Do iPhones have SIM cards? What size do you need?

Mint Fox holding a SIM card with graphic copy that says “Do iPhones have SIM cards?”

Like all wireless devices, iPhones have SIM cards of varying sizes. That’s because SIM cards are absolutely necessary to use mobile services on your phone if they run on the GSM (no clue what that is? Find out more with our blog on GSM vs CDMA). A GSM phone without a SIM card would be like peanut butter without peanuts. It just wouldn’t work. 

As for what size you need, you can find that information, and a whole lot more about iPhones and SIM cards, by reading on.

What is a SIM card for iPhones?

iPhones use the same type of SIM cards that other phones use. Either they have a physical SIM card or an eSIM, also known as an embedded SIM, which is a completely virtual SIM card. Unlike other SIM cards, you can’t physically touch an eSIM. Today’s iPhone models all use Nano SIM cards (in fact, these have been in use since the iPhone 5). But the really new models, like the iPhone 13, also allow for eSIM cards. 

Mint Fox with a bunch of different SIM card sizes, from Nano to Mini

Which SIM card for each iPhone?

Wondering which iPhone SIM card goes with which iPhone? Here’s an iPhone SIM card chart of the different iPhone SIM card sizes so you know which size you need if you’re swapping to a new SIM card. If you’re switching SIM cards, some providers even provide 3-in-1 SIM cards with their plans so you’ll for sure have the right size you need. Just saying.

iPhone ModelSIM card size
The OG iPhone SIM card sizeFull-size SIM
iPhone 3 SIM card sizeFull-size SIM
iPhone 4 SIM card sizeMicro SIM
iPhone 5 SIM card sizeNano SIM
iPhone 6 SIM card sizeNano SIM
iPhone 7 SIM card sizeNano SIM
iPhone 8 SIM card sizeNano SIM
iPhone 10 SIM card sizeNano SIM & eSIM
iPhone 11 SIM card sizeNano SIM & eSIM
iPhone 12 SIM card sizeNano SIM & eSIM
iPhone 13 SIM card sizeNano SIM & eSIM

As you might expect, a full-size SIM is the biggest of all of the SIM cards (its measurements are 85 mm x 53 mm) and nano SIM cards are the smallest (coming in at just 12.3 mm x 8.8 mm). eSIM cards, as mentioned above, are completely virtual SIM cards, so please don’t ask us to try and measure them. Want to learn more about SIM card sizes and what this all means? Go ahead, click that blue link.

How to remove an iPhone SIM card

If you ever need to take out your iPhone’s SIM card (ahem, like when you’re switching mobile providers), here’s a general guideline–although it usually will depend on which model you have.

  1. First look for the SIM tray on your phone. For most iPhones, this will be on the right-hand side. For an older iPhone, look for the SIM tray on the top. 
  2. After you’ve found it, use something like a paperclip or a SIM Ejector Tool to push it in gently. We give a pretty nice one via our free trials. 
  3. It will release and you’ll be able to remove the SIM card from the tray.
  4. Voila–put in the new SIM card of your choice and call someone/text someone/give all of your contacts fun emojis next to their names. Your old SIM card can be recycled (usually your wireless provider can do that for you).
Mint Fox scanning an eSIM QR code on his phone

Is my iPhone eSIM- compatible? 

Newer generations of iPhones are eSIM compatible. The new iPhone 13 even offers dual- SIM compatibility, meaning you could have two eSIM cards or a physical SIM card and an eSIM (find out more about that via our article on dual SIM). Because why choose?

Curious how to add an eSIM to your iPhone? Usually all you have to do is scan a QR code to download it. That’s right–it’s as easy as getting a restaurant’s menu up on your phone. 

What data is stored on iPhone SIM cards?

Unlike other devices, the data stored on an iPhone SIM card is actually a little different from most SIM cards. iPhone SIM cards don’t store things like your contacts and other user data, unlike other SIM cards that usually also have your contacts and that data stored. That’s because user data is actually stored in your iPhone’s storage or on the iCloud. This makes it even easier to switch SIM cards when you have an iPhone, because all of your data is right there still in your device. Check out what else other SIM cards store via our guide on what is stored on a SIM card. 

Can you buy a new SIM card for the iPhone?

F*! yeah you can (we said fox). If you’re looking to switch to a wireless carrier that, say, offers premium wireless for just $15/mo and has a fun, green fox mascot, part of the process to make the switch involves getting a new SIM card (or eSIM). Being able to buy a new SIM card also makes it so you can bring your own phone if you switch carriers, for an extra side of savings. Of course, to switch SIM cards, you’ll need an unlocked phone, so make sure to read our unlocked phone guide to find out what the f*! that is (we said fox again). 

As mentioned above, because iPhones store important info like your contacts and all of the pictures of your dog on the iCloud or in storage, it makes swapping SIM cards even easier because all that data will still be on your phone. For more information on what happens during this process, check out our guide on what happens after you switch SIM cards.

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