Learning the ins and outs of your phone can seem daunting, but fully understanding how it works and all of its features will help you use it to its full potential! For instance, the SIM card. What is it? Does my phone have it? What does it do? This article will help answer those questions and help you learn more about your phone.

A SIM card, also called a subscriber identity module or subscriber identification module is a small memory card that contains unique information that identifies it to a specific mobile network. The actual SIM card is a small, removable plastic card that slots right into your cell phone. SIM cards are typically given to you by your phone carrier and can be moved from phone to phone, giving you access to the same network, messages, and numbers.

What does a SIM Card do?

SIM cards are computer chips that allow you to connect to carrier networks to make calls, send texts and connect to the internet. The remarkable thing about SIM cards is that they can be transferred from phone to phone, which is why carriers like Consumer Cellular allow you to keep your current phone by using their free SIM card. When placed in a new phone, you can retain old contacts, phone numbers, messages, and more.

 What is stored on a SIM Card?

SIM cards store data specific to you, such as your contacts and phone number. SIM cards also have an ID number, or international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI), and a personal identification number (PIN) to protect against theft.

What does a SIM Card look like?

A SIM card looks like a small piece of plastic. The important part is a small integrated chip read by the mobile device it is inserted into. The chip contains a unique identification number, phone number, and other data specific to you. If you can believe it, the first SIM Cards were the same size and shape as a credit card! Now, both Mini and Micro-SIM cards feature a cut-off corner to prevent incorrect insertion into the phone or tablet.

Here are the dimensions of the different types of SIM cards:

  • Full SIM: 85 mm x 53 mm
  • Mini-SIM: 25 mm x 15 mm
  • Micro-SIM: 15 mm x 12 mm
  • Nano-SIM: 12.3 mm x 8.8 mm
  • Embedded SIM: 6 mm x 5 mm

The size of your SIM card depends on the size of your phone and as phone sizes shrink, so does the size of SIM cards. Full-size SIM cards are typically found in older phones like iPhones up to the 3GS and older Android models, while nano-SIM cards can be found in newer model iPhones. On the other hand, you’ll find micro-SIM cards in older Samsung phones but nano-SIM cards in later Samsung Galaxy devices.

How to remove your SIM Card

Removing your SIM Card will depend on your device, but the process is a breeze whether you have an iPhone or Android.

If you have an iPhone, the SIM tray may be on the right side, left side, or bottom depending on your device.

  1. To pop open the SIM tray, insert a paper clip or a SIM-eject tool into the hole beside the tray.
  2. Push in towards the iPhone, but don’t force it.
  3. It will release, and you’ll be able to remove the SIM card from the tray.

If you have an Android

  1. First, check if you have a removable back cover (this is typical in older Samsung phones).
    • If your phone does, remove the back cover, take the battery out, and slide out the SIM card.
  2. However, if the back is sealed, look in the product manual to find where your SIM tray can be found.
  3. Insert the injection pin (or a paperclip) into the hole on the SIM tray and pull it open, removing the SIM card.

36 Thoughts on "WHAT IS A SIM CARD?"

  1. Susan says

    I keep getting a message saying. . ( Primary). Your SIM sent a text message. So what does this mean ? Cancel or Accept

    reply to Susan

  2. Hal says

    Removal of SIM card should be preceded by turning off the device.

    reply to Hal

  3. Helenmarie Sunkenberg says

    I did not know that the trays were different sizes and I “inserted with vigor” the SIM card and tray from my iPhone 6 into my husbands iPhone 7 Plus and now cannot remove it nor does his iPhone 7 work. How can you help me?

    reply to Helenmarie

    • Hi Helenmarie, I’m sorry to hear about what happened with the phones. Unfortunately, we don’t have a repair shop that can help with getting that phone repaired. What I would recommend is checking to see if you have the Apple Care+ plan active for the phones and if so you can use that to see about getting the phone repaired or replaced. Otherwise, if you’re not able to get that tray out of the phone or if the SIM reader was damaged at all, the phone may need to be replaced.

      reply to Jacob

  4. Reggae says

    How do I unlock it to use with another network ?

    reply to Reggae

  5. McQuiston Rhoda says

    I’m looking for a gadget to hold phone when I am driving & trying to follow GPS prompts. Something to attach to the dash possibly. Do you have anything like that?

