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Can You Update iPhone With No SIM Card?

Can You Update iPhone With No SIM Card?

Updating your iPhone software isn’t always a straightforward procedure, especially when you’re met with various error messages preventing the update. If you’re an iPhone owner and do not use a SIM card, you may wonder whether these errors are related to the absence if SIM.  

Is a Sim Required for an iOS Update?

You don’t need a SIM card to update your iOS unless your phone hasn’t been activated and configured. In the latter case, you’ll need a SIM to go through the activation process and enter your personal details before you can update your iPhone’s software.

Apple has added this protective measure against thefts, requiring a SIM card and your Apple ID initially in order to perform any iOS update. 

Will I Get Locked Out of My iPhone After I Update It Without a Sim Card?

Software updates have nothing to do with your SIM card, your phone won’t lock you out if you update it without a SIM . 

However, you will need access to your Apple ID and have the phone configured and activated before starting an iOS update.

To see if an iPhone is active and configured to run, follow these steps:

  1. Go to iUnlocker on your Windows or Mac device.
  1. Click on “Check IMEI”. 
  1. Type in your device’s IMEI. If you don’t know your device’s IMEI, here’s how you can access it. 
  1. Click “Check”.
  1. You can see all your device details from here. If the “Past First Activation” option is marked “Yes”, this means that your device is activated and configured. 

If the IMEI appears as locked, ask the iPhone’s original owner to activate it themselves. If they’re unable to do so, it means that the phone is permanently locked and possibly stolen. 

How Can I Update My iPhone Without Cellular?

If you have a weak cellular signal or simply don’t have a SIM card for network data, there are other alternatives you can use to update your iPhone. 

However, keep in mind that you’ll need internet access, either through a WiFI or someone’s personal hotspot, to carry out the update. Here are a few methods: 

Use ReiBoot

Tenorshare Reiboot is a desktop application that can help you update your iPhone’s software without needing cellular WiFi on your phone. However, you will need to have WiFi up and running on your computer. Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Download and install ReiBoot on your computer, then run the application
  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer through a USB cable and connect it with ReiBoot. 
  1. Next, click on the “Repair Operating System” option through “Download”, choose the latest firmware you want to install on your iPhone.
  1. After download is complete, click “Standard Repair” to install the updated software on your iPhone. 
  1. After that, click “Download” to get the latest firewire package.
  1. Once the package is downloaded, click on “Start Standard Repair”

Once the repair is completed, your iPhone will automatically restart and all your data will not be erased.

Use a Macbook

Instead of using a third-party application, you can also use your MacBook to install the latest updates on your iPhone. Here’s how:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. Go to your MacBook’s “Finder” and search for your iPhone. 
  1. Select your iPhone > click on the “General” tab on the top of the screen.
  1. Click “Check For Update”.
  1. If updates are available, click on “Download and Update” to get the latest version of iOS on your phone. 


iPhone updates sometimes come with a few bugs and glitches. If you’ve updated your iOS but want to revert back the changes, you can use IPSW to download a specific update version. Here’s how:

  1. Head over to the IPSW website, select your iPhone model, and download the iOS version you want. 
  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer > open the iTunes app on your system.
  1. If you’re using macOS, Click ‘Options’ and ‘Update’ simultaneously. If you’re on Windows, click ‘Shift’ and ‘Update’ at the same time. 
  1. Select the IPSW file you download > click open > let iTunes do the job. 

How to Update iPhone Without Data or WiFi Connection?

How to Update iPhone Without Data or WiFi Connection?

If your phone runs out of cellular data and you don’t have a WiFi connection nearby, you can always update your iPhone by creating a hotspot on a spare phone. 

Your iPhone will consider it as a WiFi connection and download the latest iOS update on your device. 

If your other device is an android, here’s how you can enable its hotspot. If it’s an iPhone, however, here’s what you’ll need to do: 

  1. Head over to your iPhone’s Control Center. If you’re using iPhone 8 plus or a previous model, you need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen. If you’re using a newer model, swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen. 
  1. Tap on your Mobile Data to turn it on. 
  1. Next, tap the Personal Hotspot button to turn it on.

After the hotspot is turned on, go to your first  iPhone and open Settings → Wi-Fi to select the hotspot you just enabled. 

Once you’re done, you can head over to “Software Updates” to update your iOS to the latest version. 

Can You Remove Sim Card While Phone Is Updating?

If you’re updating your iOS through Wi-Fi, taking out your sim will not affect the update as long as your iPhone is activated and configured.  

Of course, if you’re using your iPhone’s cellular data to download the update, taking out the sim will immediately halt the update.

In general, we don’t recommend removing a sim card while your phone is updating since there’s a high chance it may lead to data errors. 

There’s also a possibility that taking out your SIM during an update may interrupt the current flowing inside your iPhone, damaging the hardware and your SIM. 

Can You Sync the iPhone Without Sim Card?

Syncing your iPhone with other devices allows you to mirror files, images, and videos across all your devices. So if you download an image on your Macbook, you’ll be able to access that image through your iPhone as well. 

