Author Topic: Is it my phone or my sim?  (Read 225 times)

geekette

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Is it my phone or my sim?
« on: September 12, 2017, 03:38:38 PM »
My cell phone is approaching 3 years old, and recently the cellular data will quit working until I ejected and reseated the sim.  This has happened 3x in the last 5 days, but not before.  No updates that I recall. 

Last night I did a full wipe and restore, but it lost cellular data access again today until eject/reseat.

Any clue if a sim could go bad? I don't wanna buy a new phone.  It's an iPhone 6 on Airvoice.

I.P. Daley

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Re: Is it my phone or my sim?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 06:37:34 PM »
Theoretically, SIM cards can fail. It doesn't happen often, but it can happen.

The real question I have is are you losing all mobile service, or when you lose mobile data, can you still make/receive calls and texts? That will most likely tell you where the real failure point may be. If you lose all service, it might be worth getting a new SIM from Airvoice and having them transfer the account over to see what happens.

This said, it's worth noting that the biggest failure points involving SIM connectivity with a handset is the crammed tiny spring loaded SIM contact pins in the phone itself with a side-load SIM slot. You can kill a phone by damaging five cents worth of contacts, and you do it through repeated removal and re-insertion of the SIM card. Yet another poor mechanical design choice of the iPhone, unfortunately, though Apple isn't alone in this foolishness. SIMs just aren't really designed to be frequently moved and removed, especially with side-load nano SIMs. But this is a worst case assumption of something that is putting the diagnostic cart before the horse on, so to speak....

...but, there's your starting point. Is it data only, or all cell services? If it's data only, it's most likely going to be a problem with the phone itself if a hard reset didn't fix it. Whether that's software or hardware, is a whole other kettle of fish. If you lose all connectivity, it's worth trying a new SIM to see if it fixes the issue, but if it doesn't... we're back to the phone and possible hardware issues.

We go way back on these forums, and I know you love your iPhones... but if it eventually turns out to be hardware and if it turns out to be an expensive fix, maybe consider an Android handset next go around? The Moto G4 Play is a solid device for the money. User replaceable battery, well designed, decent battery life, you can use MMS with Airvoice on it, has mainstream third party Android build support if you ever stop getting official OS updates, cheap... :)
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

geekette

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Re: Is it my phone or my sim?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 09:24:48 PM »
Hmmm... I rarely use it for anything but data, so I don't know if phone/text worked.  I'll check if and when it happens again.  I don't think I had ejected the sim since it was put in when the phone was new, so I don't think it was overuse.

MMS might be useful to me once every couple of months or so, but that's about it. 

Although the price is right, there are things I often do with my phone that I don't think a Moto G4 would do.  I rely on reminders that pop up on my phone and computer that I can clear from either.  I'll look at a web page on my computer or iPad, then pick it up on my phone.  I have several small spreadsheets that are stored in dropbox that I update from both computer and phone.  I also rely on the calendar syncing from both.  There's also a program I use that AFAIK is only available on iOS, but I mostly use that on my iPad.  A few games that aren't available elsewhere. 

Nothing that I couldn't deal with, but I'm not sure it would be worth it (to me) to switch.

I.P. Daley

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Re: Is it my phone or my sim?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 11:14:26 PM »
Given I hate seeing any technology not get a full lifetime's worth out of it before being replaced... and if it does prove to be hardware, do please investigate the repair path if possible first. No matter the smartphone platform, planned obsolescence and buggy hardware sucks. I want to see you get your money's worth and them some out of the device you already have. To that end, I hope it's just the SIM card and not the phone itself.

This said, if it helps (you or anyone else) given what you've expressed...

Although the price is right, there are things I often do with my phone that I don't think a Moto G4 would do.  I rely on reminders that pop up on my phone and computer that I can clear from either.
[snip]
I also rely on the calendar syncing from both.

SmoothSync for Cloud Calendar and OpenTasks. Depending on the nature of the "reminders" if they're not calendar based, there's also Pushbullet.

I'll look at a web page on my computer or iPad, then pick it up on my phone.

