Without an iPhone SIM Card, your iPhone simply wouldn't work. iPhone SIM cards are used to store plan and billing information, phone numbers and other phone company information for iPhone users.
SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module and is a way of identifying wireless customer billing information. There are three different types of SIM cards used in iPhones to date.
If you're wondering what a SIM card actually does and which different types are used in which iPhones, read on for more information.
In This Guide
Different SIM Card Sizes
SIM Cards are only necessary when you have an Apple iPhone or device that is connected to a cellular network. The older iPhone Touch with no cellular data, for example, does not require a SIM Card to operate.
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There are three different SIM card sizes in the various Apple iPhone models. Each has an adapter in case you want to switch to a phone with an incompatible SIM Card slot.
Here are the different SIM Cards out there.
Standard SIM Cards
The original SIM Card size is similar to any card in your wallet. However, if you want to transfer your data to a new phone, you can take out a small portion of the SIM card to insert into another iPhone. The original iPhone along with the older iPhone 3G and 3GS all use the original SIM Card, according to Apple.
Micro SIM Cards
Micro SIM Cards were introduced with the iPhone 4 in 2010. The Micro SIM is also used in the iPhone 4s. The Micro SIM Card size is small compared to the original SIM card but not quite as small as the Nano SIM card.
Nano SIM Cards
Nano SIM Cards are the smallest SIM cards that came out in the iPhone 5 in 2013. The cards have been in every iPhone since, all the way up to the iPhone 7 Plus. The Nano SIM Card is 15 percent thinner than the Micro SIM Card, according to EveryMac.com.
Related: Check out our SIM Card Size Guide for more information on the different kinds of SIM cards.
Prepaid and International SIM Cards
Prepaid and International, prepaid SIM Cards are great for traveling and paying as you go when you have light usage. Here's a little more information about prepaid and international SIM Cards.
Prepaid SIM Cards
Prepaid SIM Cards can be any of the three card types mentioned above. You can buy a prepaid SIM card from any wireless company that offers prepaid plans. You can then either bring your own phone or buy a prepaid phone to put your SIM Card in.
Then, you'll pick a no-contract, prepaid plan; make sure to read the fine print of your plan. Generally, you'll be responsible for buying new minutes and data for your SIM Card whenever you run out instead of just being charged more for extra as with a contract plan. For example, you can get a pay as you go or prepaid service from T-Mobile with a T-Mobile SIM Card. T-Mobile SIM cards now provide unlimited plans and pay as you go limited plans for iPhone users depending on their usage.
International SIM Cards
You can also purchase an international SIM Card to use when traveling to a country you don't have cell service in. An international SIM card will help you avoid huge data, text and call roaming charges when you're traveling abroad or calling abroad. You can simply purchase a prepaid SIM card meant for international calls, texts, and data with a certain amount of minutes, texts, and data on it. Then, you would just insert it into your own phone or a new phone to use while you're away.
iPhones and SIM Card Sizes
If you have an iPhone, here is what kind of SIM Card your phone carries.
|Brand||Model||SIM Card Size|
|Apple||iPhone 6 Plus||Nano|
|Apple||iPhone 6s Plus||Nano|
|Apple||iPhone 7 Plus||Nano|
Where is the SIM Card Slot?
If you have any iPhone model from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 7 Plus, you can find your sim card tray in the same general spot on the right side of your phone. If you have an original iPhone or the iPhone 3G or 3GS, the SIM Card tray will be located at the top of your iPhone. Once you find the tray, here's how to remove your SIM Card, according to Apple.
How to Remove Your SIM Card
- Turn off your iPhone.
- Unbend a paperclip or use an SIM-eject tool.
- Insert the SIM-eject tool or paperclip into the hole beside the SIM Card slot to remove the card.
- Push the paperclip or SIM-eject tool into the hole until the SIM Card pops out.
What is a SIM Lock?
If you're on a contract phone plan, your cell phone company may put a lock on your SIM Card so you cannot use it with another carrier before your contract is up. This means you'll have to talk to your phone company to unlock your phone before you can switch to a new carrier.
Usually, you'll need to pay off the phone completely and your contract must be up for you to be able to get it unlocked. Some companies, however, do not lock their phones. Check with your customer service representative if you're not sure.
Can you transfer SIM Cards from an Android to an Apple phone?
You can also switch your SIM from iPhone to Android phone (or vice versa) once your phone is unlocked. For example, if you have an iPhone that uses a Nano SIM Card, you can switch it to an Android phone like the Samsung Galaxy that uses a Nano SIM Card. As long as the phone uses the same SIM, you should be able to switch it.
Otherwise, you'll need to find a SIM Card adapter.
What is a SIM Pin?
A SIM Pin is a code you can set so that no one else can access your SIM Card's plan and other information when it is transferred to another phone. It will help make sure no one else can use your plan or access your billing information if you ever lose it.
A SIM Pin is essentially an extra layer of security for your SIM Card. Some cell phone carriers, like Verizon Wireless, let you set a SIM Pin when you sign up for service. If you're interested in extra security, make sure to ask your wireless carrier about setting up a pin.
Overall, SIM Cards are much smaller and less complicated these days than they used to be. Before you buy a phone, it's a good idea to check to see which kind of SIM Card it has in case you ever want to switch to another phone. If you have questions about a SIM Card for a phone other than the iPhone, check out our articles on Samsung SIM Cards and Android SIM Cards.