Fix Factory Unlocked iPhone 3GS ‘No SIM Card Installed’ Error After iOS 6 Update

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Just updated to iOS 6 but getting the iTunes error “There is no SIM card installed in the iPhone you are attempting to activate”? Here’s how to fix it.

This is a rather weird issue because you already have your SIM card inserted but iTunes is saying otherwise. What’s even more weird is that you have an iPhone 3GS which is already factory unlocked but won’t activate normally (or if you have an AT&T iPhone, and need to unlock it, click here).

If you have baseband 6.15.00 installed before, for whatever reason iTunes won’t let you activate your iPhone on iOS 6. Apple may have quietly put a this restriction in place. In case you missed the news, you can now downgrade from iPad baseband 6.15.00 to 5.13.04.

Editor's note: learn more by reading our ebook on starting your own iPhone repair & unlock business

Try the following fix:

1. Download redsn0w 0.9.14b2 that can downgrade iPad baseband to 5.13.04 for Windows or Mac. Download original firmware iOS 5.1.1 for iPhone 3GS from here.

2. Launch redsn0w. Go to Extras > Select IPSW button in redsn0w to point to the original firmware you just downloaded.

3. Do a controlled shutdown of your iPhone (“slide to power off”).

4. Return to the first screen and click ‘Jailbreak’. Check the ‘Downgrade from iPad baseband’ checkbox, uncheck Cydia and click Next.

5. Redsn0w will start doing the downgrade and you will see ‘Flashing Baseband’ screen on your iPhone with the Pawnapple icon. DO NOT INTERRUPT your iPhone while baseband flashing is in progress.

6. When done, your iPhone will reboot itself and the baseband should have been downgraded to 5.13.04. Try to connect to iTunes once more and see if it would activate.

If you don’t have an official unlock, you may want to consider using this tutorial.

Any comments or issue?

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Id like to help some people out here… i basically bricked the radio on my 3gs after updating a jailbroken iphone 3GS to ios6… the phone does not recognize sim card so i kind of followed this guide a bit different and i solved the issue, finally!!

    First of all you need to have a bit of experience doing this because I am not going to go into many details.

    1. Use ireb to put the iphone 3GS in DFU mode
    2. Shit+restore on itunes and downgrade to 4.1 (not 5, not 4.3, do 4.1)
    3. Once its dowgraded use redsnow version redsn0w_win_0.9.15b2
    and select EXTRAS
    4. Then select Custom IPSW and choose the same 4.1 you used to downgrade
    5. then go back and select Jailbreak
    6. it will ask you a few options, select ONLY downgrade ipad basebad…. do not install cydia or select any other option except for downgrade baseband (note that if you do not follow the previous step properly selecting the right IPSW this step will not allow you to select downgrade baseband).
    7. after this is done, voila! radio is working again, update to ios6 if you wish by normally updating the iphone through itunes and problem solved!!!

    I hope i save a lot of lives with this one hehe… greetings from canada

  2. I've already downgraded an iPhone 3GS 5.1.1 and all went ok, but when I tried with an iPhone 3GS 5.0.1, Redsn0w freezes in Preparing Ramdisk, then Windows says it failed and shuts down the program. Anyone knows how to fix it?

  3. My iphone 3gs was updated to ios 5.1.1 but it showed recovery mode so i brought a new sim and installed it and now when ever the charge is 40%.iphone switches off and it gets switch off at any time even when i pick a call when the battery is 80%

  4. I need some help here. I have a 3gs that was previously jailbroken and unlocked, I was running ersion 4.2.1 8C148a and modem firmware 06.15.00. (of course my gps was not working). I decided to do a factory unlock of my phone so I could update my version. I did the restore option through my itunes, all went well. When my phone turned back on it was in the configure screen and it will not get a signal using my sim card. I hooked up to itunes to try and configure and it says "no sim card installed". I then read the emails above and decided I needed to try and down my baseband to a newer base band. So i went through several steps that I could find on the internet. I downloaded Iphone2,1_4.2.1_8C148a_restore and using redsnow 0.9.15b3 I tried to downgrade the baseband. I choose the option of Extras- choose ipsw, then choose the one I just mentioned. I then went to jailbreak and went through the process. My redsnow gives me the done signal, however my iphone gets stuck on a part asking me to power back on to normal operating and then do a controlled power off, "slide to power off". I have tried this several times and it always gives me the same message. So now I am stuck with my iphone in configuration mode, not recongizing a sim card by itunes and unable to get it to downgrade the base band. What should I do now? Can someone help me?

  5. Followed all process of "downgrade from iPad baseband 6.15.00 to 5.13.04." but still resulting "No SIM Card", facing problem from last 1 week and no suitable result.
    how to sort this harrasment.

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