Erratic detection of SIM card in Fairphone 3


I just got a new Fairphone 3 and followed the official instructions from /e/ to install /e/ OS (version 0.9-2020061158052) on it followed by unlocking the bootloader and enabling root with these instructions by @lost_geographer (i.e., running Magisk 20.4 with Magisk Manager 7.5.1).

I thought things were working well, except my nano SIM card is often not detected. The symptom would be that /e/OS would tell me there’s no SIM card in my phone in the status bar and in system Settings.

Here are some troubleshooting steps I tried:

  1. Rebooting the phone. This doesn’t help.
  2. Shutting down the phone completely and turning it back on. This doesn’t help.
  3. Remove the SIM card and re-inserting it. I can confirm that I inserted my SIM card as shown in the official video, it matches this photo by @AnotherElk , and I can hear the audible click of the SIM card snapping into place (so it is not this problem).
  4. Using another SIM card slot in the phone (changing between slots 1 and 2).

My results so far:

About 80% of the time, none of the steps above make a difference. 20% of the time, my SIM card would suddenly be detected! When it is detected, I was able to make/receive calls and SMS. The annoying thing is that it stays detected for a couple days, then would suddenly become not detected even though my phone was on and just left on a desk! When this happens, I have to re-insert or move the SIM card between slots 1 & 2 about 7 or 8 times before it is detected again.

At first I thought maybe it’s a problem with the SIM card, but it is consistently detected on my old Fairphone 2 and another old Sony phone.

One thing I haven’t been able to do is to dial *#*#66#*#* in the Phone app as described in the official support documentation on SIM card issues. After dialing those characters, the entry field just clears itself and no SIM card test screen shows up.

What else can I try in order to diagnose and identify the root of the problem??? (I really hope it’s not the Fairphone 3 itself!!)

Thank you.

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Unfortunately you only get this test if using Fairphone OS not /e/OS:
You don’t mention whether you tried using all functions upon Fairphone OS before installing latter. You may need to return device to Fairphone OS to check before raising potential warranty issue:
Whilst it maybe more expensive to purchase Fairphone 3 with /e/ pre-installed initially, onus is then upon supplier in case of any such issues:

I would suggest not trying to install everything in one go this time around:

  1. Revert to Fairphone OS - if SIM issues raise warranty to return device > if no SIM issues after a couple of days usage >
  2. Install /e/OS and check functions again for couple of days > if no issues >
  3. Enable root and assess again.

Thanks for your quick feedback.

You don’t mention whether you tried using all functions upon Fairphone OS before installing latter.

I didn’t try the SIM card before replacing the stock Fairphone OS with /e/OS. I purchased this Fairphone 3 directly from Fairphone, not /e/.

I would suggest not trying to install everything in one go this time around:

OK, thanks for suggesting those steps. Fortunately I haven’t heavily used the phone after installing /e/OS, so there isn’t too much data to back up and restoring Fairphone OS shouldn’t be too bad.

However, just to confirm, have I basically exhausted everything I can try with my current set up with /e/OS? I just want to be sure I’ve tried everything I can at this stage before moving on to restoring Fairphone OS (which is still a hassle). Thanks!

First thing I would do in this case is to ask your provider for a new SIM card. The fact that your current one works in older phones does not guarantee the same for a newer device, since some significant progress has been made in this area. If exchanging the SIM does not change anything, you do at least know that it is not the SIM itself which causes the problems.


Thanks @teezeh and @aspergerguy.

I just discovered another important clue:

When my phone occasionally detects and initiates my SIM card, slight mechanical agitations will make my SIM card briefly “disappear”. For example, if I hold my Fairphone 3 with one hand, and tap on it with my other hand, the associated item in my status bar would briefly turn to “no SIM card” for a few seconds before re-detecting the card and re-initiating a connection.

@teezeh: Is it still possible that a new SIM card would solve this problem? Or does this point towards something with the phone itself?

Are you sure you pushed your SIM card in correctly?
You have to push it in far and feel a “click”. It shouldn’t be the battery holdind the SIM card in.
Don’t worry, I don’t think you’re dumb :wink:
I just recall somebody else had the same symptoms a few months ago and in the end we found out she hadn’t pushed the SIM far enough in its slot.


Thanks @tomgey, I appreciate you being so thorough! :smile: I don’t know which thread from a few months ago you were referring to, but see my point 3 in my original post for what I tried. I definitely hear the click, quote:

[I tried removing] the SIM card and re-inserting it. I can confirm that I inserted my SIM card as shown in the official video, it matches this photo by @AnotherElk , and I can hear the audible click of the SIM card snapping into place (so it is not this problem).

Give my previous post and the above, could it be a problem with my SIM card as @teezeh suggested? Or more likely a problem with the Fairphone 3 (I hope not!)?

Ooops! Sorry!
I also heard some old SIM cards didn’t work properly in some new phones. Perhaps order a new SIM?

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No problem, thanks again @tomgey. @teezeh also suggested a new SIM card might help. Mine is three (3) years old, does that count as “old”?

In Smartphone-World, that’s rather antique, I would guess. :wink:

So, this might really help.
Possibly, before ordering a new card, you could check with another card (friend, family), that is newer. Possibly this can give at least an indication?


All right, it took a while, but I’ve completely wiped my Fairphone 3 and re-installed the latest stock Fairphone OS (build number 8901.2.A.0120.20200421, security update 5 April 2020) using the official instructions.

Sadly, the same problem remains: My SIM card is usually not detected, and after multiple hard reboots and re-inserting the SIM in both slots, it would occasionally show up, then disappear again. Please see my original post for details on the symptoms and what I tried.

Also, with the stock Fairphone OS I can now run the *#*#66#*#* test, and based on the official instructions for SIM issues, my SIM card test passes, but of course only when it is occasionally detected.

So, now I’ve tried having both /e/ OS and Fairphone OS on my Fairphone 3, and the SIM card is still being erratically detected (and not detected most of the time).

What does this suggest? Is it defininitely a problem with the phone or the SIM card?

Please try a new SIM card.

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Thank you. OK, I will ask my provider to give me a new, replacement SIM card and try it. I really hope this solves the problem!

Hey there, I have exactly the same issue. It started in december 2020 where I noticed that especially during cold weather the connection to my SIM would get lost. I blamed micro movements and the reduction in size when materials get cold for this. Imo it is still not acceptable but I was too lazy to react to it. However, since about 1 month it also occurs on a day to day basis and it is seriously annoying. I haven’t found a way to reconnect with the SIM, as you describe, neither restarting the phone nor reinserting the card make a difference. And then miraculously the card reconnects for another 2 hours. Has a new SIM card solved the problem for you? Are there any solutions?


Hi @Sophie_Laturnus, glad (?) to hear I am not the only one with this problem.

Sorry I forgot to post an update, but YES after I asked my provider to give me a new SIM card the problem disappeared! Are you able to get a replacement SIM Card?


Interesting… Thanks for the update, I will have to check with my provider.


I have the exact same problems like @Sophie_Laturnus, also since December. Did changing SIM card help, Sophie?

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Hey @angee ,

Today I switched my SIM card slots, so I put my card from SIM 1 to SIM 2 and at least since then I had stable reception. :crossed_fingers:it will stay that way.
I haven’t ordered a new SIM yet but I will let you know if my situation changes again.


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