How to remove the SIM card in an iPhone or iPad

How to remove the SIM card in an iPhone or iPad

All recent iPhones and cellular-capable iPads come with SIM (subscribe identity module) card slots on their sides. A SIM card is how your carrier provides all the information your device needs to get on their network and access the voice and data services linked to your account. There may be times when you'll beed to swap the SIM card in your iPhone or iPad. If you upgrade to a new device you'll have to move the SIM card to that new device. If you're traveling and want to use a local SIM to avoid roaming charges, you'll have to swap it in. If something goes wrong with your SIM card you may even need to replace it. Whatever the reason, it's a super simple process and all you need is an Apple SIM-card remover tool or just a plain old paper clip!

What you need to remove the SIM card in your iPhone or iPad

How to remove the SIM card in an iPhone or iPad

The only thing you need in order to remove the SIM card in your iPhone or iPad is an Apple SIM card remover tool (which comes included in the box in some countries, especially when you buy an unlocked device) or a small bent paperclip.

If you're using a paper clip, straighten the long end until it projects out (see the photo above). If you're using something else, like tip of a small screwdriver, just make sure it fits into the SIM ejector slot. You don't want to mangle your device.

Find where your SIM tray is located on your iPhone or iPad model

How to remove the SIM card in an iPhone or iPad

Almost every iPhone comes equipped with a SIM card tray. The only exception was the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4. So if you have an iPhone 4s or newer, you have a SIM card slot. Here is where you can find it given your iPhone model:

  • Original iPhone/iPhone 3G/iPhone 3GS: On the top of the iPhone in between the headphone jack and power button
  • iPhone 4/4S/5/5s: On the right side of iPhone, the side opposite your mute switch and volume buttons

Only cellular capable iPads have SIM trays. If you have one, here is where you can find your SIM tray:

  • Original iPad: Along the left side of the iPad towards the middle, opposite the side that contains the mute switch and volume buttons
  • iPad 2/3/4: Along top left side of the iPad, opposite the side that contains the mute switch and volume buttons
  • iPad Air: On the bottom right side of the iPad, the same side that contains the mute switch and volume buttons

How to remove the SIM card in an iPhone or iPad

How to remove the SIM card in an iPhone or iPad

  1. Insert the small paperclip you bent earlier into the small pin hole opening in the SIM tray.
  2. Apply a small amount of pressure until the SIM tray pops out of the iPhone or iPad. Don't apply pressure at an angle, only in the direction of the pin hole.
  3. Grab hold of the SIM tray and pull straight out.
  4. Swap your SIM card and re-insert the tray. Make sure you have installed the SIM in the correct orientation. Also make sure you are inserting the SIM tray in the correct orientation.

Keep in mind that you should never force a SIM tray back in place. You can break pins off the logic board and that can leave your iPhone or iPad unable to connect to any cellular network. Always make sure the SIM is installed in the tray correctly and that you're putting it back in your iPhone or iPad in the correct direction. An easy way to be sure is to line up the pin hole. This way you know you're putting it in correctly.

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to remove the SIM card in an iPhone or iPad

30 Comments

Before any of the regulars complain, this was the second most common question we got last month. (Nobody knows until they know.)

No apology needed. I'm pretty regular. I don't know how to do it. I have Sprint. Never needed to change a sim card. And When i had tmobile i never did it as i always just upgraded to a new phone.

I have one on my keychain :) have since the first gen iPhone came out. Also have one in the console of my car, you know, just in case.. SIM removal tool AND weapon

This is why I took mine off my keychain. I punctured my thigh with the entire length of the tip and it hurt like a B.

Kept mine from my Moto RAZR on my key chain for about an hour, first time I got staved in the, it went and stayed in my desk after that.

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That's precisely why I didn't put mine on my keychain either. I learned that from painful experience with other little tools I used to have on my keychain. I keep my SIM tool in my 5S's box so I don't lose it.

Very helpful for me. Although I am significantly older than 3, I am a relatively new iPhone user and have wondered where the SIM was.

My wife wouldn't know how to remove the SIM on her iPhone. My in-laws would not know how to remove the SIM on their iPhones, either. Point being, not everyone knows let alone sees the little card that gets slid into the side of their devices upon activating in a store. And you really don't need to know what this is unless you swap devices, troubleshoot the device with the carrier or Apple or travel abroad and need to use a domestic SIM.

I had to teach my wife and in-laws what a SIM card was, why it was needed and explain the differences between the cards you get on Verizon versus AT&T. It is nice to have articles like this that I can forward to friends and family who are stumped. I like to take my time and give visuals during my explanations - but not everyone has that sort of time nor do I want to make my own tutorials.

Can I swap out the SIM card on a verizon network no problem? And if so why did I have to wait three weeks for verizon to give me a ship date to send me my phone (i ordered it midnight first day) I could not buy it from apple. (I had the 4S already) now have 5S.

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I have the official Apple SIM removal tool; it came with my 5S (I bought a unlocked one). Normally I just use a paper clip as I don't normally carry the SIM removal tool with me and paper clips are pretty easy to find. Just be careful and gentle with the paper clip so you won't scratch your iPhone.

What's the "gold edition?" My 5S is the black & space grey. I got it at the Apple Store so that might be why it came with a SIM tool.

You can get a pack of 5 sim card removal tools for less than $2 shipped on amazon they work better than messing around with a paper clip.

Well, if I have to remove a sim right NOW, odds are I don't want to wait to get a tool shipped to me on Amazon when I have a paperclip within two feet ;)

Oh crap. Paperless office. No paperclips. I think I'll try your keychain idea! Great tip!

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Yes, a common complaint but actually easy to find: 1) It's rectangular shaped 2) It has a hole like computers have for disc-eject trays(Floppy/CD). I know that dates me but who cares Mac OS FTW every-time.
I was looking at this with my phone on one side and my desktop on the other.

She meant , "How to remove the SIM card "FROM" an iPhone or iPad". By the way, I am a foreigner and English is NOT my native language.