How to remove the SIM card in an iPhone or iPad

The back of an iPhone pictured with a sim card resting on it
(Image credit: iMore)

Removing your SIM card safely from your iPhone's SIM tray is a pretty easy task that shouldn't cause a problem. That said, if you remove the SIM card wrong, you can damage your new iPhone, so it's important to know exactly how to do things properly.

Since the launch of the iPhone 14, US iPhone customers no longer have access to a SIM tray, but worldwide users, like those of us in Europe, do. So, if you've just purchased a new iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro, you'll want to know how to remove your SIM card safely.

Follow our step-by-step instructions below, and you'll be able to quickly and easily remove the SIM card from your iPhone or iPad whenever you need.

How to remove the SIM card in an iPhone or iPad: step by step

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

The only thing you need to remove the SIM card in your iPhone or iPad is an Apple SIM card remover tool. These are often included in the original box your Apple device came in. 

However, a small, bent paper clip will also get the job done. If you're using a paper clip, straighten the long end until it projects out (see the photo below). 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 break your device.

A person holding a paperclip, which is essential for sim card removal

If you're using a paperclip, then you'll need to straighten the long end so you can use it as a makeshift SIM tool. (Image credit: iMore)

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

An image of someone holding a bent paperclip over an iPhone

You've got the bent paperclip, next you'll need to find the SIM tray. (Image credit: iMore)

Almost every iPhone comes equipped with a SIM card tray – but there are exceptions, so you'll need to check your specific model. Here's 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 to iPhone 11: On the right side of iPhone, the side opposite your mute switch and volume buttons.
  • iPhone 12 to iPhone 15: On the left hand side of the iPhone, the same side as your mute switch and volume buttons.

Note: Since the iPhone 14, new iPhone models purchased in the US no longer have SIM trays. They have eSIMs instead. 

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 5/6/7/8/9 and 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

Someone holding a bent paperclip next to an iPad

Once you've located your iPad's SIM tray, you'll need to use your bent paperclip carefully. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Gently insert the small paperclip you bent earlier into the small pinhole 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. Make sure you have installed the SIM in the correct orientation by aligning the notched corners on the card.
  5. 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.

The main thing to bear in mind is 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.

Mick Symons

Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.

With contributions from