All iPhones and cellular-capable iPads come with SIM card slots on their sides. A SIM (subscriber identity module) 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; if you travel internationally or plan to switch carriers, you may need to swap the SIM card in your iPhone or iPad.
If you upgrade, want to use a local SIM while traveling, or want to remove the SIM card on your iPhone or iPad for any reason, here's how!
The only thing you need in order to remove the SIM card in your iPhone or iPad is an Apple SIM card remover tool (included in the box in some countries, especially when you buy an unlocked device) or a small, bent paper clip.
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 the 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
Almost every iPhone comes equipped with a SIM card tray*; if you have an iPhone 4s or newer, you have a SIM card slot.
*The only exception was the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4.
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 4s and later: 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, near the bottom
- iPad 2/3/4: Along the left side of the iPad, opposite the side that contains the mute switch and volume buttons, near the top
- iPad Pro/Air/Air2/mini (all generations): 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
- Gently insert the small paperclip you bent earlier into the small pinhole opening in the SIM tray.
- 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.
- Grab hold of the SIM tray and pull straight out.
- Swap your SIM card. Make sure you have installed the SIM in the correct orientation by aligning the notched corners on the card.
- Re-insert the tray. Make sure you are inserting the SIM tray in the correct orientation.
Note: If you're using an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR from Mainland China with dual nano-SIM cards, the cards are placed on either side of the SIM tray, and should only fit one way.
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.
Let us know in the comments below!
Update November 2018: Added information about swapping SIM cards on the dual SIM iPhone XS and iPhone XR models for Mainland China.
Allyson Kazmucha contributed to an earlier version of this guide.