When you move your SIM to another phone, you keep the same cell phone service. SIM cards make it easy for you to have multiple phone numbers so you can switch between them whenever you like. These phones have to be either provided by your cell phone provider or they have to be unlocked phones.
With unlocked phones, you can always switch your phone service between different phones as easily as popping out the SIM card and moving it. You can also use different phone service plans in a single unlocked phone, say one for work and one for personal, by switching the SIMs.
In contrast, only SIM cards from a specific cell phone company will work in its locked phones. These phones were locked to protect operator subsidies, i.e. the amount that your cell phone operator subsidized to have you sign a contract with early termination fees.
As we have had a lot of comments and questions, we have updated this post with a few examples.
- Your phone is on carrier A. Your new phone is on the same carrier. Simply put the SIM card into the new phone and you are ready to go!
- Your phone number is on carrier A. But your new phone is on carrier B. You need to call carrier B to move your old number to the SIM card that carrier B gave you.
- Your phone is on carrier A. You have a new unlocked phone. Just put the SIM card in the new phone and that’s all you need.
These days your SIM really only holds your account information. But it can store your contacts too. If you want to learn more please read this article on saving contacts.
Got any further questions or comments? Let us know below or by tweeting to us at @JustAskGemalto.
What Is A SIM Card And What Does It Do?
If you’ve never heard of a SIM card, you’re not alone: Ideally, you should never have to worry about it. When you experience issues with your SIM card, having a little knowledge about what your iPhone’s SIM card does will help you to understand the process of diagnosing and fixing the “No SIM” error.
If you ever want to stump your techie friends with mobile phone trivia, SIM stands for “Subscriber Identity Module”. Your iPhone’s SIM card stores the tiny bits of data that distinguish you from all the other iPhone users over the cellular network, and contains the authorization keys that allow your iPhone to access the voice, text, and data services that you pay for on your cell phone bill. The SIM card is the part of your iPhone that stores your phone number and allows you to access the cellular network.
It’s important to note that the role of SIM cards has changed over the years, and many older phones used to use SIM cards to store the list of contacts. The iPhone is different because it stores your contacts on iCloud, your email server, or in your iPhone’s internal memory, but never on your SIM card.
The other notable evolution in SIM cards came with the introduction of 4G LTE. Before the iPhone 5, carriers like Verizon and Sprint who use CDMA technology used the iPhone itself to link a person’s phone number to the cellular data network, not a separate SIM card that would be placed inside. Nowadays, all networks use SIM cards to store their subscribers’ phone numbers.
Why Do We Need SIM Cards Anyway? What’s The Advantage?
SIM cards make it easy for you to transfer your phone number from one phone to another, and they tend to be very resilient. I’ve taken SIM cards out of many iPhones that had been fried by water damage, put the SIM card in the replacement iPhone, and activated the new iPhone without a problem.
SIM cards also make it easy for you to change carriers when you travel, provided your iPhone is “unlocked”. If you travel to Europe, for example, you can avoid exorbitant international roaming charges by briefly signing up with a local carrier (commonplace in Europe) and putting their SIM card in your iPhone. Put your original SIM card back in your iPhone when you get back to the states, and you’re good to go.
Where Is The SIM Card On My iPhone And How Can I Remove It?
All iPhones use a tiny tray called a SIM tray to hold your SIM card securely in place. To access your SIM card, the first step is to eject the SIM tray by inserting a paper clip into the tiny hole in the SIM tray on the outside of your iPhone. Apple has a great page that shows the exact location of the SIM tray on every iPhone model, and it will be easiest for you to take a quick look on their website to find its location and then come right back here. We’re about to diagnose and fix the “No SIM” error for good.
If You Don’t Want To Use A Paperclip…
If you don’t feel comfortable sticking a paperclip inside of your iPhone, you can pick up a handy SIM card adapter kit from Amazon.com that includes a professional sim card ejector tool and an adapter that allows you to use the nano SIM card from an iPhone 5 or 6 in older model iPhones or other cell phones. If your iPhone is ever damaged, you can use this kit to pop out the SIM card and stick it in your old iPhone (or other cell phone that takes a SIM card), and be making phone calls with your phone number right away.
How to get a nano-SIM card?
You can request a nano SIM card from your mobile network operator or if you want to get one quicker you can cut a larger SIM down to size yourself with a SIM cutter. You can always use a SIM card adaptor to fit the SIM back into a phone that takes a micro SIM or standard SIM, but odds are you won’t need to.