Home > Carrier Lock > 10 Ways to Fix “SIM Not Supported” on Locked or Unlocked iPhone

10 Ways to Fix “SIM Not Supported” on Locked or Unlocked iPhone

My iPhone 11 says:

SIM Not Supported – The SIM card that you currently have installed in this iPhone is from a carrier that is not supported under the activation policy that is currently assigned by the activation server. This is not a hardware issue with the iPhone. Please insert another SIM card from a supported carrier or request that this iPhone be unlocked by your carrier. Please contact Apple for more information.”

What should I do?

Buying a second-hand iPhone is sometimes better than buying a brand-new iPhone.

The biggest benefit is that you’ll save a lot of money. For a mere fraction of the price, you’ll get an (almost) perfect iPhone that works without problems.

The issue is that many second-hand iPhones are carrier locked so you’ll see iPhone “SIM not supported” message when insert your SIM card.

In this article, we’ll be discussing what this message means and how to fix it.

Part 1. What Does “SIM Not Supported” Mean?

All this message means is that the SIM card you’ve inserted cannot be used with your iPhone.

iphone sim not supported

This is due to the iPhone being carrier-locked. If an iPhone is locked to a specific carrier, only SIM cards that have been distributed by that carrier can be used with the iPhone.

The majority of iPhones under contract are locked by default, so it’s likely that if you see this message, you’ll have to go through the process of unlocking it.

However, you may also see the “SIM Not Supported” issue on an unlocked iPhone. Don’t worry, you’ll get this error fixed after reading this guide!

Part 2. The Primary Solutions for iPhone SIM Not Supported Error

Before we dive into the solutions for iPhone SIM not supported, you should check three things.

  • First, we need to check if your iPhone is actually locked and that that is the reason for the error message.
  • Second, we need to find out which carrier it is locked to (this is important for unlocking).
  • Lastly, we must determine if the iPhone is on a blacklist because if it is, you won’t be able to unlock it.

You can find out all of this information by using the a trusted iPhone IMEI Checker such as WipeLock.

This tool will provide you with a full breakdown of details about your device, including the carrier it has been locked to and whether it’s on a blacklist.

wipelock imei checker

What’s more, the report you’ll receive isn’t automatically generated, so you can be assured that it is accurate and reliable.

After confirming that your iPhone isn’t blacklisted, you can go ahead and follow the methods we’ve got below.

1Contact Carrier

Usually, the first thing you should try is contacting the carrier and requesting an unlock. They won’t give you too much hassle over this and it’s usually a straightforward process.

Although the steps will differ depending on the carrier, here’s the typical process:

Step 1 – Get in touch with your carrier’s support team and explain that you want to unlock the iPhone from their network.

Step 2 – At this point, they will likely request some details from you to prove that you are the owner of the iPhone.

Step 3 – After they confirm ownership, they will process your unlock request and your iPhone will be unlocked within 7 days.

If you have the new SIM card

Step 4 – Use the SIM card tray removal tool to take out the old SIM card and place the new SIM card into it.

If you DON’T have the new SIM card

Step 4 – Take a backup of your iPhone’s data.

Step 5 – Factory reset your iPhone, then restore the backup you took.

Our Experience with This Method

Sometimes it can take longer than 7 days but it depends on the specific carrier you are with. There are also some limits to this method.

For instance, you must have had the iPhone activated on the network for at least 12 months – there are other limits, but it all depends on the carrier since they each have different eligibility guidelines.

2Using an iPhone Unlock Service

Something else you can do to unlock your iPhone and bypass the iPhone SIM not supported message is to use an iPhone unlock service such as DirectUnlocks.

These services are very affordable and professional, not to mention they’re by no means complicated.

unlock service steps

You have to submit a few details about your device, such as the iPhone model and IMEI, and the company will unlock your iPhone quickly.

Our Experience with This Method

One benefit of this approach is that these services are much quicker than requesting a carrier unlock as carriers can take up to 7 days whereas these services can take just 24 hours.

If you’re not eligible for a carrier unlock, this is the best method to use.

3Using UB SIM

A particularly advanced method to unlock an iPhone is using the UB SIM, a unique type of SIM card which you insert to unlock the iPhone.

We’d recommend one of the other two methods before this but if you aren’t getting any results with those, here’s how to use UB SIM.

Step 1 – Start by ordering the right component for your iPhone model from the UB SIM page.

Step 2 – Check that your iPhone has the most recent iOS version installed. You can check if updates are available by going to Settings > General> About > Software Update and if an update is available, it will be shown here.

