IPhone SIM Cards: Everything you need to know

If you own an iPhone, you probably have already heard a thing or two about iPhone SIM cards.

What are SIM Cards?

SIM cards are basically small, removable smart cards used in cell phones and smartphones.

These smart cards are used to store the user’s information such as phone number, the phone company you use, your billing information and your address book containing your contacts.

SIM also known as Subscriber Identity Module cards is also used to switch easily from one phone to another.

If for instance you buy a new phone, you can easily transfer your address book and phone service to your new device.

This also makes things much easier especially for those that travel often.

Instead of spending thousands of dollars on international calls and data when you travel abroad, simply buy a local SIM card and insert it into your device and you are good to go.

It is also important to note that not all phones have SIM cards.

Some phones are designed in such a way that you can’t remove the SIM card while others may not be compatible with SIM cards provided by other network providers other than the one it comes with.

Types of SIM Cards used in iPhones

Each iPhone has a particular type of SIM card it supports. (More on that later in this article)

There are mainly three types of SIM cards available for use on iPhone.

1. SIM

This is what I love to refer to as the conventional type of SIM card.The SIM is usually the size of a credit card or ATM card.

However, the part that’s really important is a small squared card that can be pooped out of the large credit sized SIM.

These are the most commonly used especially among individuals using older versions of mobile phones.

2. Micro SIM.

This is a much smaller SIM card compared to the original SIM.

It was first used on a smartphone in 2010 when Apple debuted the iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4 is credited for being the first smartphone device to support use of the micro SIM.

3. Nano-SIM

The nano –Sim first appeared on the market in 2012 when the iPhone 5 had just debuted.

It is about 12% smaller than the micro-SIM.

It really is an extremely smaller version of the SIM card.

Over the years, many service providers have improvised and made it quite easier for their customers to have access to all these types of SIM cards.

If you bought a SIM card today form any known telecom service provider in any part of the world, you can be certain you will receive a normal SIM that is sub divided into smaller sections.

This allows customers to easily pop out the other types of SIM cards from the larger card

iphone sim cards

4. eSim

This SIM card first debuted in the iPhone XS series and the iPhone XR.

It can be easily programmed for users and can be used as a secondary or even primary SIM card in any device.

This allows users the option to use two different network providers with one phone.

Majority of these SIM cards are compatible with Apple products especially the iPhone but not all Apple products use these SIM card types.

Apple has its own SIM commonly known as Apple SIM.

The Apple card is commonly used on iPad models that connect to 3G and 4G cellular networks.

Here’s a list of SIM cards used by each iPhone Model

IPhone Models SIM Type
Original iPhone SIM
iPhone 3G and 3GS SIM
iPhone 4 and 4S micro-SIM
iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S nano-SIM
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus nano-SIM
iPhone SE nano-SIM
iPhone 6S and 6S Plus nano-SIM
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus nano-SIM
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus nano-SIM
iPhone X nano-SIM
iPhone XS and XS Max nano-SIM
iPhone XR nano-SIM
iPhone 11 nano-SIM
iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max nano-SIM
iPhone SE (2nd gen.) nano-SIM

Does iPad have SIM card?

This entirely depends on a few factors.

Though some iPads will come with a SIM card, others won’t.

Apples most recent iPad tablets, the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 use the nano SIM card.

In short, only devices that connect to cellular phone networks require a SIM card.

That’s why devices such as the iPod touch do not have a SIM card since they don’t support cellular phone networks.

Are you wondering how to remove the iPhone SIM card? See our detailed guide on how to open SIM card slot without SIM tools.

Data Stored on iPhone SIM cards

One of the things that set iPhone apart from many other phones on the market is not just its design and unique security features but also what is stored on iPhone SIM cards.

Typically on any normal phone you will ideally have all your contacts and personal information such as phone number and billing information stored on the SIM card.

Shockingly, this is not the case for iPhone.

The iPhone SIM card only stores the customer’s data such as the phone number and billing information.

All your contacts and address book is usually stored in the iPhone’s main storage also known as the iCloud.

No user data is stored on the SIM card.

It is for this reason that switching SIM cards on iPhone won’t affect your saved contacts or any other information you may have stored there.

Where to find the iPhone SIM on Each Model

iPhone Model SIM Location
Original iPhone Top, between on/off button
and headphone jack
iPhone 3G and 3GS Top, between on/off button
and headphone jack
iPhone 4 and 4S Right side
iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S Right side
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Right side, below on/off button
iPhone SE Right side
iPhone 6S and 6S Plus Right side, below on/off button
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Right side, below on/off button
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Right side, below on/off button
iPhone X, XS, XR Right side, below on/off button
iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Right side, below on/off button
iPhone SE (2nd gen.) Right side, below on/off button

iPhone Models and SIM Tray locations

For most iPhones, the SIM tray is situated on the right side of the phone.

On the earlier models however, you will find the SIM tray on the bottom edge of the phone.

Did you know that WhatsApp dark mode is finally out for both desktop and mobile? See our ultimate guide on How to Use WhatsApp dark mode in 5 easy steps.

Can I use a SIM pin for iPhone or iPad?

It is entirely possible to protect your SIM card from being accessed by others without your knowledge.

You simply have to enable the SIM pin. This will lock your card automatically such that each time you restart your device, you will have to enter your SIM pin to use the phone.

You will always use a “Locked SIM” notification in the status bar every time you restart or remove your SIM card.

How can I unlock my iPhone if I forgot the passcode? Read our detailed guide on How to Unlock iPhone Without Password in 3 Easy Ways.

Can you put a SIM card from an Android phone into an iPhone?

Yes, you can put a SIM card from an Android phone into an iPhone.

Just make sure that the SIM card size is compatible with your iPhone.

Just in case you realize that your SIM card size may not fit into your iPhone, you can adjust the SIM card size to a smaller one such as the nano SIM.

This is something you can do yourself by cutting the SIM card to the size of a nano SIM.

I however discourage people from doing it.

It is much better to have your SIM card size reduced to a nano SIM or micro SIM card by a professional.

However if you are up to the task and you are willing to risk destroying your SIM card possibly to the point of rendering it useless then please go ahead.


It is important that you learn as much as you can about your phone and all that come with it.

This will allow you easily troubleshoot simple errors on the phone and save you hundreds of dollars you would have otherwise spent on repairs and fixes you could actually do yourself.

Do you have any question or inquiry for me?

Let me know in the comments below.

Also share this blog post with your friends and family.


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