3g iphone not reading sims card after update
July 12, 2012 10:01 AM   Subscribe

I updated a iPhone 3g with the latest software & now it won't read the sims card ....

okay... my daughter's phone is a iPhone 3g 16 gig. works fine. I bought (what i thought) was the same phone for my son (my intention is just for him to use to play games/movies), used. After I examined it, this 3g 16 gig has a video camera capability. I took the sims card out of my daughter's phone & put it into this phone... & it worked just fine.

So, i wanted my daughter to have that (video capability).. so my plan was to give the 'new' phone i just bought to her, & then give her's to him... So the first thing i did was a full back up of my daughter's phone.

I then plugged in the new phone to iTunes & it immediately said it needed the new software update... so i did the update. When the phone restarted, i went through the setup ... (English, USA, connect to wifi,...) then on the last step which was activate phone.

iTunes came back saying, "Could not activate phone"... "your iPhone could not be activated because the activation server is temporarily unavailable. Try connecting your iPhone to iTunes to activate it, or try again in a couple of minutes. If this problem persists, contact apple support at apple/support.com". which of course i did plenty of times.

I then searched google a bit... i then put the phone into DFU mode & restore... which i tried & got the same results...

Now, i can still put the sims back in her old phone & it works fine... but now i have this other phone I can't seem to make work now....

I'm on a Macbook pro... & of course i confirmed my iTunes software was up to date.

I went to AT&T twice ... but they said they couldn't help & to goto the apple store or something. Of course when i called apple about this, they said any problems with the sims card must be addressed by the carrier (even though i told them the problem seemed to start when i updated the iPhone's software)

I am scheduled to go into the apple store tonight... but i'm sure they'll charge me...assuming they can fix it or not....

posted by foodybat to Technology (8 answers total)
Is it possible that you bought a phone that was jailbroken/unlocked, and when you updated the firmware the phone got locked to a carrier that isn't AT&T?
posted by smitt at 10:27 AM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

First, the notion that one 3G has video and the other doesn't is weird. There is just one iPhone 3G from a hardware standpoint, which does not support video recording out of the box, though there are apps that allow this on the 3G. It seems like perhaps the new phone is actually a iPhone 3GS.

What are the model numbers [on the back]? Full list is here.

That, however, shouldn't affect activating the phone. This is all using AT&T, right, so there are no jailbreak/unlock issues here? I suppose it's possible that the phone has been reported stolen or something which has resulted in the phone being blacklisted for activation [again, I don't know that this is done, but it would be technically possible].

The next thing I would try, were it happening to me, would be to try another AT&T SIM. If you don't have one available, you can buy a prepaid AT&T phone at Target for $20 and put that SIM in. If it still cannot be activated, I think the problem is with the phone [because of a hardware problem or the theoretical blacklisting or the carrier lock suggested by smitt].

After that, I'd probably try jailbreaking the phone and "hacktivating" it.
posted by chazlarson at 10:37 AM on July 12, 2012

BTW, I wouldn't expect the Apple Store to charge you unless they determine the phone needs to be physically repaired or replaced. I've been helped with a variety of things, some of which involved hooking devices up to diagnostics, at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store and have never been charged for anything.
posted by chazlarson at 10:46 AM on July 12, 2012

okay... just to update all.... no the phone is NOT jail broke...

Before i bought this phone, i took the sims card out of my daughter's old phone & put her sims card in it... & it worked fine....

So it's not a jail broke phone & it's not the sims... (just to clarify... at the AT&T store they put in a new sims --- AFTER i did the software update --- and it didn't work....

Last update here is that i'm not familiar with all the model # phones... i guess my daughter has a 3g & I bought a 3gS (as it has a video function that the other doesn't have)... but again, this really shouldn't play any role in activating the phone.

I hope that helps clarify my situation... Good advice so far.... i guess at work, i could jailbreak the phone.... not my real wish...but i suppose it's better than nothing.... any other thoughts???
posted by foodybat at 10:56 AM on July 12, 2012

BTW, it's "SIM" card. Subscriber Identity Module.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:01 AM on July 12, 2012

Right. I'd start with the Apple Store. A standard US 3GS should certainly activate with a standard US AT&T SIM, regardless of software update, assuming the software updates succeeded, which they seem to have.

If it's not, that points to some problem with the phone. Perhaps the phone is blacklisted [again, I don't know for sure if that's a thing that happens, it just came to mind as a possibility] or perhaps the phone is not in fact a standard US 3GS [maybe it's locked to Orange or Rogers or some other carrier] or perhaps some past attempted upgrade bricked the modem [but the fact that it worked at one point with your daughter's SIM argues against those two latter ideas].

So, Apple Store as the first line of defense. Hopefully, they'll plug it into a diagnostic MacBook and say "Ah, it's the whatsis. Fixed!"

You've already tried everything that I would have tried as an at-home diagnostic [except jailbreaking].
posted by chazlarson at 11:37 AM on July 12, 2012

What happened at the Apple store? Just curious as to what the issue was in case I see it myself.
posted by chazlarson at 8:27 AM on July 16, 2012

The apple store told me that they thought it may have been a hardware problem... which i completely disagreed with. So my plan is to reload the previous OS on the phone (which of course the apple people do NOT recommend doing)... I expect that will likely solve my problem.
posted by foodybat at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2012

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