Monday, 23 August 2010
I had had the iPhone a couple of months when we went to France. While we were over there, I started getting the message "SIM card not installed". I didn't pay a lot of attention, as a restart always cured it, and assumed it was something to do with connecting to the Orange FR network (thinking about it, of course that doesn't make sense). I went back to Carphone Warehouse with the problem and they assured me that now I was back in the UK it wouldn't happen again.
Well, it did, a few times. Today, it happened again and this time nothing I could do would cure it. I Googled the issue and came up with a solution that has worked for me, so far anyway.
The SIM card fits into the top of the phone in a little tray. You can pop the tray out by pushing a paperclip down the tiny hole on the top. Clean the SIM contacts as a first step. My SIM card was filthy and the tray was covered in dust, presumably because unlike in other phones, the card lives quite near the outside world, rather than under the battery or somewhere safe, and all the crap from your pocket ends up in there. I gave the contacts a wipe with a cloth, dusted everything off, and put it back. Nothing. Even resetting the phone wouldn't bring the SIM back.
Then I did the next thing that I found in Google: put a small piece of sellotape on the back of the SIM card. This worked straight away, and the phone has been fine ever since.
My guess (and I am no expert in these horrible devices) is that there is nothing in the structure of the phone that provides positive pressure on the card, and so the contacts are not firmly pushed against the terminals in the phone. In most other phones I have been inside (and that isn't many), the SIM card has been clipped in place with something to push it securely into contact with the phone terminals. I can't see how the little slide-out tray in the iPhone can do this. The sellotape just gives the card a bit more thickness, and whatever is holding the card to the contacts is doing it a bit more firmly.
The iPhone is a very clever bit of technology, but in some ways it's just crap. It's very poor at getting a signal, and I've lost count of the number of calls I have missed because of the feeble ringtone. Today's total waste of time suggests that it's not very well-designed in terms of mechanical integrity, either. Sometimes I seriously think of resurrecting my faithful Nokia 6310i, which is currently in the car glovebox as an 'emergency' phone. Built like a brick, and with no funky features, but a loud ring, easy texting, crystal-clear sound and an ability to find a signal where no other phone can. Drop it, sit on it, throw it at the dog, and it just keeps working. Why Nokia stopped making them I will never know.