Got a problem with your phone connectivity? It could be your SIM card.

Since I got my iPhone 12 Mini in December 2020, I have had a really crappy data experience with it. I love the phone and its size. As a side note, it is a shame Apple discontinued this form factor from iPhone 14. For me, it was a perfect size.

The 12 Mini would stream data without an issue and fast on 4G, but as soon as it clicked over to 3G, the reception became spotty.  Sometimes it would work on 3G, and sometimes it wouldn’t. It was as if it went from 4G to 3G and said, “yeah, maybe not now….”.

I drive 30 minutes from a rural location to a city each day. I would have 4G data for streaming for 60 per cent of the way, mostly on 4G but a little and inconsistently on 3G. Annoyingly, when it wasn’t streaming it would show four bars of 3G! Calls worked by data didn’t. There was about 10 per cent of the journey where there was no signal at all. All in all it was frustrating. 

I saw that a few other people were experiencing the same issues with their iPhone 12 mini, and they weren’t just with my phone company (Optus) or in my country (Australia). Here’s one example and a second. In short, it was great on 4G but spotty on 3G. 

I tried all of the fixes online… rebooting, checking the APN, resetting network settings, cleaning the SIM, etc., but nothing worked. There was also lots of “the phone company says it is Apple’s design fault” and “Apple says it is the phone company’s fault” online.

I saw one comment that a person went to their phone company to get their SIM card updated. I wanted to try this but the guy in the Optus shop said this worn’t help as “we’ve switched off the 3G network”. He said some of the transmitters might still be on but they’re not functional, hence the coverage bars. AGHHH! So I didn’t get a new card. His comment seemed curious to as 3G was still showing on my phone and working from time to time. Further, a coverage map said 3G still operated in my area (see below).

So, I went back to another Optus shop and said I wanted a new SIM. The guy pulled the one I had out and said, “ooooh, that’s old. That’s not the latest” and he put a new one in and ported my number to it. I worked out that I got this SIM card in 2014 and had moved it from iPhone to iPhone since then. It was only in the 12 Mini that it started the problem started. It was in an XS Max prior to that and worked fine. 

The new SIM card did the trick – my problem was FIXED! Not only do I now have coverage on 90 per cent of my commute on 4G and 3G, I now have faster speeds on 4G. So after two plus years of poor service, I now have “normal” service by swapping out my eight-year-old SIM card. 

So if you are having connectivity issues, go into your phone company shop and ask them for their latest SIM. It could be the answer to your problem.