If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 23 August 2010

iPhone Bodge

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.


  1. My faithfull old 6310i finally gave up after I dropped it in the sea. I desperately needed to replace it as all my hands free kit etc were set up for it. I found some folk who were doing 'service exchange' 6310i s. I sent them my dead one and for a mere £85 or so I got back an 'as new' reconditioned replacement - seems like the rest of the World agrees with you - 6310s were ace.

  2. I had one of the originals, and when that died (well, went from reliable to intermittent) I actually found an eBay seller who had a batch of brand new ones, unfulfilled contract or something. It cost me £100, but it was worth it. It was only having a chat with a BlackBerry user that made me even think of having a smart phone. I wish I hadn't bothered. I thought I would love all this surfing on the move stuff, but I hardly use it. It's painfully slow. The MCN Ride Logger is a pretty cool app, though.

  3. This is getting me thinking. I wonder if my iPhone SIM card wkill fit the 6310i? Watch this space ...


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