Loose and "disappearing" SIM card

I have a Moto G5 Plus phone. I'm on the plan where I have unlimited talk and text, but I don't purchase data. I've had this phone for a little over a year, maybe a year and a half. It was a Bring Your Own phone. When I first got the SIM card from Republic Wireless, I thought it was supposed to snap into the tray. But it was smaller than the slot, and sort of just sat loosely in the tray.

Periodically - and recently every over day or thereabouts - my phone will “lose track:” of the SIM card. It will tell me that I have no SIM card, and can’t make phone calls or send texts. Then I have to remove the case, get out the little tool, remove the SIM card tray, make sure the SIM card is still sitting on the tray, and shove the tray back in. At that point the phone may recognize the SIM card once again and require me to reactivate again with Republic Wireless. Or it may not recognize the SIM card still, and I may have to shove the tray in and out two or three times.

This doesn’t seem right to me. It’s a major pain in the ■■■■, and I’m slowly wearing out the little hole that I insert the special tool into. I may reach the point where I can’t even pull the tray out any more. It’s also the case where I may not notice for several hours, or overnight, that I can’t make or receive phone calls. Since I’m old and live alone, and this cell phone is my only means of communication with the outside world, this could potentially be a serious problem.

Has anyone else encountered this problem with their Motorola phone and a loose SIM card? Is there anything that can be done about it?

Issue Description

Hello @johnw.pdvsog

That’s not a common complaint. But it can happen.
I would try a piece of thin tape, trim and apply it on the back side of the SIM.
(Not the side with the gold contacts)

My hope is that this little extra thickness will help keep the SIM secured in the tray.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

Hi @johnw.pdvsog,

Welcome back to our Member Community. I’m sorry your first post here in a while is due to an ongoing annoyance.

Could this possibly be what you’re experiencing?


Thanks, southpaw, but I don’t think so. My phone updated to Android 8,1 back in February, and this frequent “loss” of the SIM card has been happening quite recently. I did go in and clear the cache recommended by your link, but there was hardly anything in it, just a few kb.

And thank YOU, SuperT. I may try your suggestion. But I still think the SIM card should fit more tightly in the slot on the tray. I honestly think I was sent the wrong size SIM card.

Hi @johnw.pdvsog

Here is a photo of a SIM package I got from Republic.
Your G5 Plus uses the nano size (the smallest). So I think you’re using the correct size.


Hi @johnw.pdvsog,

Your logic is sound as far as the Android update being some time ago, and the problem only starting recently, although sometimes these things do show up unexpectedly, so I’m glad you gave the resolution steps a try anyway.

By the same logic, though, your SIM card has been its current size all along, right? And yet the problem began only recently…

As @SuperT mentioned, the Moto G5+ takes the nano SIM card which is the smallest size. Our SIM cards come in a convenient three-in-one format with adapters to allow you to punch out the size of the SIM card that fits your phone. Since the Moto G5+ takes the smallest size, it’s really not possible to have gotten the wrong size and have it be too small.

However, I’m perfectly willing and happy to send you a couple of new SIM cards so you can replace it and see what you think. In fact, I took a peek at your coverage and I think you might actually be a little happier if we sent you a SIM card that moved you to coverage through our partnership with Sprint. Your current SIM card provides coverage through our partnership with T-Mobile, and it looks like Sprint’s coverage may have a little more saturation in your area.

Glad to send you both kinds of SIM cards and let you see what you think, and especially see if it help with the loose SIM card. Let me know if you’d like me to move forward with that, and I’ll follow up for some details privately.

Thanks for your second reply, southpaw. My SIM card has been its current size all along, yes. And it always fit loosely in the tray. But the problem did NOT begin only recently. I’ve had the problem all along, but it seems like it’s been quite a bit more frequent recently.

Yes, I remember being told that my Moto G5+ took the nano SIM card. And I remember punching it out. But I also remember reading that I was supposed to “snap” the SIM card into the slot in the tray. And I remember thinking, “Hmmm…this thing doesn’t snap. And it doesn’t have the little notch cut out of one corner like the diagram shows. (Or maybe the tray doesn’t have a notch; I’ve forgotten which it is.) It just sort of slides around loosely in the tray. It seems to be too small. I wonder if I’m even inserting it right. There are no clues as to how it’s supposed to be inserted.” I messed around with it for a while, trying different ways of inserting it until I finally got the phone to recognize it.

