Verizon customers with a new iPhone 13 model might notice something missing: 5G. The faster cellular networking is a signature feature of the handset, and one nobody wants to live without. Fortunately, the answer is fairly simple. But it’s not something you’ll be able to fix all on your own.
Here’s what to do.
iPhone 13 on Verizon probably needs a new SIM card
Sometimes, fixing iPhone problems can be complex. Other times a software update is needed. Not this time. If your new iPhone 13 won’t connect to Verizon’s 5G network — or won’t get a cellular connection at all — you almost certainly need a new SIM card.
Sasha Segan from PCMag tracked down the problem. “GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile have a longstanding culture of knowing that their SIM cards may be put into random devices,” said Segan. “Verizon comes from a different culture where it assumes a tighter tie between device and SIM card. So sometimes straight-up swapping SIMs between Verizon phones just doesn’t work.”
To put it simply, you can’t pull the SIM card out of your previous handset and put it into any of the iPhone 13 series and guarantee it’ll work. If you’re having connection problems with a new device, you probably need a replacement SIM.
If your handset came with a fresh SIM, have Verizon activate that one. Don’t transfer an old one to your new device.
What to do if your iPhone 13 won’t connect at all
I can attest that replacing the SIM works for problems more severe than missing 5G. I’m also an iPhone 13 user, and my new device completely refused to connect to Verizon in any way using the SIM from my iPhone 12. No calls, no text, nothing.
An hour-plus on the phone with tech support was unable to fix the problem. But a trip to a Verizon store and a new SIM got me a connection immediately.
How to get a replacement Verizon SIM card
For many people, the simplest solution to replacing your SIM card is to do what I did: Visit a Verizon store. They’ll take care of everything, including inserting the card and activating it. And there’s no cost. But it helps to make an appointment.
If you have more questions, visit Verizon’s SIM card FAQ.
An alternative solution
A discussion on Reddit might provide an alternative for people with Verizon 5G problems and who can’t easily swap out their SIM card. “Some people on the thread have gotten their service to work by having Verizon support remove every feature from their account on the old SIM, and then add all the features one by one on the new SIM,” said Segan.
Don’t assume this is the easiest solution for everyone, though. As noted earlier, I spent more than an hour talking to tech support but my problem still wasn’t fixed until I went to a Verizon store. But calling tech support might be a better solution for those a long distance from hands-on help.
Don’t blame Apple
During the time my new handset wouldn’t connect, I kept half-humorously grumbling about Apple tempting fate by assigning unlucky “13” to its newest model. But it turns out the problem didn’t originate in Cupertino. As Segan points out, it’s caused by Verizon. Reportedly, it happens with multiple Android devices, too.
And more than the 2021 iPhone be blocked from connecting to Verizon 5G. It can happen to the 2020 model, too.