Fortunately, iPhone does not need a SIM card to sync with other devices.

However, to activate your iPhone or restore its firmware, your phone does require an active SIM card. 

See this guide for how to sync your iPhone with any non-Apple device. To sync your iPhone with a Macbook, here’s what you’ll need to do: 

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Macbook with a USB cable
  2. Use the Finder sidebar to locate and choose your iPhone.
  1. From the top, you can choose the type of content you want to sync between your iPhone and Macbook. 
  1. Next, click on the check box beside “Sync [content type] onto [your iPhone’s name]”. 

This will start the syncing process between both your devices. Make sure not to disconnect your iPhone while the process is running.

You can repeat steps 3 and 4 to sync all types of content between your iPhone and Mac. You can also choose to sync selected items e.g. your favorite songs or a book you want to read. 

Once done, make sure to tap the eject button before you disconnect the USB to safely remove your iPhone from your Mac 

Is iCloud Required for iOS Update?

iCloud has nothing to do with your software update, although you do need your iTunes and App Store to be logged in to for the upgrade to occur. 

Moreover, if your iCloud was disabled before the update, you’ll need to enable it once the update is completed with your iCloud’s password.

Nevertheless, it’s always safe to backup all your data on iCloud before any iOS update since it safeguards your essential documents and photos in case of an error or failure, allowing you to restore it later. 

Why Does My iPhone Show “Invalid Sim” or “No Sim”?

The “Invalid Sim” or “No Sim” error message can be caused by several reasons, including your SIM being damaged or dislodged from the SIM slot. Read on as we discuss the various reasons and the solution to removing this error message:  

Damaged tray

Your phone might be unable to detect your SIM card because the tray it is placed in is damaged. An impaired tray may not be pushed in correctly, leading your phone to act as if no SIM is inserted and show the “No SIM” error message.  

It’s also possible that your sim tray has accumulated dust and debris, preventing your SIM card from being detected by your iPhone. 

To troubleshoot both of these scenarios, you’ll need to open up your SIM tray, check for any damages and re-insert your SIM into the slot. 

You can get a SIM ejector tool to open your sim tray yourself; however, you may want to take your iPhone to an Apple outlet. 

SIM not inserted properly

New iPhone owners often insert the SIM the wrong way. This often leads to your phone not detecting the SIM and displaying relevant error messages. 

Take out the sim tray and re-insert the sim into the slot. Following the indentations on your sim card, you’ll be able to figure out the correct orientation for your SIM. 

Make sure to firmly press in the SIM tray once you’re done to make sure it’s firmly clasped in. 

If you’re unable to take out your SIM tray or insert the card correctly, you can either take your iPhone to an Apple outlet or check out this guide for further assistance. 

iPhone needs a restart

When you restart your iPhone, any software which is stuck in its current state or is malfunctioning is restarted from scratch. This can often help reset any conflicting software that’s preventing your SIM from being detected. Here’s how to restart your iPhone:

  1. Push down and quickly release the Volume Up button and do the same with the Volume Down button. 
  1. Push and hold down the Side button until the Apple logo shows on the screen. If you see a black screen, the device is force restarting itself. 

iOS update

If the error messages persist, check to see if there’s an iOS update available. Apple issues software updates from time to time to fix glitches that may be causing troubles like undetected sim cards. Here’s how to check for an update:  

  1. Go to Settings → General → Software Update.
  1. If there’s an update available, it will show you a Download and Install button underneath.
  1. Install the latest updates and provide your iPhone’s passcode if prompted.

Make sure your device has a stable internet connection and ample battery life while the software is updating. Once done, you can check if the error message is eliminated and your cellular signals are displayed in the top right corner of your iOS. 

Get your SIM checked

It may also be possible that your iPhone works  fine and the real issue lies with your sim card. In this case, you can take your SIM to your carrier and get it checked. 

Your SIM  provider will let you know if your sim has been suspended or canceled; which may be preventing your iPhone from detecting the sim. 

If appropriate, they’ll replace your SIM card with a new one to resolve any physically or conflicting issues that may exist. 

Before rushing out to your carrier’s customer center, you can try swapping your SIM with another SIM card that is working on another phone. This will allow you to see if the problem is with your iPhone or sim. 

Factory reset

If all of the above methods fail to work, a factory reset may solve your SIM issues. Resetting your iPhone clears any conflicting third-party apps and user settings that may be affecting your SIM’s ability to work. 

Here’s how to factory reset your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings → General → Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  1. Press “Erase All Content and Settings” and then “Continue” to reset all your iPhone’s data.  

Apple repair

If all the above solutions fail to fix the error message, you may need to take your iPhone to an Apple outlet and get it diagnosed for any hardware-related issues. 

A faulty tray slot or buggy software can often be the cause, which can be resolved for free if your iPhone is in warranty. 

If your phone’s warranty has expired, you’ll can still get free repair services if you have AppleCare+.