Google Chrome can do that across OSX/iOS/Android/Windows/Linux.

I have several small spreadsheets that are stored in dropbox that I update from both computer and phone.

MobiSystems OfficeSuite can directly sync files with Dropbox, and supports all the major file formats from MS Office (OOXML), Star/Open/LibreOffice (ODF), and can even convert and open Apple's ridiculously proprietary Pages/Numbers/Keynote files.

There's also a program I use that AFAIK is only available on iOS, but I mostly use that on my iPad.

Can't really comment on availability or alternatives for a mystery app, but given you mostly use it on your iPad anyway, it seems like it's somewhat of a self-resolving non-issue. Unless you're talking about Facetime, but it's not like there aren't a plethora of alternatives to it that are multi-platform.

A few games that aren't available elsewhere.

Timewasters are timewasters on every platform, and there's very few original core game mechanics, which presents a lot of redundancy and knock-offs across all the platforms.

Nothing that I couldn't deal with, but I'm not sure it would be worth it (to me) to switch.

Plenty of workable options, even if you stay tethered to the Apple mothership... so definitely deal-able, and not too complex a transition all things considered no matter how much Apple tries not to play well with others. Given the ever increasing price of iOS devices and the price premium Apple is pushing on all their equipment and hardware combined with a complete lack of serviceability and their increasingly harder pushes against interoperability outside of their ecosystem, however... you may start finding the price gap between Apple and the common herd computing stuff may become harder and harder to justify.

Just something to think about.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

ooeei

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Re: Is it my phone or my sim?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2017, 06:30:44 AM »
I've done a bit of work on various cell phones over the years, iPhone and Android, and they all are usually surprisingly simple if you're somewhat mechanically inclined. There are all sorts of channels on youtube that will show you how to disassemble and reassemble, and they'll name the parts as they do it. If you find out a new sim doesn't work (I'd get one just to try), you can probably replace the antenna without too much trouble.

I'll give one vote for preferring iPhone even though Android often looks better on paper. Because Apple designs the software and hardware, everything just seems to work a bit smoother and less buggy. Updates also go on for far longer. Your iPhone 6 that came out in 2014 is set to receive an update this week to ios 11, along with the iphone 5s that came out in 2013.  By comparison the Moto G (2nd gen) that came out in 2014 hasn't received an update since 2015, and we're already 2 android revisions past that.

In my admittedly limited experience, Android phones "wear out" quite awhile before iphones do. Granted my last android was bought probably 4 years ago, but there just always seem to be little bugs, and the lack of updates just makes it worse. And yes, I know Android has improved since then and is basically on par with ios now, but that's the same thing I heard 4 years ago. A phone having less than 2 years of update support is unacceptable to me, but your results may vary.

One more pro-iphone point is they usually have some amount of resale even when they're a few years old. I just sold an iphone 6 with a cracked screen for $150. If you buy used on eBay soon after a new phone comes out, you can minimize depreciation to be on par or less than most Android phones.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 06:32:42 AM by ooeei »

geekette

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Re: Is it my phone or my sim?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2017, 08:50:27 PM »
To see what I could find out at Apple, I looked for the app that allowed you to make an appointment at the store to see if they could help me.  I hate the mall, but I wanted my phone fixed.

There's a new to me app called, obviously enough, Apple Support.  It allowed me to chat, free, with a support person (no mall!)  During the first chat she ran remote diagnostics and said that other than my battery getting old, the phone seemed fine.  She recommended I back up to and restore from the cloud, and run it that way for 24 hours to see if the problems went away.  They did!  I must have set 2 dozen reminders over the course of the day, and they all worked, and so did the stopwatch, and when turning off wifi, I always had data.  I missed all my customizations, though!

I chatted again, and was told that since it seemed to be a software problem, I should be able to restore from my computer backup.  I did, and it's been fine for a couple days. I don't understand why the backup/restore to and from the computer didn't fix things, but backup/restore to and from the cloud, then restore from the computer did, but I'm not going to complain.

Happy to have free Apple support for a phone approaching 3 years old!