
Since most smartphones nowadays support dual SIM, you should have an empty SIM card slot. Simply move your SIM card into the other slot. Turn the smartphone on to see whether you got rid of the “No SIM card inserted“ error. If this works, it should be a permanent solution, depending on the smartphone/SIM card age. For more details, read about the difference between SIM slots 1 and 2.
6. Test your SIM card
Your SIM card might be locked by the carrier. The best way to confirm it is to get a second phone. Use an unlocked version or sold by the same carrier your SIM card belongs to. Insert it, turn it on, and see if the “No SIM card inserted“ error appears. If it does, something’s up with the SIM itself. If it doesn’t, your smartphone is a problem. It doesn’t hurt to try SIM swapping using a different SIM card in your smartphone too.
7. Enable the SIM in software
There’s a chance your SIM card is disabled in software if it’s locked outright. Obviously, if SIM card slots show up as empty rather than disabled, it’s not the culprit. We already described the majority of the required steps in our guide on unlocking a SIM card. Check the headline Steps to enable the SIM card. Those also include ways to search for a network automatically or manually, which can be a solution in itself.
How to enable eSIM
We’d also like to add a few additional steps that pertain to using an eSIM (embedded SIM card). Enabling it isn’t enough – you need the data required to program the MOS chip. Here’s how turning eSIM works:
To enable eSIM on Android, do this:
- Select the Mobile network option (Settings > Network & Internet again)
- Tap on the + icon.
- Tap on Download a SIM instead?
- If asked, tap on Use 2 SIMs.
- Wait for the phone to download the necessary update.
- Set up call, text, and network preferences for the SIM in the same window.
iOS 13 and later
If you have a pending eSIM plan, you’ll see a new notification. Proceed with these steps to start using your eSIM:
- Go to Settings again,
- Tap on Carrier Cellular Plan Ready to Be Installed.
- Tap Continue and wait for the download to complete.
8. Reach out to the carrier
If nothing worked, there’s a bigger issue at play here. One example is that your SIM card is based on GSM or CDMA and thus outdated. Since it lacks proper support for LTE your smartphone runs on, it refuses to work. Whatever the reason might be, it’s best to ask the source, so contact your carrier. If they don’t solve the “No SIM Card Inserted“ error, you’ll at least get free advice and an educated opinion. Buying a new SIM card is always an option, too.