Tips

20 fixes for the “No SIM Card: Emergency Calls Only” error

Imagine waking up one morning to find a mobile notification that says, “no SIM card inserted” and “Emergency Calls Only.” What are you supposed to do? Only being able to make emergency calls on a phone that isn’t broken is clearly unacceptable.

Problems like these can originate from the hardware, software, or network—which doesn’t narrow things down at all. The good news is, there are solutions for each of these scenarios, although the level of difficulty and expense can vary.

  • What does “No SIM Card” mean? There could be instances when a mobile phone flashes the notification “No SIM Card”. Which means your phone is unable to read the card. (If it doesn’t have a SIM inserted)
  • Why does my phone say “Emergency Calls Only”? There are many reasons why your phone indicates this problem. This article will help you find out the possible causes and the solutions that you can perform to fix them. So how can you solve it?

Ultimately, replacing your SIM card, your phone, or deleting all your Android phone’s data do wind up being the go-to option for some. But of course, trying out inexpensive options first is the most practical place to start. So let’s do what it takes to revive your SIM, so you can get back to business!

Related:

“Emergency Calls Only” – Fixing network problems

1. Restart the device

Turn your Android phone off, then on. If you just inserted a new SIM, it’s normal for mobile phones not to recognize it until there’s a reboot. Doing this is probably the easiest way to fix the SIM error: Emergency Calls Only.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-restart-1
Tap Restart

2. Soft reset the device

Unplug the phone from any power source and remove the battery. Wait 30 seconds or more and re-insert the battery.

Unplug your phone
Unplug your phone

3. Adjust the SIM card

Try to set-up your SIM card with proper placement in your Android phone. Your SIM card is what connects you to your network, so this is crucial.

However, not all devices offer SIM cards that you can access. If yours does, this can be a fix for the “Emergency Calls Only” problem.

sim motorola
Be sure that your SIM is aligned

If you drop your Android phone, the SIM can become misaligned, or you might have installed it incorrectly from the start.

Related: Best Apps to Have In Case of an Emergency


4. Manually select the carrier

Sometimes, settings will change, and this will cause the network to disconnect.

Many manufacturers use the Android operating system, so if these instructions differ from what you see on your user interface, you can also visit the manufacturer’s website for help. Start exploring your Android phone’s settings.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-manually-select-network
Manually search for networks

To search for your network, tap on Wireless and Networks > Mobile Networks > Network Operators. Alternatively, my phone uses Settings > Connections > Mobile Networks, and tap on Network Operators.


5. Change network mode to GSM only

If you can make “Emergency Calls Only” on your phone in your current signal, change your network mode. 2G signals aren’t fast, but they’re reliable. From Settings, go to Mobile Networks > Network Mode and select 2G only or GSM Only.

On other devices, you will need to go to Settings > Data Usage and click on the Menu icon in the upper-right corner. Then select Cellular Networks > Preferred Network Type. Tap on GSM Only.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-change-network
Change network to 2G Only

6. Clean and fix SIM card

Having an old an dirty SIM card can be the cause of the “Emergency Calls Only” problem. Examine your SIM card. Is it dirty? Are the connectors clean? Perhaps you can easily remove the dirt or debris. Try rubbing the chip with a soft eraser or a dry clean cloth.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-salvage-sim
Remove dirt from your SIM card

7. Replace SIM card

Did you try to cut a regular-sized SIM down to microsize? Is there any other type of damage? You may have to replace your SIM. Sometimes that’s what it takes to fix an “Emergency Calls Only” error.

Amazon offers a handy replacement repair kit, which allows you to convert your SIM card sizes without the need to cut your card to fit on the holder.

CKANDAY 2 Packs SIM Card Holders
CKANDAY 2 Packs SIM Card Holders

It comes with handy storage to protect your holders, eject pin, and cards from getting lost.

amazon-buy-button-3

8. Use the Ariza Patch (requires root)

If you have a Samsung device and you can only make emergency calls on your phone with a constant loss of network, use the Ariza Patch. The Ariza Patch is a system patch in response to issues with specific Android devices’ modems. This patch is known to help older Samsung phones, especially if the problem surfaces after an update.

