How to Insert a SIM Card Into a Smartphone

It's pretty easy to put a SIM card in your iPhone or Android

Inserting a SIM card into your smartphone is easy, but it can seem a little confusing if you've never done it before. To get you started, here's an explanation of the different types of SIM cards, along with step-by-step instructions on how to insert a SIM card properly in an Android or iPhone.

The Different Types of SIM Cards

There are three main sizes of SIM cards in use today: Nano SIM, Micro SIM, and Standard SIM (for older phones). The only difference is the size of the border around the chip, which allows the SIM to fit into different models of phones.

SIM card types
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The size of SIM card you'll use depends on the make and model of your smartphone. The majority of modern smartphones take a Nano or Micro SIM, with some older phones using a Standard SIM.

  • Nano SIM: iPhone 5/5C/5S and up, Google Pixel/Nexus, and Galaxy S7/Note8 and newer.
  • Micro SIM: iPhone 4/4S, older Nokia, LG, Huawei, and Motorola phones, and the Samsung Galaxy J series.
  • Standard SIM: Mostly found in older phones like the iPhone 3GS or the Samsung Galaxy Ace.

For more information on phone models and SIM cards, see this list from whistleOut.

Choosing the Correct SIM Card Size

If you're ordering a new mobile service, your SIM card will come attached to a larger plastic card. Just pop out the right size chip from the card (but don't pop it out until you're sure what size you need).

SIM sizes in plastic card
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How to Insert a SIM Card Into an iPhone or Newer Android Phone

iPhones and newer Android phones use a small tray where you can remove and insert your SIM card. On iPhones, this tray can be found on the right side of your phone. On Android, it can be found either on the side or top of the device.

  1. Power off your smartphone.

  2. Holding the front of the phone facing you, locate the SIM card tray on your smartphone. The SIM card tray has a small hole in it which is used to pop the tray out.

    SIM card try location on iPhone
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  3. Next, pop the tray out by inserting a SIM removal tool into the hole of the SIM card tray. If you don't have a SIM removal tool, you can use a paperclip or a pushpin instead.

    Opening SIM card tray on iPhone
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    SIM card trays are delicate and easily broken. The tray should come out easily, so don't force it. If you're having issues removing the tray or it's stuck, contact the phone's manufacturer for support.

  4. Now, pull the SIM card tray out of the iPhone. Make a note of how the SIM card tray fits into the slot by checking the direction of the hole. This will be helpful later when you're reinserting the SIM tray,

    Removing SIM card try from iPhone
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  5. This step is important. Set your SIM card into the tray with either the logo or gold chip size up. Note that the SIM card tray has a small notch in one of the corners, and the card will only fit one way.

    On newer smartphones, the tray may have more than one slot (see image below). The smaller slot is for a Nano SIM, and the larger slot is for a Micro SD card (to expand data storage). Some trays may even have two Nano SIM slots for two phone numbers. If you only have one SIM, use the SIM 1 slot.

    Storage slots on SIM tray
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  6. With the front of the phone facing you, push the SIM tray back into the phone. Make sure the tray is in the same position as when you removed it. It only fits one way, and it should go in easily. Never force the tray back in.

    Reinserting iPhone SIM tray
  7. Power your phone back on. The carrier information should now appear on your home display. If you have any issues with your service, contact the carrier for help.

How to Insert a SIM Card on Older Android Smartphones

With older Android smartphones, the SIM card compartment is located under the battery on the back of your phone. You'll need to remove the back cover of your phone and battery to insert the SIM card.

  1. Power off your phone and remove the back cover.

  2. Next, remove the battery from the back of your phone. For more information on how locate and remove your battery, see your phone's instruction manual.

    Person removing battery from Android phone
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  3. Once the battery has been removed, locate your SIM card slot. If there is an old SIM card in it, remove it by gently pulling it out with your fingertip.

    Android without SIM card and battery
  4. Next, slide your SIM card into the slot with the logo side up (so the gold chip makes contact with the phone's circuitry). Look for a small picture that indicates how the notched corner on the SIM fits into the slot.

    Android with SIM card and battery

    Depending on the model, you may have more than one SIM card slot in your phone, e.g., SIM 1 and SIM 2. If you're only inserting one SIM card, use the SIM 1 slot.

  5. Once the SIM has been inserted, replace the battery and the back cover of your phone.

  6. Power your Android back on. The carrier information should now appear on your home display. If you have any issues with your service, contact the carrier for help.

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