Please know that there are many, many folks that have passed through this discussion forum that have felt the frustration you are going through. Telling you this is obviously not a solution. But, the sting of misery is sometimes alleviated somewhat with company.
Now...down to business. Sathyam offered you the most likely culprit causing your SIM problems. But, since you are running 5.1.1 that removes the software/firmware update as a solution. Others have definitely found relief from this problem by replacing their current SIM card. Sometimes, there is not a lot of obvious logic with the SIM card solution. We have had forum members who had a card that worked in another iPhone, but did NOT work in their 4S. Nevertheless, a new SIM card solved their problem. The 4S appears to be a VERY simcentric device and has little tolerance for SIM cards that deviate from the norm. So, if I were you I would do the following (copied from an earlier post I made).
Based on other's experiences in this forum, ask your cell carrier for a NEW 128K MICRO SIM card for your iPhone. They should not hassle you about this. Show them this discussion forum if necessary. Right now, that is your most likely suspect and is the next thing you should address as you troubleshoot your problem. Just make sure you are provided you with a NEW 128K MICRO SIM card as there is enough evidence available to suggest that the 4S reacts poorly to smaller capacity cards, used cards from previous iPhones (or any phone, and even if that used card was working fine in the previous phone), etc.
Good luck and let the forum know how things go so folks can learn from your experience.
If this doesn't work I would demand Apple, or your cell provider, replace your iPhone. It still is under its 1 year warrantee as the phone did not come out till last fall.
Best, Mr. Luigi
Hi again Mr. Luigi,
I completely concur with your kind response to another flustered iPhone user-wannabe!!
I recently returned from an extended journey outside the USA where I was plagued with the INVALID SIM and finally NO SIM card error messages. Since I couldn't initiate nor receive voice calls, I had a good deal of time to delve into this discussion thread. You along with the frustrating experiences of other hapless biters of the poisoned Apple reassured me that "the fix" would be on the top of my to do list once I came home. Indeed, my suitcases are not completely unpacked, but I have had a new SIM card for several days now. It came without hassles save a few telephone calls, ironically from my trusty ole' land line, to determine that I could not swarm into the trusty firm from which I purchased the entire iPhone array(Radio Shack) but that I would indeed have to locate and present myself, iPhone in hot hand to a brick-and-mortar storefront operated by my carrier(AT& T.) Luckily, though not neat so convenient to get to as my original vendor, indeed there WAS a store some towns away from me!! Installed by a polite and understanding young salesman, my new SIM card APPEARS to be working just fine for nearly two weeks now. Fingers crossed!!! I was waiting for a full month of acceptable service before reporting back, but the urgency of Shobitjain's plight stirred me to action today.
I also received a $50.00 credit during my landline call to AT &T when I was locating a storefront. This was offered in response to my request for compensation. When I was actually at the store, the salesman asked if "AT&T had made it right for me" indicating $$$$, I am sure. I informed him that the voice on the phone had done so. My bill balance immediately reflected the discount, no waiting a month or more for a credit to appear.
I do not know if I do have a 128 micro SIM card as you suggest. It is new, I believe as I saw it emerge from packaging. The salesman first asked me to remove the tightly fitting iPhone skin I purchased with all the goodies at my initial purchase. I declined as I had NOT installed the protective Apple-product-casing at Radio Shack initially nor would I do it then! He had great difficulty getting the case to part but eventually was successful (the store was closing for the evening!!) My opinion has been in my particular case, that the error message was heat- related. Not ambient heat, as I was very careful in the particularly hot and dry area of this beautiful world to which I travelled; but heat generated from the iPhone itself. At odd times, mostly at night and in greatly cooled interiors, I actually received and initiated a call or two!!!
I stated that I intended
Hi iSwanpeck! Good to hear from you and that your iPhone's performance has improved...at least for 2 weeks! I believe that is a good sign.
You may find it interesting to know that in my problem solving protocol for this SIM issue is always to start off making sure the user has updated to iOS 5.1.1.
If that does not offer relief, then I suggest replacing the SIM card with a new one....no matter how convinced you are that the SIM card is ok. I bet that you DID receive a 128K card although it is not easy to confirm such things as they don't stamp something helpful like "128K" on these cards. Go figure! But, the fact is the SIM card has turned out to be the culprit on many occasions.
My third step is right in line with your suspicions. HEAT! However, I don't think it is heat by itself. I think heat creates the conditions for a marginal SIM card to fail. So, sometimes, even without changing the SIM card, running the iPhone at a cooler temperature can return it to functioning condition, or partial functioning condition. But, really, it is the SIM card. (This, of course, is just conjecture on my part based on reading a lot of anecdotal information.) A lot of the most protective cases, such as the Otterbox Defender, insulate the iPhone so much that they can cause it to heat up just enough to expose a SIM card's weakness. Removing the protective case appears to help. But, who wants to lose the protection of their case! So, in the end, I think the best solution is to replace the SIM card with a new one (as you have done). Hopefully, this will allow you to use your iPhone, with case, and not have it display any SIM failures.