And yes, Sprint is much better, at least in my basement apartment. Two phones ago I had a T-Mobile phone, and I literally couldn’t make a phone call from my apartment; I had to go outdoors to make a call. Then I switched to Republic Wireless, and my first Motorola phone, purchased from you, had a SIM card that worked with Sprint. It worked great in my apartment, in either the WiFi mode or the cell tower mode. I loved it. Never had a dropped call anywhere. Now with this present phone, I once again have a T-Mobile SIM card. It works fine with WiFi, but only spottily with T-Mobile. Since I have WiFi in my apartment it hasn’t been much of a problem. But you kinda want that dual capability in case the WiFi goes out and you have to make an emergency call.

So yes, a new SIM card with Sprint would be lovely, though I have a feeling it still won’t fit right in the tray. 64 GB. Will all of my contacts, saved photos, etc., transfer from one SIM card to the other?

Thank you, southpaw, for going that second mile. You’re a not-insignificant part of what makes Republic Wireless great.

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Hi @johnw.pdvsog

If you are syncing your phone to a Google account, that is what is controlling your contacts and saved photos on a Republic Wireless phone. The SIM is not used for storing contacts or photos as can be the case with other providers.

From the for what it’s worth department, the only phones I’ve see store contacts (and perhaps photos) on their SIMs are dumbphones. No smartphone I’m aware of stores either on its SIM regardless of service provider. A SIM lacks sufficient storage to store much of anything beyond service information for connecting to the cellular network. MicroSD cards are a different story.

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Hi @johnw.pdvsog,

I see that our Help Article on the Moto G5 Plus SIM card insertion does not yet include a helpful animation to show where the notched corner is and how it aligns in the tray. If you’re looking at the SIM card and reading the word Republic right-side-up, the notch corner is the lower left corner of the SIM card.

Here is Motorola’s documentation on how the SIM card fits into the tray. It has some images that might be helpful:

Your phone has a standard-sized SIM card slot, and our SIM card meets that standard. Unless the SIM card tray is broken, or the SIM card is broken, the SIM card will fit in the tray. If the card I send also does not seem to fit as designed, you may want to examine the tray closely for any sign of damage.

It looks like others here have assured you (correctly) that none of your personal content will be lost when you change the SIM card. Here are the instructions you’ll need:

I’ve opened a Help Ticket on your behalf to get some details before sending the SIM card.

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So this is very interesting. I’ve been using computers for years, and am familiar with the various components. I know that RAM is just a temporary storage place for whatever you’re currently working on, while the hard drive is the permanent storage medium for the OS and installed programs and data.

I had thought that the SIM card, supposedly 64 GB, was essentially the hard drive for the phone. I figured all the apps were installed there, and whatever data I had (contacts, photos, music, etc.) was also stored there. In fact, when I plug the phone into my computer so that it shows up as a sort of drive, I see folders for the various types of data.

But now you seem to be telling me that that’s not so. So where is all my data? In the google “cloud” somewhere?? You’re telling me that every time I make a phone call or want to look at a photo, my phone has to reach out to the google “cloud”, either via the internet or a cell tower, and temporarily retrieve what I need? I understand the concept of backing data up in the “cloud”, but I thought that it certainly resided on my phone as well.

None of this is making much sense. I know it’s only tangentially related to my more immediate issue, but it’s good information to know, and you’ve piqued my curiosity.

All excellent information, southpaw, and I thank you. Now if I can just find the help ticket…

No, all smartphones have onboard storage in varying amounts depending upon the specific phone in question. User content as well as the phone’s operating system and apps are stored in onboard storage.

Like newer computers (particularly laptops) this is a form of solid state state flash memory. Many but not all smartphones also offer the ability to expand onboard storage via an optional MicroSD card (the equivalent of adding an additional drive to a computer).

A SIM does contain a relatively tiny amount of flash memory but not enough to store much of anything beyond service information needed for connecting to a cellular network. Like dumbphones, smartphones theoretically could store a limited number of contacts and/or text messages on a SIM but with otherwise plentiful onboard storage (which dumbphones lack), there’s no point in doing so.

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Great explanation, Roland, thanks so much! Apparently this “onboard storage” of which you speak is a chip, 64GB in my case, which is built into the “motherboard” of the phone and acts as the phone’s hard drive. So fascinating! These smart phones are absolutely amazing devices!


I just wanted everyone to know that I received the new SIM card from Republic Wireless, and it’s working fine. While it’s the nano SIM, for some reason it was larger than the one I had been sent previously, and fit snugly into the phone’s tray.

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