HOW TO: Insert / Remove a SIM Card (All iPhone Models)

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itechpursuits HOW TO Insert Remove a SIM Card All iPhone Models
HOW TO Insert Remove a SIM Card (All iPhone Models)

The iPhone only has one removable component – the SIM Card Slot or the SIM tray. The SIM Card Slot is that tiny hole on the right side of your device. It holds the SIM Card you use with your iPhone to connect to a cellular network.

The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) is some sort of a small removable smart card where all the information your iPhone needs to get to a cellular network. It allows you to access data and voice services that are linked to your particular cellular network account.

The SIM card stores your mobile phone number, your cellular network carrier, and billing information.

If you purchased your iPhone from a cellular network carrier, it will usually come with a SIM Card. If you purchase it directly from Apple, it will come unlocked and you will need to purchase a SIM Card from your preferred network carrier.

There will be instances too that you may prefer to use your old SIM card with your new iPhone because you want to keep everything you have in your old SIM card.

If you are selling your old iPhone, you will want to remove your own SIM card. If you are traveling abroad, you may want to use a local SIM card. You may also need to switch SIM card if you want to switch to a different network carrier.

All these are reasons for you need to know how to remove a SIM card from an iPhone as well as insert a new SIM card.

An iPhone’s SIM Card

Unlike other smartphones where your contacts are stored in the SIM card, with your iPhone, your contacts are stored in the device. All data are stored on the main storage of your iPhone or in iCloud together with your apps and music.

Inserting a new SIM card to your iPhone will therefore not affect access to your stored date and phone book.

Type of SIM Card for iPhone Models

All iPhones need a SIM card. There are basically three types of SIM cards used in iPhones depending on the model.

  • Mini-SIM Card. The entire size of this SIM is the size of a credit card. The card you insert on your iPhone is popped or removed from the larger card and is what is inserted in your iPhone. This SIM is 25mm x 15mm.
  • Micro SIM Card. This is the most commonly used type of SIM card today. It was first used in 2010 with the iPhone 4. This SIM is 15mm x 12mm.
  • Nano SIM Card. This SIM card is smaller than the Micro SIM and debuted with the iPhone 5. Most of the new iPhone models use this type of SIM card. This SIM is 12.3mm x 8.8mm.

If you have an old iPhone model and can no longer find a Mini SIM card, you can use a Micro or Nano SIM Card with an adapter. If on the other hand, you need a smaller SIM card than what you currently have, you can cut the SIM card.

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iPhone SIM Card: How to properly convert to Nano SIM (Image by david kang)

Here are the types of SIM Card each iPhone model uses:

Original iPhone Mini SIM
iPhone 3, 3GS Mini SIM
iPhone 4, 4S Micro SIM
iPhone 5,5C, 5S Nano SIM
iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus Nano SIM
iPhone 7, 7 Plus Nano SIM
iPhone 8, 8 Plus Nano SIM
IPhone SE Nano SIM
iPhone X Nano SIM

SIM Card Tray

The SIM card tray is the pin-sized hole where you are to insert your SIM card. All iPhones have a SIM card tray except the iPhone 4’s CDMA.

Here is where the SIM card tray is located in each iPhone model.

  • Original iPhone at the top between the headphone jack and the ON/OFF button
  • iPhone 3, 3GS at the top between the headphone jack and the ON/OFF button
  • iPhone 4, 4S Right side
  • iPhone 5,5C, 5S Right side
  • iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S Right side and below ON/OFF button
  • iPhone 7, 7 Plus Right side and below ON/OFF button
  • iPhone 8, 8 Plus Right side and below ON/OFF button
  • iPhone SE Right side
  • iPhone X Right side and below ON/OFF button

SIM Ejector Tool

The SIM ejector tool is what you will need to remove and insert a new SIM Card to your iPhone. Your iPhone will usually come a with SIM ejector tool when buying an unlocked device.  It is important to always have one on your key ring, wallet or nearby.

tool to Insert Remove a SIM Card
SIM Ejector Tool (Image from wikimedia.org)

If you really need to remove and insert a new SIM card in your iPhone and you have no SIM ejector tool on hand, you can instead use any of these.

Paperclip

This is the most common alternative to a SIM card ejector tool. Make sure to strip the paperclip of those fancy and colorful plastic coating. That coating makes the paperclip thick and not fit on the pin-sized SIM card slot hole. The paper clip needs to be in bare metal. You can use scissors or knife to strip off the plastic coating.

Straighten the paperclip so you have a tip that can fit into the hole. Press and insert the paperclip to eject the SIM card tray.

Sewing Pin

You can also use a sewing pin, sewing needle or a safety pin. The sewing pin is the best you can though because it comes with a rounded tip which makes it easy to press into the SIM card ejector slot.

Staple

In most instances, a staple wire is easier to find than a paperclip. You can use a single staple wire or the metal prong which is thin enough to fit into the SIM card ejector slot.

Toothpick

Many iPhone users have found success in using a toothpick to eject the SIM card tray. Make sure you choose a toothpick with a tip thin enough to fit into the SIM card ejector slot. Forcing a toothpick with a large tip into the SIM card ejector slot will make the tip break making it useless.

