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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. Thanks a lot and mate made my day from 70 year old with 1st I-phone.

  2. THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH! I was freaking out! Search in YT and only your article was helpful. I´m abroad and no Apple store in sight!

  3. thanks
    absolutely amazing solution ,i was just lost what to do and googled it ,your blog helped me instantly great idea
    may universal energy bless you

  4. It’s a lot more common than you think.. Bought my first IPhone today… Did the same think but mine is pushed in too far to attempt to retrieve it…

  5. Worked for me. I had already tried that but going nowhere until I used one of those grooved paper clips. Suddenly popped out at angle on the side of clip use and I was able to grab the little bit that suddenly came out. Good luck.

  6. Thank you SO much! Customer support couldn’t even help us out, but you did. Seriously, thank you!!

  7. Thank you so much. All of us are living in 2017 while you’re in 3017. No but seriously thanks so much. I nearly shat myself when I realised what I did. You’re a saviour

  8. And here we 5 years later. I got my first IPhone last night, a used 6S Plus. And then I did exactly what you described to a T. Now, let’s see if paper clips work.

    I really appreciate your humble, yet genuine & sincere decision to publicize your experience. (That tray is not good design work.)

  9. It worked like a charm!!! What a terrific help, I was just about to give up but this was great, thank you so much

  10. My wife just did the same stupid mistake and I tried with the 2 paper clips and I was able to bring it out at the first try, this is such a good tip.

  11. This was fun to read even though I was not having any fun once I did this. I wasn’t precisely successful with your technique but I bent my paper clip into a small L which functioned as a hook, then caught it with a tweezer when it was peeking out. Hope this helps someone else!

  12. Wow, thank you so much for the tip! It worked for me! I just upgraded to an iPhone 8+ but decided to transfer the sim from the 6 myself then did the stupid thing of putting the sim first before the tray! The two pins worked for me. I used the pin that comes with the phone and a safety pin. I also read about the glue/scotch tape solution but we have no super stick on tape at home. Again, thanks a lot!

  13. Thank you!!!! I just got it out with your method!!!!!! Thank you so much!

  14. Glad i searched on Google and found this tip. I was ready to make a trip and pay someone to fix it. Your tip helped a ton! Thanks.

  15. Oh my gosh i thought id have to have it fix when i just got it. Huhu. Thank you so much!!! Godbless you and the internet. 😂

  16. Oh my lanta, you are a life saver, I was having a whole panic attack. No need to worry thanks to you. May the Shwartz be with you.

  17. 29th March 2018 – your blog is still helping people out – thank you so much! So relieved 🙂

  18. Save the day! I powered of the iPhone and proceeded carefully. Less that 2 minutes and the sim was out!

  19. You are our Hero!!!! The paper clip technique worked perfectly!!!!!!!! Thank you.

  20. I just did the same stupid thing.
    I’m having a tough time getting it out even with paper clips.

  21. Oh, my god, thank you! The guy in the shop kind of had an attitude and didn’t put it in for me, and I’ve never done it before. I was worried I was doomed.

  22. My friend just did this and we were freaking out! THIS HELPED SOOOOOO MUCH!! you are amazing and creative. Btw it worked

  23. Thank u!!!!!!! Worked instantly after trying other methods for two days & almost giving up!!

  24. oh wow! your post just saved my iphone and my life! Even more importantly, it told me that I am not the only idiot to have inserted my SIM without the tray!

    I was about to drive to a service center and having visions of them opening the whole thing up and charging me a hundred dollars. Then I came across this post, and just used 2 metal safety pins – inserted them deep inside and tried to bend them so as to get some purchase below the SIM once they were inside. It worked magically, the SIM just popped out! No damage done, good as new!
    My wife tried with her earrings before that, and it almost came up, but not quite. You need a good grip on both sides.

  25. thank you so so so much!! I felt like such an idiot, and was sure I was going to have to take a trip to the apple store. This was the first thing that popped up on google- you are amazing!

  26. Thanks a lot! Will try. First time iPhone user with exact problem!

  27. I did the same thing but to get it out i got a paperclip and put a very tiny hook on the end [about 2mm] then poked it down the edge and pulled it up so there was a little bit sticking out then used tweezers to pull it out

  28. God I thought I was the only one to do this stupid thing! Got the SIM card out with a needle,but when inserted correctly,phone displays no sim. I’m sure it’s scratched. I hope I didn’t ruin phone,just bought it used,hopefully a new card will work

  29. im petrified of breaking my phone. I did the same and the tray went in after and now its completely stuck. I can’t get the tray out with the little do hickey that they gave me. HELP

  30. Wow, the bend paper clip method worked like a charm. My wife 78, loaded the SIM card without the tray in her new, beautiful red, iPhone 8. She followed my (82) instructions. Just imagine.
    A not so happy camper got up this morning as I felt guilty. Googling I found you post and used the bend paper clip. Thank you, I am out of the dog house!


  32. Hi There,
    I just used your method after an hour of panicking and it worked. Once in a while one comes across someone with brains and you were this one.

    Many thanks

  33. Had the same problem last night. Luckily my product designer wife with all her cool little tweezer tools came to my rescue.