One last thing for others reading this. I have heard of EXTREME heating conditions where an iPhone WITH A NEW SIM CARD, still fails. But, for this to happen the phone must be overheated beyond its recommended operating temperatures. One example...using the iPhone as a GPS navigator (which puts a very heavy demand on the iPhone's processor creating a fair amount of heat all by itself), housed in a highly insulating case such as the Otterbox Defender, mounted on a very hot dashboard in a hot climate. But, that could cause a lot of phones to fail. In those situations I have heard that folks have solved the problem by directing some of the cool air from the Air Conditioner toward the iPhone.
I hope your trip was enjoyable. Welcome back!
I have a 4S 16GB on iOS 5.1.1 from Orange, since November 2011. .
In the past three weeks it has intermittently shown Invalid SIM or SIM Failure. There's no obvious cause (the phone hasn't been dropped or overheated) or pattern, and power off and on doesn't help, nor does re-inserting the SIM, going to Airplane Mode, etc.
I'm posting this in the hope that Apple is monitoring this thread and will give an explanation and straightforward advice.
Your situation is unusual.
Unusual because from postings in this forum it is not common to see an iPhone functioning properly through all this mess that started when the iPhone 4S was released last fall and THEN start to show the SIM problem almost 9 months later.
It appears you have tried all the less intrusive stratagies that have given some users relief. The only missing thing you could do (which I do NOT recommend doing right now as it is quite time consuming) is to first backup your iPhone and THEN do a reset. I won't go into the details of this right now b/c, as I said, it would not be my choice for a next step.
As unusual as your situation is, some things are relatively common and I believe help us to chose your next step. For reasons I do not know, Orange has been mentioned in this discussion forum quite a bit with regard to SIM problems. I do not live in the UK and am not familiar enough with Orange to know why this is so. But, those Orange customers who have had SIM problems have frequently found relief by having Orange swap out their current SIM card replacing it with a NEW 128K micro SIM card. I know. I know. You have heard this a 100 times. But, the fact remains that the iPhone 4S is very particular with regard to the state of affairs of the SIM card being used and what type it is. I don't know how old your current SIM card is. Was it brand new when you bought your iPhone 4S? Was it transferred from a previously owned phone? No matter, SIM cards do go bad and it is possible that has happened to yours. I would go to Orange, explain all you've already done to troubleshoot this problem, look exhasperated, explain that other Orange customers have solved their problem by replacing the SIM card (use this forum as proof although hopefully that will be unnecessary) and stand your ground until they replace your SIM card with a brand new 128K micro SIM card. I am sounding a bit defiant and aggressive here and I don't want to imply that you will have problems getting Orange to replace the SIM card. Much more often than not things have gone smoothly with Orange. But, you may get a salesperson on a bad day. Don't take no for an answer.
If that doesn't work, then you really need to start to suspect your iPhone and it would be time to ask Apple for an exchange. You could mess with this problem forever and that is not fair. Take advantage of Apple's reputation for good customer service and get a replacement phone. You are clearly within your 1 year warrantee period.
But, because replacing the SIM card is relatively painless I would absolutely go that route first.
By the way, you mentioned the hope that someone from Apple is monitoring this forum and might post a coherent reply or response. I have never seen that happen. I am sure Apple has their reasons for pursueing this strategy. I am pretty sure I would not like their response! Be that as it may, these forums are for Apple users to share their experiences and for other Apple users to offer assistance if they can. Obvioulsy, someone from Apple is monitoring these posts. I am sure if I unleashed a tirade of ungentlemenly language here, the post would be removed by a moderator from Apple. But, that's the extent of Apple's involvement as far as I can tell.
There is an Apple Feedback site where customers can share concerns with Apple. I don't think that would be of much help to you in this situation since the SIM problem appears to be relatively conquered as of this date. However, for future use, this is the link to the feedback site:
Please do let us know how things turned out for you as that would be of help to future users of this forum.
And Good Luck! Mr. Luigi
Thank you for the response. I am happy that there are people in APPLE to hear us.
I will speak to my network provider which is Airtel (India) to get a 128 K SIM.
Though I got the SIM faliure msg today too. If a new SIM doesn't work, will Apple change my device? Its just 1 month old.
My contact number is an indian mobile number which is +91 9829651551 You can call me anytime if Apple has a policy to call customers and supporrt them. No Time difference issue I would attand your call anytime.
try ur sim card to put anothter regular phone after u put ur sim to another phone please make a call in any number and when u made call from other phone u pick up phone and keep connection 1 min after that make 1 call from other number to ur iphone sim and also keep connection 1 min once u done both side call put ur sim back to ur iphone i hope its gone work