Sometimes the IMEI number gets changed after the update. For this to work, your Android must be rooted.

Download Ariza Patch
Download Ariza Patch

Related: Android Root Software with or without Computer

You also need to download Busybox. Ensure that you can download from unknown sources by visiting Settings > Security. Next, download the Ariza Patch file. Open the Ariza app then select the patch option. When your phone finishes, reboot.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-busybox-logo
BusyBox
Google Play

9. Remove and re-insert SIM card

Turn your Android off before installing or removing SIM cards—otherwise, you may harm your device or card. Take care not to scratch or bend the SIM card.

It doesn’t hurt to wait a few minutes after the phone is off, and it can be helpful to remove the battery, even if just for good measure.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-power-off
Don’t forget to turn your Android phone off

For some devices, the SIM tray is located directly behind the volume buttons. For other Androids, you can access the SIM by sliding off the back cover and removing the battery.


10.Test SIM card

Try inserting your SIM card on another phone or try another SIM card on yours. Doing this is highly advisable before purchasing another SIM.

If the other device is unable to read your SIM, the problem is likely with the card, not your device.

Test SIM
Test your SIM

11. Toggle airplane mode

Enable, then disable Airplane Mode. Airplane mode disables all broadcasts and cell reception while activated.

Some phones provide easy access through Quick Settings with a double swipe downward from the top of the screen. Another way is to hold down the Power button, or you can go through the Settings option as well.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-toggle-airplane-mode
Toggle Flight Mode

12. Try to place an outbound call

Your phone may snap out if you try to make a phone call even when it’s telling you that you can’t. If so, you already have your fix for SIM error: Emergency Calls Only.

test call
Make a test call

13. Ensure your account is in good standing

Pay your bills on time. If you prepay, make sure your phone has enough credit. You might want to check with the provider to make sure that your phone wasn’t flagged for payment issues, reported as lost, or stolen. And while you are on the phone with the provider, ask if they know why you are experiencing this issue.

Related: Would You Use Google to Get Freedom from Your Wireless Carrier?

Bill Payment
Pay your outstanding bills

14. Relocate

Does this happen everywhere? Is it constant or intermittent? Congestion can cause problems with service. Are you next to people with the same provider who have service? Reliability is influenced by how close you are to the towers.

Image result for network congestion
Network congestion can also be the culprit

15. Check overall mobile network status of provider

Check for service interruptions on your carrier’s website. Alternatively, you can go to Downdetector.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-downdetector
Downdetector

It has a real-time overview of outages for different service providers. Weather and natural disasters can also affect service, although not too often.

If your area is experiencing something like a hurricane, you might have to wait it out. Otherwise, there may be a technical issue with service in your area that your provider should hurry to fix.


16. Contact customer service

Have your phone handy for the call, in case they ask for information like the IMEI number. They may replace your SIM card or possibly even your Android, but it depends on the nature of the problem.

Customer Service
Ask for assistance

17. Disable fixed dialing feature

When the Fixed Dialing Number feature is activated, you can only contact numbers within your list of contacts. To turn it off, go to Phone > Settings > Call > Additional Settings > Fixed Dialing Numbers > Disable FDN.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-disable-fdn
Disable FDN

You have to enter your PIN2 code to proceed. You might also have to reboot your phone if Fixed Dialing options seem to have disappeared from its usual spot on the menu.


18. Check for a damaged antenna

Cell phones may not have visible antennae anymore, but they are still crucial for signal strength. In addition to checking whether the SIM card has a proper fit, you need to ensure that the back cover has a snug fit on your phone, as this is where you can usually find the antenna.

If that area has some damage due to water, you would likely have to replace or repair it. Disassembling your device to fix the antenna connectors by yourself is not recommended unless you know what you are doing.

Antenna
Do not attempt to fix the antenna by yourself

19. Do a Factory reset

A factory reset is your last resort because this option will wipe everything back to its factory default settings. A full backup should take place beforehand.

Unless you are having other issues with your phone, you should be able to reset from the General Settings menu. It goes by Backup and Reset.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-factory-reset
Factory reset

Must Read: Android Backup Apps to Save Your Essentials


20. Consider a phone replacement

If your phone has experienced physical or liquid damage, replacing your Android phone may be necessary. If your IMEI displays as UNKNOWN when you dial the code *#06#, then you could have a defective phone that you need to replace.

