Does the iPad Have a SIM Card?

Only iPads that support cellular connectivity use a SIM card

Only iPad models that support data connectivity through cellular networks require a SIM card. A Subscriber Identity Module card, which authenticates the identity of the associated account, allows the iPad to communicate with cell towers to connect to the internet. 

This SIM card is virtually the same as the SIM card found in many smartphones. In the past, SIM cards were often tied to a particular carrier. As a result, some iPads were locked in to a specific carrier by a SIM card that didn't work with other carriers unless the iPad is jailbroken.

What Is the Apple SIM Card? And Do I Have One?

If you think it was inconvenient for every SIM card to be tied to a specific telecom company and every iPad to be locked into that company, you are not alone. Apple developed a universal SIM card that allows the iPad to be used with any supported carrier. 

Perhaps the best feature of the Apple SIM card is that it allows for cheaper data plans when traveling internationally. Instead of locking your iPad down when you take an international trip, you can sign up with an international carrier.

The Apple SIM card debuted in the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. It is supported in the iPad Mini 4, the original iPad Pro and newer models.

Why Would I Want to Remove or Replace My SIM Card?

The most common reason for replacing a SIM card is to upgrade the iPad to a newer model on the same cellular network. The SIM card contains all the information the iPad needs for your cellular account. A replacement SIM card may also be sent out if the original SIM card is believed to be damaged or corrupt.

Popping the SIM card out and putting it back in is sometimes used to troubleshoot strange behavior with the iPad, especially behavior related to the internet, such as the iPad freezing when trying to open a web page in the Safari browser. 

How Do I Remove and Replace My SIM Card?

Close-up of sim card and mobile phone on white table
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If your iPad doesn't include a SIM tray, it's a Wi-Fi-only model that is incapable of connections to cellular data networks.

The slot for the SIM card in the iPad is on the side, toward the top of the iPad. The top of the iPad is the side with the camera. On iPads with a Home button, you can tell you are holding the iPad in the right direction if the Home button is at the bottom of the screen. 

IPads come with a SIM card removal tool. This tool is attached to a small cardboard box alongside instructions for the iPad. If you do not have a SIM card removal tool, you can use a paper clip to accomplish the same goal.

To remove the SIM card, locate the small hole next to the SIM card slot. Using either the SIM card removal tool or a paper clip, press the end of the tool into the small hole. The SIM card tray ejects, allowing you to remove the SIM card and slide the empty tray or a replacement SIM back into the iPad.

A diagram of the SIM card slots is available at Apple support.