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iPhone SIM Card: How to properly convert to Nano SIM

Do you still own that standard SIM Card size or the smaller micro-SIM? It won’t work with a modern iPhone because of the slot size. Here’s how to cut it down.

Warning! Cut your SIM card down at your own risk

We’ve cut down SIM cards a few times, and it’s worked in all but two instances. Those aren’t actually great odds. And one instance was a bit of a headache because the SIM card could no longer be used at all (not even in the original phone).

Please remember that there are always risks involved with home modifications and don’t cut up your SIM card unless you’re happy for it not to work (in this case you’ll need to get a replacement from your carrier or buy a new one). Proceed at your own risk.

What you need

To cut your SIM card down to nano-SIM size you need the following equipment:

  • Standard or micro-SIM card

  • Nano-SIM card (for measurement)

  • Pencil

  • SIM ejector tool (or Paperclip)

  • Small pair of straight scissors

  • Nail file

  • Once you have all these to hand it’s time to get started.

Removing the nano-SIM

Use the SIM card ejector tool (or a straightened paper clip) to open the SIM card slot on your iPhone or iPad. Inside you might find a stock nano-SIM. You’ll need this. If you do not have a nano-SIM inside your iPhone, you should borrow one from a friend to help you size up your SIM.

Spotting SIM card guidelines

You may see some reports online that suggest you measure the SIM card with a ruler. This used to work with the old-style Micro-SIM cards, but it doesn’t work when creating a new Nano-SIM. For this you need to place a Nano-SIM over the metal of the old SIM and line it up by eye.

Some SIM cards, handily, have guide marks on the metal of the sim. These help you line up the Nano SIM on the regular SIM card and provide you with an area to cut out.

How to measure up your SIM card

Place the Nano-SIM on top of the regular SIM with the cut-corner on both SIM cards in the top-right (as shown in the picture). Use the guide lines to line up the metal of the SIM card in the same central position on your SIM card. Make sure you line up the central metal part of the SIM card and not the surrounding plastic. Different SIM cards have different metal vs card dimensions, so be sure to measure aging just the metal area. You should be looking to line up the central part of the metal on your full sized SIM card.

With the Nano-SIM lined up against the regular SIM draw around the Nano-SIM (and on to the regular SIM) with a sharp pencil. This create a guideline for you to cut around. Do not worry about marking the corner, pay attention to marking the sides of the Nano-SIM accurately.

Cutting your SIM

Softly, softly catchy monkey is the phrase you want to use here. It is better to trim back your SIM card a little bit at a time and not too much. Then use a file to file down the edges. We usually start with the top piece of card and the sides before carefully clipping the bottom (you can also just file down the bottom).

We are using a pair of small nail scissors to cut through the SIM card. It is typically as easy to cut through the metal of the SIM card as it is the plastic card surrounding it. You can also use regular scissors but the smaller pair offer more accuracy. If you are using nail scissors be sure to use a pair that is straight and not with a slight curve.

It’s better to trim it slightly large and squeeze it in, rather than cut off too much and it be wiggling around inside the SIM card slot. Trim off the corner manually.

Measure into the nano-SIM tray

Now place the cut up SIM card on top of the nano-SIM tray from the iPhone or iPad. It should be too large to fit into the nano-SIM tray. This is a good thing. Now you need to trim the SIM card down bit by bit until it fits snugly into the tray. Now slide the nano-SIM card into the device.

That should be it. Turn the iPhone or iPad on and iOS should say ‘Searching’ in the top-left, followed by the name of your service provider.


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