Try changing the SIM card first, especially if it will work on other devices. Replacing your phone is the last resort to fix SIM error: Emergency Calls Only.

how-to-fix-no-sim-card-emergency-calls-only-replace-phone
Get a new phone

If you get a replacement phone that has the same issue, then the odds are that the problem is not with the device, the network, or the location where you are.


FAQs


Salvage Your SIM

Sometimes, the problem with an Android phone that cannot read a SIM card is because you might have flashed a custom ROM or dropped your phone. Other times, the reason can be because of a hardware malfunction. If you’ve tried all of our tips above, and “Emergency Calls Only” is still the only thing you see on your device when you make calls – consider having your phone serviced.

I hope that at least one of these tips helped you.

If not, leave a comment below and we’ll help you out!

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24 Comments

    1. Hi Abdurazaq. Make sure the SIM slot of your device is clean, then try again. If that doesn’t work try using a different SIM card in the device to see if the problem is with the SIM card. I know you said it works with another device, but it could still be the problem. If it is, you’ll just need to get a new one from your service provider. If not, it could be a hardware issue with your device.

  1. You cant seem 2 run two cards in LTE mode only one in LTE and the other in 2G, if you change the assignment of the network type under the provider networks so that the 2G card is LTE it will automatically set the other card to 2G and you will now be dialing via the other card for your calls but you will have to manually switch back to the other – found this out the hard way.

  2. This guy saved my life, just do #4 and make sure SIM card is correctly registered to a new network. after i left my home town to another country, my phone decided to do software update (yes, I’m talking about you Samsung J7 Prime) my original sim card just disconnected and i thought something was wrong with it because i didn’t use it for almost 4 months (using local sim card for new country) but nooo it was an issue with the update it prevented my original sim card from working since I’m not in my home country.
    P.s i didn’t change the sittings what so ever. This happened after update to android 8.1 and Samsung experience 9.5 (i like the new version but they definitely screwed up alot of thing “android user here”)

  3. I have simprocessor error and no Network service, for emmergency calls only. Sim is active and works with other unlocked GSM devices.. my device is new unlocked for international usage. And won’t work here in us. It is made in china. What do you think my problem may be! Have not been able to get it on network even with help of technical support of network operator subscribed with.

  4. Nice article you got here..
    These are all one needs to do in case an issue like this rise up.

    I also wrote an article about SIM card issue my first article actually, maybe you can check it out and I will be grateful if you do so..

    Thanks for the article.

  5. please I need help I removed my sim card from my phone and I reinsert it back the next day and it showed no sim card I even insert it in another device it the same thing does it mean the SIM is damage

  6. First ofall I’m not going to reboot my phone every time this happens. I’ve contacted ATT, cleaned the sim and rebooted. Yeh, the signal comes back from doing those things but it still keeps happening. Only when the phone sets for some time it happens. I’m using pie and the new throttler built in to it may be turning off the system causing no signal. when I pick it back up after a a minute or so the signal comes back. Just don’t know.

  7. Second sims and my phone is still not reading it 🙁 i cant afford a new phone this sucks. and its not the network because 2 other phones in my home are same network and having no problems. factory reset reset network . nothing ugh

  8. I have an old flip phone (LG B470) that I simply want to get my contacts off of since I’ve upgraded to a new phone. It doesn’t read the SIM card and is stuck in Emergency Calls only mode. I have read to put it in airplane mode but I can’t get to any other screen or assess the menu. Is there a way to bypass it without losing the information on the phone such as entering a code or something?

  9. Sir/madam,

    Am using SAMSUNG C9PRO mobile some times am facing Emergency call only issue. After registering network also select with registered network automatically the problem is not solving..

    how to fix the error pls. suggest me .missing lot of important calls & messages

    1. Hi Rajkumar! Try resetting your network settings. Also, try replacing your SIM card. If both of those don’t work, your phone’s SIM card slot might be damaged.

    1. Hi Bill! Well, there are a lot of people who can’t afford to buy expensive devices. Even though these devices are cheap, they still get the job done.

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