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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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  1. I would like to thank all of you folks who suggested using two small paper clips to get my Sim card out of my new Ipad 2 air. It took a little patience, but in the end I was successful in removing it. Next time I will use the tray. Apple should have a small instruction sheet with a pictorial for us old seniors. I will sleep better tonight. Tnx.

  2. Waooo,am relieved.same happened to me nd i make used of d paper clip not up to 10seconds i got d sim out.tnx so much.

  3. I just did this with my new iphone 6plus and had an appt set with the Genius bar…took about a min with a bobby pin. Thank you!

  4. Thanks so much, just managed to get tray out of my phone without the sim card, paper clips worked for me too.

  5. Let me be one of many to thank you for this information!! It took 10 minutes and a few swear words, but it worked!!

  6. Thanks it worked and it took only one minute with paper clips. OMG I was trying for more then two hours with different ways. Thanks again……….


  8. I tried the paper clip technique with my iPhone Plus 6 and it worked! Thank you so much for this very helpful post. You just saved me several hours of driving and waiting at Apple Store. Many many thanks!

  9. I just did this. I took 2 fine needles and put them on either side of the sim card. Pinch them together so they are snug and slowly lift out. It will at least bring the sim card closer to the opening and then I took the needle and was able to slide it all the way out. Problem solved! Took minutes.

  10. Thank You!! My son was soooo embarrassed that he had put the SIM in without the tray, glad we could fix it without spending money!!!

  11. Well, tried the paperclips for like an hour and couldn’t get it out (with mini paper clips – bad and good idea). Eventually I pulled it up with two normal paper clips and got it towards the edge and curled a mini paperclip and pushed it into the corner where the corner of tne sim stuck out and I managed to pinch the corner and pull it out – unfortunately mr. Sim got a battle scar wound down the side of his gold plates and I wasted my whole night – drove to the Apple store 20 mins to get lost 15 mins even farther (no phone no GPS) and was riding around the dirty ghetto hood and had to take a piss in a bush outside of a Dunkin Donuts! Im on the bank camera pissing. But anyways after getting this sim card THis foreign beyotch on the Sprint chat at 11 30 pm (i know my fault) tells me she needs the mothafuckin MEID number of the phone like bitch I don’t have the original box and I am stuck on this damn activation screen and can’t get past it without you activating the SIM card. After that she says have you checked in the settings and I told her again no I can’t get past this screen let me try to insert this sim card and that’s when I popped the sucker into the side of the phone without the tray not even thinking and she fell to her death. Now its 3:54 in the morning and I’m about to publish this but I have to be up for work in 4 hours and I didn’t even get the iPhone activated after not having a phone for a couple of months. What the hell is this bullshit, I should just move to Canada! EH?

  12. I have inserted the simcard without tray , after that my phone stop working. What to do ?:( I am so worried. Kindly help

  13. Thank you so much for your post because it worked using the two paper clips to get out the stuck sim card. My son was excited just getting the phone for Christmas and just made the mistake because he wasn’t used to and put in the card without using the tray. He freaked out and then we googled it and found your post. Thank goodness, it worked!!!!

  14. Thanks for the different suggestions offered on this website. The same thing happened to me yesterday. I absentmindedly inserted the SIM card without the tray. After trying different methods without success, I applied a little bit of mathematics (the diagonal of a rectangle is longer than the length of the sides). So I used a paper clip to slowly rotate the SIM card till one corner protruded out. Then I used a pair of tweezers to carefully pull the card out. Worked for me. Hope this helps.

  15. SIM card inserted without tray issue happened to me, Apple Air 2. It fit. Completely ridiculous design.
    Told to send the new device in to be replaced as it was *damaged*. $$$
    Strong sewing needle saved day for me.

  16. thank you very much for sharing. as you say with a bit of delicate fiddling it works. good tip

  17. Thank you so much for sharing. It worked perfectly in 30 seconds.

    Also for those people who can’t find paperclips, the Apple keys work fine as well

  18. Brand new Nexus 5x, same problem, inserted card without tray, read your post and dental pick worked in 50 secs. Brilliant thank you

  19. I just did the same thing with an iPhone 4. Got the Sim card out with just one Qantas stick pin, but had two just in case. Thanks for the tip.

  20. I have a problem now in my iphone4. I removed my sim card for some reason but when I put it back The sim card tray not flush anymore. I try to push it a little but it still not flush. Hope anyone can help me what should I do.

  21. After sucking and bashing my iPhone to try to get the sim card out I’m now hunting a paperclip but I can no longer see the sim inside the phone so hopefully your trick will help thank you

  22. Wow! It worked, may you live a 1000 years, the paper clip trick saved my day

  23. My sim card nano has gone deep inside of the slot without tray .
    how do i take it out without opening the phone.

  24. Thank you so much! My husband is an impatient idiot & jammed our daughter’s Sim card in her iPhone without the tray & got it stuck. I just assumed it would have to be professionally repaired because it’s an Apple product & was Googling how much it might be & found your post. I decided to try the paperclip trick to save money & voila! Mom saved the day πŸ™‚

  25. Thanks so much! Worked perfectly in less than a minute.

  26. thanks for the info!
    alternate tool – i used two staples – thinner – i flattened them out on one end, and put the slightest little hook on each – maybe 15 degrees – and i was able to coax it out relatively quickly! πŸ™‚

  27. Thanks Marc
    This have saved me from a big issue. My mistake using the phone of my son.
    Very generous from you to share

  28. Thanks I’ll try that Iv’ done the same thing!!

  29. THANK YOU!!!! Was just about to make an appointment with the
    Genius bar when my son found your solution. It worked beautifully. He just got an iPhone 6S and put the sim card in without the tray. Verizon couldn’t help us, tweezers didn’t work but your method worked in about 10 seconds. Thank you sooooo much for posting.

  30. Thank you for the tip! Saved me a trip to the Apple Store!

  31. Omg your such a huge help , I literally got my iPhone 6plus today and I was so excited that I took the sim card out of my old phone and decided to just get it done ASAP . I was already having a hard time taking out the sim slot so once I got that out of the way I didn’t realize that the Sim card was supposed to go inside the slot so I kindly push it inside the IPhone & it got stuck 😭😟 but thanks to your answer I got it out next time I for sure will be more patience with Apple products

  32. Thank you so much! You have just saved my day! And my iPhone πŸ˜‰

  33. Just did the same thing to my wife’s me iPhone. It’s yet another reason on an already huge pile of reasons to avoid Apple products — their “be different for no reason but to make things harder for people” philosophy.

  34. You, my friend, are an absolute star. My sim card slipped off the tray and in to the phone and I followed it rather quickly with the tray so made sure it was nice and jammed! I spoke to my provider and Apple and it was looking rather grim until I did some detective work and came across your solution. It worked and all is well, thank you so much for your words of wisdom!

  35. Thanks you sir. …. i did the same stupidity but saved my time. ….
    Thanks to share the experience

  36. Omg thank you so much !! This worked in 6 seconds !! My fiend as helping me set up my new rep lament phone and accidentally stuck the SIM card in without the tray!!