Screwdriver

You can also use a small screwdriver as long as the tip fits into the pin-sized hole of the SIM card tray or SIM ejector slot. A small screwdriver often used to repair small gadgets or tighten eyeglass screws is a good option.

Earring

The needle end or the piece in a stud earring on your ear works wonders in ejecting your SIM card tray. The metal of these locks is small and hard enough not to bend when used to eject your SIM card tray. Use an inexpensive jewelry though so you do not run the risk of breaking an expensive jewelry.

While many of these alternatives will successfully eject your SIM card tray, investing in a SIM card ejector tool should be a serious priority.

A set of ten SIM card ejector tool will not cost you over a dollar and you will be able to effortless remove and insert a new SIM card in your iPhone anytime and anywhere. 

How to Remove or Insert a SIM Card in an iPhone

1. Turn Off your iPhone

Hold and press the “Sleep/Wake” button. When “Slide to Power Off” switch appears on the screen, switch it from left to right.

For the iPhone 5 and older models, the ON/OFF button is on the top of the device. For the iPhone 6 and newer models, the ON/OFF button is on the right top side.

2. Find the SIM card slot of the SIM card tray

Depending on your iPhone model, the SIM card slot will either be at the top between the headphone jack and the ON/OFF button, the right side or the right side below ON/OFF button.  All iPhones except the iPhone 4 CDMA comes with a SIM card slot.

3. Get hold of your SIM ejector tool

It may be an original iPhone SIM card ejector tool or any of the alternatives mentioned above.

4. Insert and press the SIM card ejector tool to the hole in the SIM card ejector slot

Gently press and insert the SIM card ejector tool into the pin-sized hole of the SIM card slot or tray. Apply a little force and wait for the SIM card tray to pop out.

5. Pull the SIM Tray

Gently grab the SIM card tray out of your iPhone. Be extra careful as the SIM card tray and the SIM card are fragile.

6. Remove and Insert a new SIM card

If you are removing an old SIM card use your fingers to push out the SIM card from the SIM card tray. Install the new SIM card on the SIM card tray. Make sure to install the SIM card in the right orientation.

Follow the indentation on the SIM card or make sure the shape of the SIM card is the same as that of the SIM card tray.  The gold contact on the SIM card should be facing down and in contact with your iPhone.

7. Slide the SIM card tray back

Slide and push the SIM card tray with the inserted SIM card back to your iPhone. Make sure the tray is installed all the way back. The SIM card tray will only fit the SIM card tray slot when inserted in the right orientation. You will hear a click sound once it has been completely inserted.

8. Turn on your iPhone

Hold and press the power button to turn on your iPhone. If you are using a new SIM card you will not to activate it, otherwise, your SIM card will automatically connect to your cellular network company.

This video: HOW TO: Insert / Remove a SIM Card (iPhone 6 / 6S Plus )

Tips on the Right Way to Remove and Insert SIM Card

If you do not eject your iPhone SIM card tray the right way, you may damage it. If you do not remove your iPhone SIM card the right way, you may also damage it.

If you do not insert your iPhone SIM card tray the right way, it will not fit into the SIM card tray slot. If you force it, you may damage your SIM card tray. If on the other hand, you do not insert your SIM card the right way your iPhone will not be able to detect your SIM card.

Here are a few tips on the proper way to remove and insert your SIM card tray and SIM card into your iPhone:

  • Make sure to shut off your iPhone before attempting to eject the SIM card tray and insert a SIM card. If you do not shut off your device, you may damage your SIM card and iPhone.
  • Make sure you are using the right sized SIM card for your iPhone model.
  • Never attempt to modify the size of your SIM card to make it fit into the SIM card tray. While some iPhone users are successful in cutting SIM cards, this is not recommended. It is best to request for the right sized SIM card from your cellular network provider.
  • Make sure you are inserting your SIM card to the SIM card tray in the right orientation and with the gold contact facing down.
  • Make sure you are pushing the SIM card tray back into your iPhone in the right direction.
  • Forcing the SIM card tray back to your iPhone in the wrong direction will damage the tray. You may also damage pins in the logic board which will cause you not to be able to connect to a cellular network.
  • Check your SIM card and SIM card tray for any damage. Any misalignment or bent can cause the SIM card not to connect with the internal contacts of your iPhone.
  • Make sure your SIM card and SIM card tray are free of any dust before inserting to your iPhone, otherwise your SIM card will get a No SIM Card notification on your iPhone screen when you turn the device on.
  • You can clean your SIM card and SIM card tray with a soft and damp cloth. Make sure they are completely dry before inserting to your iPhone. You can also use a little-compressed car to get rid of the dust and dirt.

It is relatively easy to remove your SIM card and insert and a new one to your iPhone. All you need is only a SIM ejector tool and knowledge on how to go about removing and inserting a new SIM card. You will also need some gentleness in handling your SIM card and SIM card tray as well as some patience.

If for some reason you experience any difficulty in ejecting your SIM card tray, take your iPhone to the nearest Apple Store.

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