Is my iPhone compromised?
November 10, 2012 5:23 PM   Subscribe

I just got my cracked iPhone screen fixed at a stall in Chinatown. I left it with them for an hour. When I picked it up and turned it on, it said there was 'No SIM installed'. A restart fixed it. I don't if it's necessary to remove the SIM to fix the screen, but if they have, could they do anything nefarious with it?
posted by unliteral to Technology (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm. They could've cloned your SIM, if they had the right tools.
posted by limeonaire at 5:27 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Assume they have. What does that put me at risk of?
posted by unliteral at 5:35 PM on November 10, 2012

Are you sure its your phone, and not one of the same model they just swapped the sim with? Serial #s the same?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 5:39 PM on November 10, 2012

This may not be your phone. Do you have your phone's serial number or the box it came in?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 5:40 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Okay, I just googled it. I'll keep an eye on my phone bill.
posted by unliteral at 5:43 PM on November 10, 2012

Yes, it's my phone. It has a crack on the back too.
posted by unliteral at 5:46 PM on November 10, 2012

I've gotten that on my phone before. I just assumed it's a weird bug.
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:59 PM on November 10, 2012

I am by no means an expert, but I think SIMs can only be cloned if they are old. Like, 8 or 10 years old. And even if it was cloned, I think only one phone can be "registered" to one SIM, so either they wouldn't be able to use it, or yours would stop working (in which case you'd obviously call your provider immediately).

But your question was "Is my iPhone compromised?". I guess they could have rooted it and installed some nefarious software. Whether this is do-able in an hour, or even possible, probably depends on what model you have. (I'm not an iPhone person)

I have used these little mobile phone repair shops several times and have never had any issues. I wouldn't worry too much. SIMs can become dislogded when the phone case is open, even if they didn't need to remove it.

But yes, if you're worried, keep an eye on your bill.

If you're really paranoid, call your provider and explain your concerns and ask for a new SIM, and factory reset your phone.
posted by Diag at 6:04 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

If this is an iPhone 3/3s, I've replaced the screen on a couple of them. I took out the SIM tray when I did so. It's been a while, and I can't recall whether it was *required*, but I liked to get all extraneous stuff out of the way so the SIM tray or SIM card didn't get in the way.
posted by chazlarson at 6:30 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've gotten that. For no reason. Restarted iPhone fixed it.
posted by atomicstone at 6:40 PM on November 10, 2012

The "No SIM Installed" is a bug of some sort, probably not related to your screen being replaced. Mine did the same thing and eventually it got so bad Apple replaced the phone.
posted by brentajones at 6:50 PM on November 10, 2012

I just had to replace my iPhone 4 because it stopped detecting the SIM card. Restarting it only worked for a while.

I had it insured through [Big Box Store] so the replacement was "free." After they swapped out my contacts, I had to sign something that advised changing all my passwords after their technicians handled my phone. This would probably go double for a fly-by-night place. So yes, I'd say it's at least compromised with a small C.
posted by gentian at 6:50 PM on November 10, 2012

Sounds like your SIM tray got knocked slightly loose when they were working on the device. Just take it out and slide it back in firmly.
This is common on the iPhone and has happened to me.
posted by w0mbat at 8:00 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sometimes the SIM card will come loose if you replace the screen, as w0mbat said. Just use the end of a paperclip to pop out the tray, settle it in there well, and then pop it back in.
posted by araisingirl at 9:04 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

My wife's LG Lucid has had a no sim warning come up once and after a reboot it recognized the sim and set it up for use again. She lost part of her running playlist but that is all that was changed. She hadn't even dropped her phone once and didn't do anything obvious to precipitate it.

We have no idea what the cause was but everything has worked fine for a couple of weeks since.
posted by srboisvert at 10:01 PM on November 10, 2012

I think it would be a best-practices thing to take out any removable memory cards from a device before service, lest static discharge somehow zap it.
posted by werkzeuger at 5:53 AM on November 11, 2012

Just go to a retail location for your carrier and request a SIM card replacement.
posted by eatcake at 10:39 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

My aged iPhone was starting to give me "No SIM Card Installed" message several times a week, requiring a reboot. When I had the last battery changed, I asked about that, and the took the phone apart further (than was required to change the battery), and blew a ton of dust and lint out of it.

It's possible that your phone has been collecting dust internally, and that opening it up to fix the screen moved some of that around. But I wouldn't bet that way. Getting a new SIM card sounds like a sane thing to do (and is an excuse to have any dust blown out of the phone).
posted by dws at 1:23 PM on November 11, 2012

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