Step 3 – Remove the SIM card tray and take out the old SIM card. Place the new SIM card you want to use into the tray as well as the UB SIM product.

insert ub sim iphone 12

Step 4 – After your iPhone recognizes the new SIM card and the UB SIM is detected, a menu will appear and you should tap on ICCID Mode.

Step 5 – Next, type the most recent ICCID code (at the time of writing, this code is 89014104279605344027).

iphone iccid mode

Step 6 – Tap on Accept after entering the code then complete the activation steps, and your iPhone will then be unlocked.

ub sim setup complete

This is one of the more advanced solutions to resolve iPhone SIM not supported, but it has been proven to work. It’s worth noting that there are a few limits to this method.

Our Experience with This Method

  • Using the UB SIM does not disable iCloud Activation Locks
  • This will only temporarily unlock your iPhone (updating iOS or factory resetting will relock it)
  • If your iPhone is on a blacklist, this will not work

Part 3. iPhone is Unlocked But Sim Not Supported?

After checking with the above IMEI checker then find your iPhone is unlocked but still has “SIM Not Supported” error message?

Taking a simpler approach will be handy for bypassing this error if your iPhone is unlocked.

1Eject and Reinsert

Our iPhones move around in our pockets a lot making it very easy for the components inside of the device to shift around. This includes the SIM card.

In other words, the SIM may have shifted out of the tray and making sure it’s placed properly could fix it.

Just remove the SIM card tray using the pin you got in the iPhone box, take out the SIM card, wipe it with a clean cloth, put it back in the tray, and insert it into your iPhone.

This will force your iPhone to connect to the carrier again.

2Activate on iTunes

Another quick solution is to active your iPhone on iTunes.

All you have to do for this is open iTunes on your computer and connect your iPhone, then click Set Up as New iPhone.

activate iphone itunes

Follow the steps that are shown to fully set up your device and it’ll be ready for SIM cards to be inserted.

3Check if the SIM Card is Active

If you’re using a SIM card that hasn’t been activated (brand new SIMs must be activated before they work), you’ll see iPhone SIM not supported error even it’s unlocked.

Find out if your SIM is active by calling your carrier and asking them to check if your phone number is activated on their network.

If it’s not, they’ll explain to you what must be done next.

4Restart iPhone

Whenever you have an iPhone problem, whether it’s an app not working properly or your SIM card not allowing you to make calls, a quick restart should always be tried.

For newer iPhone models (the iPhone X and newer), hold down both the Side/Lock button along with either of the Volume buttons, swipe the Power Off slider, and after your iPhone is turned off you can turn it back on by holding the Side/Lock button again.

iphone x and later restart

For other iPhone models be sure to check out Appleā€™s guidance, but these all follow similar methods to that above.

This may work for an unlocked iPhone to fix “SIM Not Supported” error.

5Make an Emergency Call

As strange as this sounds, making an emergency call could fix the SIM card not supported issue on an unlocked iPhone.

Start by calling the emergency number for your country (in the USA this is 911, in the UK it is 111 or 999) and as soon as the call is answered hang up.

Press the Side/Lock button once to unlock your iPhone and this may force your SIM card to be supported.

6Reset All Settings

Still experiencing the unfortunate “SIM Not Supported” on your unlocked iPhone?

No problem.

The next method to try is resetting all of the settings. It’s possible that you accidentally changed a vital iOS setting or that the iOS firmware wasn’t installed properly, in which case resetting your settings can refresh them and ensure that they’re properly defined.

ios reset

Regardless of your iPhone model, you can reset the settings through the Settings app. Navigate to General > Reset and select the Reset All Settings option.

After approving this action your iPhone will restart and the settings will be reset.

7Update iOS

Lastly, just like you should always check if restarting your iPhone fixes the problem, you should always check for new iOS versions.

It’s possible that an iOS bug is causing your SIM card issues and that it’s been fixed in a new version.

iphone x softawre update

Go into Settings and tap on General. From here, tap Software Update and your iPhone will scan to check if a newer iOS is available – if there is, go ahead and download and install it now.


When you experience problems like iPhone SIM not supported it’s understandable that you’ll get frustrated and upset with the situations.

Hopefully, after taking the time to work through our guide and try out the different solutions we’ve presented you with, you can remedy the problem and use your iPhone to make phone calls and texts.

If not, reach out to us in the comments or perhaps even visit an Apple store for help!

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Eric is an Apple Certified Independent Technician after gaining AppleCare service certifications for both iOS and Mac. He is passionate about helping people to make the most of their iOS devices.

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