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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. Well, I’m GLAD you posted this!!! You’ve made me feel so much better about my dumb mistake. I can’t wait to try this.

  2. I had mine wedged in quite deep. I used one straight paperclip and made a very small hook with the other one. I was able to pull the card out this way. Thank you for the guidance!

  3. I did the same mistake and I’m still trying to pull it out. Hopefully it will come out soon

  4. Thanks for posting this, did the same thing and I’m definitely going to try this.

  5. it only took me about 15 seconds to get it out! wohoo!

  6. you`re right you were the first to pop up. I just got this same problem hopefully it works, in going to use a bobby pin.

  7. Marc, you are a genius. Your solution save the day!
    Thank you so much!
    Rafael from Brazil

  8. Hooray! The advice worked perfectly for me. I had pushed the sim card way down without the tray. It was at the bottom of the slot. The two paper clips advice worked without a hitch and I “repaired” my mistake.
    Thank you Marc van der Chijs. A casual genius.

  9. Thank you so much. I thought I broke my mum’s iPhone when setting it up and this post literally saved me

  10. I done the same thing and I used a safety pin and worked it out on both sides and done it till it came out far enough to pull it out with my fingers.. Great idea thank you…

  11. Oh my God. You just saved me! Thank you so much!!!

  12. Thank you so much I just tried your tip and it worked. I was so worried about having to phone Talktalk and tell them what an idiot I am.

  13. Thank you. I could not believe my good fortune when I saw your post. I’ve done the very same thing and will try your solution… It sure makes sense. Good thinking.

  14. Thank tih so much! That actually really helped! At first I thought I was the only one who was that dumb but then I found out that I am not the only one (not in a rude way!)
    Again thank you so much!

  15. Thank you for your tip it helped me a lot. I fought with it for over an hour and didn’t think I was ever going to get it out. Until I googled it and seen your post. Wish I would have died ne it sooner wouldn’t have ended up all stressed out and with a headache . Thanks so much again!!!

  16. Thanks.. and I agree…. it made me feel better, after I stupidly put the sym card in without the tray!.. This worked, in conjunction with a small piece of tape.. I was able to get it out.. you saved me $hundreds!!!!
    Thanks again!

  17. Now I don’t feel so silly for wedging my sim…anyway thank you so much for your brilliant tip! It worked for me when I had just given up…was going to have to pay $20 to have it taken out…saved my money with a couple of pins! Thankyou!!

  18. Thank you. I will try your approach on my companion’s iPhone and hope it works.

  19. What a star, i did exactly the same with my new iphone 5s. So glad i am not the only idoit around.

  20. THANK YOU!!!!!!! I did not have a thin enough paperclip, so I used a small1″ thin safety pin and after a minute of trying, it worked!

  21. Thank you sooooo much! I´ve lost any hope to take that card away until I´ve read you instruction. I have tried to do it with two paperclips, but coildn´t. But then I took a safety pin, I made a small hook on then end of it, then I put it on the deep and placed under the SIM and it came out in 5 second. I would never do this without your idea.

  22. My son just did this and oh my god I could kiss you! , thank you for the advice and saving us

  23. You rock, Marc! Thanks for sharing this tip…saved me a trip to Apple Store and probably some bucks!! Like many others, you also let me know I’m not the only one who made this dumb mistake!! 🙂

  24. i love u this helped me tonight i was so upset but reading this i tried it n now i have my phone you are the best n they were going to charge me 150 just do do this simple shit u saved my day

  25. I never write comments on anything but I must say: THANK YOUU!!! After unsuccessful 30 minutes of trying to get the sim out other ways and another 30 minutes of mental breakdown with a lot of tears, I finally tried this and got the sim out within 5 seconds! Thank you so much!

  26. Thanks.just now I placed the sim in the tray and pushed in ,however when no connection was made I removed the tray,surprisingly the sim has slipped into the slot and not coming out! Pls help!

  27. It worked! Not an iPhone, but uses a tray as well. Thanks a lot! I was trying to squeeze it in using both ends of an extended paperclip but it didn’t work, you saved me here mate.

  28. I love how you guys are saying it works when it doesn’t. Literally have been trying this for over half an hour.

  29. Still trying here too. My first iPhone, it´s an SE. Card got deep, and apparentçy they sold me a micro instead of a nano. Afraid to try much and damage the reader. I wonder how much an apple store will charge me considering they dont need to replace anything.

  30. That work, Thank God I saw your post! I was beginning to panic.


  31. I got my sim out by putting a safety pin one side of the sim and then using another safety pin the other side to pull it up. My sim was very deep down and only took about 5 mins to get it out 🙂

  32. Thank you, Marc! I made the same mistake just 5 minutes ago. A quick Google search brought me to your post! You saved my day!

  33. I lv u man… u just save my money n time…. thank u so much for this wonderful idea…

  34. You rock! Thank you so much for posting this and saving me a trip to the Apple Store!

  35. My daughter has just done the same with her SIM card. I followed your advice and voila – it’s out!!! Apparently, I’m officially now the best mum in the world.

  36. This is Gold !!!
    I was not concentrating and put the sim card in without the cradle.
    Your solution worked a treat, thank you.

  37. Greatly relieved to find others making the same mistake.
    Additional suggestions:
    Tilt the phone to a comfortable angle and chock it. Then cello tape firmly to table.
    Using a good torch and one paper clip ensure that the card is central in the slot.
    Make a 1mm right angled bend at the end of one of the paper clips to assist in the final extraction.
    Apply plenty of patience.

  38. Hello, I like you was changing from android and loaded it incorrectly. I tried for ages using the supplied eject pin to avail, but the double paper clip took just under 2 mins. Phew. Thanks 🙂