Can Sim Cards Go Bad?


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Back in the 2000s, when I was still a child, there was something that we had to be extremely afraid of while using the phone. I remember a time when my father dropped his Nokia in the tub and we had to remove all the pieces to make sure it works. 

Considering that it was a Nokia phone, it did start up but a simple yellow coloured chip was the only thing that had my father’s attention. He called it a SIM card and he told me that this is exactly what helps me to talk to grandma. I was always fascinated by technology so a simple chip with a yellow sticker could make me talk to grandma who is thousands of miles away!

What exactly is a SIM? Does it stop working after a certain point? What’s the idea behind the same? What happens if there exist some scratches on that yellow surface? Let’s look into the details about this magical yellow card in a Q&A format. They are as follows:-

What is a SIM card?

Ans. Let’s look at the details of how it looks first. I am pretty sure that you must know what a sim card looks like because without that you wouldn’t be able to use your phone or call anyone. Since the advent of the internet, you can even connect to the internet with your SIM card and it is branded in 3g, 4g and now 5g. We would discuss the same later on. As of now, let’s discuss the details about what it is. 

SIM stands for subscriber identification module which means that you are a certain user of a certain company. Whether you use Android or iPhone, you do need a SIM card to make sure that you are connected over the satellite. The small bar that you call the network bar all depends on the same. 

This subscriber identification means that you have your very own personal 17 digit code that is completely unique to you and you alone. This 17 digit code contains your phone number and your country’s registration code. It also has a unique user guide that can be used to make sure that you use it correctly. 

What are some symptoms that indicate that a SIM card has gone bad?

Ans. The main part of this topic would be exactly this right? We want to know what is the main purpose behind the topic of whether SIM cards go bad or not, but you need to first understand the symptoms of this phenomenon. Many times, we fail to realise that it is the SIM that is causing problems. 

These symptoms are as follows:-

  • No SIM card:- Even after properly fixing the SIM card and making sure that you have attached it properly in the tray, if this message pops up or you get no network, then this might mean two things. Either your SIM card is faulty or your phone’s SIM slot has become rusty. 
  • Emergency calls only:- This is another thing that boils the blood of any human being if they see this. No network or emergency calls only means that you won’t be able to call or do anything with your SIM because it is not connected to the nearest cellphone tower. There might be a problem with your SIM card itself rather than jumping up while holding your phone in the air. 
  • Auto-Flight mode:- Sometimes, you might be wondering why my phone is not ringing when it is supposed to and you realise that it was in flight mode. You turn it back off and after a few minutes, it goes back automatically. This might be a good sign that you now need a new SIM card. 
  • SIM card not ready:- Oh god. I know this feeling of seeing this on the screen personally. It feels as if a woman is asking you to wait for just 5 minutes while she is applying her makeup. It’s so ridiculous that even after waiting for hours it’s not done. If you see something like this on your screen, make sure that you yeet your SIM directly into the trash can. 

Can a SIM card go bad?

Ans. Well, they aren’t made in Disney so you would be living happily ever after with them right? They do go bad and there are many ways where you would know that they have gone bad and, there are many things that you should avoid doing to your SIM card that does make them go bad. We would discuss it all one by one. Let’s go with how they go bad first. 

To state it simply, it is just a chip with some memory and coding right? The chip is designed to make sure that you are connected to the network by the small yellow circuit on its back. This yellow circuit is exactly what makes it work. 

Now, if anything happens to this circuit, chances are that it might go bad. Make sure that you do not play with this or let any scratches fall on the same. 

How to detect if a SIM card has gone bad?

Ans. Well, if you have symptoms that are mentioned above then it would be fairly sure to you that you have a SIM card that is damaged or something has gone bad with the same. However, if you notice everything with the proper SIM card in hand, you would know that it has some features that you could use to detect whether it has gone wrong or not. 

Flip your SIM card and check the following:-

  • Notice whether your SIM card has any type of scratches or marks on the yellow circuit. 
  • Check whether the circuit has somehow fallen off with the plastic case.
  • Check whether the circuit is cut from somewhere or whether it has been tampered with. 

What to do with a SIM card that has gone bad? 

Ans. Yeet the same in the trash can. Just kidding, wait! Apply a very tiny amount of isopropyl alcohol and rub the same on clothes that generate static electricity such as silk or wool. Now connect the same and then check. If it is still the same thing, contact your service provider and tell them about your issue. 

They might provide you with a different card. Or, go to the store and buy a new one. It’s simple and easy because it doesn’t require much participation. And now you can yeet the card.