How to Get a SIM Card out of iPhone in 3 Steps, With Photos

SIM card removed from a smartphone.

How to Get a SIM Card out of iPhone in 3 Steps, With Photos

Key Points

  • SIM cards are small microchips that give your phone its number and cellular connection.
  • SIM cards are relatively durable and should be handled carefully to avoid damaging the SIM tray.
  • SIM card removal tools are not always included with phones, so makeshift tools can be used.
  • The location of the SIM card slot on an iPhone varies depending on the model.
  • To remove a SIM card from an iPhone, insert a SIM removal tool into the slot, apply light pressure, and gently slide out the tray.
  • The ICCID or eSIM number can be found in the Settings app on an activated phone or on the home screen of an unactivated phone.

Most of us who’ve worked in the tech industry have replaced thousands of SIM cards. These tiny microchips give your phone its number and cellular connection. Fortunately, we can teach you how to get a SIM card out of an iPhone using household items.

A SIM card tells the cell phone towers which device is trying to connect. A SIM card has an ICCID number, which is typically between 18-22 characters. ICCID stands for integrated circuit card identification number. The code includes your card’s country, home network, and ID number. Perhaps you need to find that number, or you’re trying to activate a new iPhone. No matter your reasons for coming here, we’ve got you covered in the following sections.

Things to Know About Getting a SIM Card out of an iPhone

Before we throw you into the trenches of our tutorial, let’s cover some basic information about handling SIM cards and what they are first. Some of our readers may be concerned about handling these microchips, while others won’t understand their purpose. If that’s how you feel, read through this section.

Handling a SIM Card

If you’re worried about damaging your SIM card, we’ll let you know that they are relatively durable, so don’t worry too much about bending or breaking it. Of course, we don’t recommend actively trying to damage it. In fact, it’s more likely you could damage the SIM tray than the SIM card itself. So, when you remove the tray, be careful with it, and don’t shove it back into your phone. It should re-enter the slot smoothly.

Next, SIM cards are small. It’s best to remove the SIM card somewhere you know you aren’t going to lose it, like a clean countertop or desk. SIM cards also contain sensitive information and your phone number. So you definitely don’t want to lose it.

SIM Card Removal Tools

Phones used to come with a SIM card removal tool in the box. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case anymore. If you don’t have a tool, here is our expert analysis of makeshift SIM removal tools:

  • An earring – This is actually better than any other makeshift tool.
  • A sewing needle – This option works great, but take care not to damage the SIM tray.
  • A staple – These are small enough to fit in the ejection hole, but they’re a little flimsy.
  • A paperclip – This is one of the most commonly recommended options, but standard paperclips are too large.
  • A toothpick – This is another commonly recommended option, but if it breaks off at the ejection point, you’ll run into bigger problems.

Locating the SIM Card Slot

The SIM card slot varies in location. If you’re using a newer iPhone, it may be on the left side of the phone. Older models had the SIM slot on the right or top of the phone. Here’s an easy-to-follow list so you can find your SIM slot before moving forward:

  • The iPhone 12 and Newer – The SIM slot is on the left side of the phone.
  • The iPhone 4 to 11 – The SIM slot is on the right side of the phone.
  • The iPhone 3GS and older – The SIM slot is on the top of the phone.

Finally, not all iPhones have SIM card slots these days. Many of the iPhone 14s and higher use eSIMs. If you don’t see a SIM card slot on your phone, this may be why. However, we’ll also cover your options below.

How to Get a SIM Card Out of iPhone

Since the initial release of the iPhone (way back in 2007), the location of the SIM slot has changed quite a bit. Use the section above to easily locate the slot and gather your tools. Then, follow these steps to remove it:

Step 1: Insert the SIM Removal Tool Into the Slot

Get SIM Card Out iPhone
We’re using an iPhone 8, so the SIM slot location may vary.


Locate the SIM slot and find the small hole in the slot. Insert your SIM removal tool.

Note: We’re going to apply pressure to the iPhone. Ensure you have a tight grip on it or place it on a surface.

Step 2: Press Lightly

Get SIM Out iPhone
The SIM tool should fit in the small hole on the SIM tray.


Lightly add pressure to the SIM tool. It doesn’t take much to activate the eject mechanism. You should feel and hear feedback from the tray as it is released.

Step 3: Remove the SIM Tray

Get SIM Out iPhone
The SIM tray should pop out after applying pressure.


Remove the tool and gently slide the tray out.

When you’re ready to reinsert the SIM card, do so gently. Ensure the SIM card is properly seated and facing the correct direction.

Note: Don’t bend or reposition the tray as you remove it.

How to Get a SIM Card Number out of an iPhone

As we explained earlier, not everyone has a SIM slot. Before we leave this tutorial, let’s review a few ways to retrieve your ICCID or eSIM number without removing the card.

The Settings

If your phone is already activated and set up, you can find the ICCID number in the Settings. Open the Settings app and tap on General. Then, tap About. Scroll down until you see the SIM or eSIM number.

Note: You can also find the IMEI number here.

The Home Screen

If your phone isn’t set up yet, it won’t show you much information. Fortunately, you can tap the i icon in the lower right corner and quickly pull up the SIM and IMEI numbers. This solution works for those who aren’t ready to set up their phones or who did a cross-upgrade and need to activate it on a phone number it isn’t already attached to.

The Wrap-Up

Hopefully, you’re long gone by now and enjoying a new phone, or you’ve fixed any problems that brought you to our helpful website. Removing a SIM card from an iPhone is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is locate the slot and apply pressure using an effective tool. However, it’s important that you don’t lose the card or damage the tray.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a SIM Card?

A SIM card is a microchip that goes into your smartphone so it can communicate with cell phone towers. Each cell phone carrier has its own SIM cards, and some carriers on the CDMA network (Verizon and Sprint) actually have different SIM cards for different iPhone models.

Can I swap my SIM card to activate a new phone?

Sometimes, yes. If you have a smartphone on the GSM network (AT&T or T-Mobile), you can swap your SIM card and activate a new device on your phone number. However, Verizon customers may need to call to have their IMEI number updated in the system.

Where do I get a new SIM card?

If you need a new SIM card, you must get it from your cell phone carrier. The best place to get one is at the carrier’s store. Unfortunately, due to SIM fraud, many cell phone carriers won’t ship SIM cards anymore.

What do I do if I lose my SIM card?

The first thing you should do if you’ve lost a SIM card is call your carrier to have it deactivated. SIM cards are hot-ticket items, and you don’t want someone running up international charges on your bill. Then, inquire how to go about getting a new one.

Do SIM cards store data?

SIM cards can store data — but only 250MB worth and typically only contacts. Storing data on SIM cards is an outdated practice, so losing information isn’t something to be too worried about these days (especially in smartphones).

However, if you have an older SIM card from pre-2013, valuable contacts may be on it.

Do all iPhones take SIM cards?

No. Newer model iPhones only have eSIMs (electronic SIM cards). Therefore, if you don’t find a SIM slot, you must call your carrier for assistance activating or deactivating your phone.

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