Windows Phone 10 Preview builds: SIM inaccessible


As you all know, Windows Phones are receiving Preview builds just like desktops, laptops, tablets and what not. Most of the time, things work pretty well. Unfortunately I’ve heared of many, many issues with SIM card access and with the most recent build (10536), the issue hit my beloved Lumia 930. Right after the installation, the Start screen is presented and I was awaiting a PIN unlock screen that regularly pops-up after a (re)boot. This time, it did not popup. Ok well no hassle, I’ve seen this before, let’s reboot. After the reboot, still no SIM unlock screen. I have seen builds where you have to unlock your SIM immediately after phone boot. If you wait, the SIM unlock screen won’t pop-up. You’d then have to go to the Phone app, dial any number (voicemail to be safe) and it would then immediately prompt you with the SIM unlock screen. However, after many reboots and voicemail calls, it would never pop-up (and no I couldn’t call my VM either). At this stage I figured it was something with the current installation, let’s face it, it was an update after all! Let’s perform a factory reset and see what happens on a brand new clean installation. After going through the installation, the mourning of non-critical data loss, I figured it would work this time. Unfortunately, my issue turned out to be a persistent one.

Right, so now what? Let me think… Let’s try and change the SIM PIN code, I mean.. why wouldn’t you? So, if you have the issue, you may want to work with me on this one 🙂

Swipe right on your start screen and go to: “Settings” > “Network & Wireless” > “Cellular & SIM”

Settings Network & Wireless Cellular & SIM

As you can see on the “Cellular & SIM”-page, the SIM isn’t connected to any networks. Now click “SIM Settings”

SIM PIN options

Now for some 10536 (and probably other builds) magic:

  • Fix until your next device reboot: Change the SIM PIN
  • Permanent fix: remove SIM PIN

Either way works, but I have to mention here that removing a SIM PIN is a BIG, BIG security risk! If your SIM is lost, anyone can access it without entering a PIN. On the other hand, how often would you reboot a phone anyway, so you should prefer changing the SIM PIN instead.

But wait, it gets weirder: Whenever you change or remove the SIM PIN, the device will INSTANTLY connect to whatever network it is you’re connected to. In my case: 4G…

Registered on the network

There you have it, don’t ask me why this works, it just does 🙂

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