When you receive a replacement iPhone or iPad, it is important to know how to change your SIM card. If you are unfamiliar with what a SIM card is, it is "a smart card inside a mobile phone, carrying an identification number unique to the owner, storing personal data, and preventing operation if removed." With that in mind, the SIM card is detrimental in the operation of the phone and it is also tiny and fragile so it is important to follow specific steps to ensure the replacement phone works as it should.
What you will need to complete a SIM card switch:
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.
Steps on changing the SIM card:
1. First you want to ensure that the old phone is ready to be deactivated. This means that you have any important files backed up first, as once the SIM card is removed, it cannot function.
2. Once you have ensured the phone has been backed up, if applicable, you will need to power both the old and the new phones off and remove any case that may be on the devices.
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
4. Swap the SIM card:
- 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 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.
5. Once you have the SIM card in the new phone, you are now able to put your case back on and power up the phone. It shouldn't take long, if any time at all, to start working. That's all there is to it!