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How to get a SIM card out of an iPhone if you put it in without the tray…

Never put your SIM card into your iPhone without the tray

Just now I made a stupid mistake: I changed the SIM cards in my iPhone and my new Galaxy S3 to test if the Galaxy was SIM card locked (it wasn’t). But after putting the original card back into the S3 (just push it in until it clicks), I wasn’t thinking what I was doing when putting the other SIM back into my iPhone. The iPhone has a small tray where you need to put the micro-SIM in, so that it fits (great design Apple…). But because Android phones don’t have a tray I totally forgot about the tray and popped in the SIM without it.

The moment I did it I knew I made a mistake, because it did not click, and I realized I forgot the tray. When I tried to get the SIM out I saw it got stuck and there was no way to get it out. A quick Internet search gave me a lot of solutions (go to the Apple store, use Scotch tape, use a set of tweezers, use a toothpick and even use a vacuum cleaner!). Well, the Apple store is always a last resort solution, so I did not try that. The Scotch tape may work if the SIM is only inserted a little bit, but mine was in way too deep for that to work. The tweezers at home are too thick, just as the toothpicks. And well, the vacuum cleaner I decided not to try…

So then I started thinking, the tray has a few millimeter on each side, so there must be space on both sides of the SIM card. There should be a way to insert something on both sides of the card and then try to pull it out. But what? At that point my eye fell on the paperclip that I had used to get the SIM card tray out (another fantastic Apple design… for some reason people seem to be afraid to criticize Apple, but their products sure have some design/UX flaws). The paperclip fit in next to the SIM card, and when I got a second paperclip it just fit in on the other side! Then I started to pull slowly. At first I did not see any progress, but then I noticed the card had come up a little bit. So I tried again, and again, and again. And finally after about 2 minutes the edge of the SIM card came out. One extra pull with both paper clips and I could use my fingers to get it out! The SIM card was not damaged and it worked fine again.

Why did I post this here? Not because I think any of my regular readers will have this same problem, but more because my blog has a pretty high Google ranking and this problem may be something that others will encounter as well. I hope I can save people who Google the problem some time and expensive trips to the Apple store, where they may need to take your phone apart in order to get the card out (another great Apple design…).

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316 Comments

  1. Thank you! I felt like a total moron! Then I re read the directions and would have done the same thing again. The instructions SUCK! But THANK YOU!

  2. Thank you so much– This saved me so much time — no trip to the Apple Store here! Merry Christmas to you!

  3. Man, I hope people read my comment. Or maybe Marc will just add this to his post. Obviously I put the SIM card in without the tray so here I am Googling how to fix it. I seen this post and a cpl others. I tried this and couldn’t get it. Mine was waaaaaay in there. I had 2 needles, one in each side, and had no luck. I tried for about 5 solid minutes. Then I went back to Google to see what the other sites said. I seen this one and thank god it worked and it worked in 10 seconds. No joke. You take a needle. Hold it over a flame(lighter) for about 4 seconds, you’ll see it turn red. Then stick it into the SIM card, just barely though. You don’t have to push to much bc the needle is so hot it’s burning right through the plastic. Anyhow, let go of the needle, count to 5 and pull the needle out. Your SIM card will be stuck to it. It was AWESOME. I was so happy. I still had the little card that I just took the SIM card out of so I did a dry run with it, just so I could see how the needle would go into the plastic and how long I’d have to wait for it to cool. Trust me on this. It will save you so much time. It was the easiest thing ever. I got my iPhone working just fine, there was no damage to the SIM card.

    On another note, thanks for posting this. Like you said you do come up on Google searches, bc that’s how I got here. So thanks for helping everyone. I hope this helps to. I know it will if they try.

  4. If I did this would I damage any of the wires or whatever inside the phone? Would I still be able to put a new SIM card in and would it still work fine?

  5. i took Jerilynn’s advice because i don’t have paper clips at home. worked perfectly!

  6. This terrifying experienced just happened to me and YOU JUST SAVED MY LIFE. and also saved me from the total embarrassment of having to tell my I.T/Tech husband that this happened as he entrusted me to set up my new Sim. Where do I send the lifetime supply of thank you chocolates?

  7. Well Marc meet another ditz, I have just done exactly the same thing. I live in Spain and it’s A 220k return trip. So here goes.

  8. Thank You It Was Stuck And I Fixed It!! thank You YESSSS!!!!!!It Really Works

  9. I’ve always avoided apple products, this is my first IPhone, did the same thing, just popped that little card in, like a memory card in camera. Uggh, spent next several hours trying to dig it out with tooth picks, pins, and paper clips. No luck.
    Very reluctantly brought it to the Apple store, employee who clearly thought I was an imbecile gave me the option of waiting 2 1/2 hours to see a tech guy or make an appointment 8 days away. No way.
    On the walk back to my car I vowed to try the hot needle method when I got home……….. Worked brilliantly, got it on the second try, who ever thought of that is a f-ing genius. It’s a little daunting, but You can do it. Thanks for this thread

  10. Unbelievably I have just suffered the same issue and managed to recover it with the paper clip trick. Thank you. As a note, I made a small right angle at the bottom of the paper clip (very small) and was able to ease the clip along the side of the SIM and get behind it.

  11. I had my phone for 2 mins and this happens, this being my first iPhone so I had no idea what i was doing, i have no paper clips and me dad won’t let me put a flame or anything even slighly got anywhere near my phone… I am such a screw up, any advice?

  12. This is so funny XD. So I had made the same mistake and also thought how dumb I was, and I was going through the same thought process as you. Except, I was in my car when this happened so I didn’t research any solutions and had to figure out on my own. I ended up finding a single paper clip, straightened it, and got a tool to create a tiny hook at the end. I inserted the hook at the side of the SIM card I pulled it out in one swipe! I was so proud of myself for fixing my stupid mistake.

  13. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. words alone can’t explain how much u helped THANK YOU