    reply to McQuiston

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi McQuiston Rhoda, it sounds like you’re looking for a car mount. That isn’t something we offer, but you can find one through retailers that sell electronics or car accessories, like Target or Walmart.

      reply to Nicole

  6. carmen l vega says


    reply to carmen

  7. Andrea says

    When I want to make a call to someone this message pops up: Cellular network not available for voice calls. What needs to be done so this will not appear again.

    reply to Andrea

    • Hi Andrea, I’m sorry to hear about that trouble that’s taken place with the service. We’d be happy to help get this resolved for you. Give us a call at 800-686-4460 from an alternate phone, or chat with one of our live agents on our website here for further assistance with this.

      reply to Jacob

  8. Lyle Hill says

    Had extra line on my service. It quit working.Called for help,Talked to four(4) different reps and all gave different fixes Last fix was for a new phone. Could not accept that. So I cancelled the extra line. Not good service.

    Lyle Hill

    reply to Lyle

    • Hi Lyle, thanks for your post. When a new phone is suggested, it means all steps have been taken and the phone needs to be replaced. Keep in mind that if the phone is outside of the one-year time period, the phone is no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and we can’t replace it. If you change your mind regarding the line, we’d be happy to continue troubleshooting and look at steps such as a factory reset on the phone if that has not been done. Just give us a call at 800-686-4460 to follow up and reinstate the line if this is something you’d like to try.

      reply to Jacob

  9. Lou says

    My wife and I have LG phones and we were told that the Sim card is built into the phone. Would we have to get new phones and if so are your phones refurbished or brand new phones?

    reply to Lou

    • Hi Lou, thanks for your question. We don’t support eSIM technology, the phone would need to be able to take a physical SIM card in order for it to be considered an option. We do offer brand new phones or our Certified Risk-Free Guarantee option which are phones that are in like new condition and returned to us within the risk-free guarantee time frame.

      reply to Jacob

  10. Lois Fussi says

    I have AT&T phone service and I pay $40.00 a month for access for 4G LTEw/Visual Voicemail and $25.00 for 2GB with Rollover Data, what will be my charge for 3GB of data and phone service

    reply to Lois

  11. Phyllis says

    My senior mother has her cell and her home landline service with cellular one. If she decides to go with another cell provider can she still retain consumer cellular for her home phone and will it remain the same price?

    reply to Phyllis

  12. gmale gasser says

    puk ? vs pin ?

    reply to gmale

  13. Sherrt says

    How do I get a nano SIM card for my iPad?

    reply to Sherrt

    • Nicole at Consumer Cellular says

      Hi Sherrt, you can place an order for a SIM card on our website or by giving us a call at 888-345-5509. Please keep in mind that we can’t guarantee the iPad will function on our service, and we won’t be able to troubleshoot it if it doesn’t work.

      reply to Nicole

  14. B. Sarvis says

    Since I do not actually see a customer service ‘contact’ for email or online as advertised I will utilize this venue.
    It appears my cell phone bill was $22.25 on 6/10/22, $23.16 on 7/10/22 and (will be) $23.35 on 8/10/22. So, (why) the ‘monthly’ fee hikes suddenly?! — NOT liking this trend.
    Also, even though I have ‘not’ had good experiences w/it (incredible delays, etc.) I need another ‘Roadside Assistance’ card for my wallet sent to me.

    reply to B.

  15. SQ says

    Put SIM card in, did everything to activate my phone service and didn’t work! Checked to see if my carrier (which is you!) shows up in my settings and you are a no show! Unable to contact anyone after hours with Consumer Cellular! Inconvenience! Can’t make phone calls because phone is not activated! Nothing on website helpful! Beginning to wonder if this was a good move!

    reply to SQ

    • Hi SQ, thanks for your post. If you’re a new customer, it sounds like the number transfer may not have been completed or if you’re a current customer then we may need to activate the SIM card. Give us a call from an alternate phone at 800-686-4460 or chat with one of our live agents on our website here for further assistance.

      reply to Jacob

  16. J. says

    When will y’all support eSIM? I’d love to add a line for my Apple WTch.

    reply to J.

  17. Michael Pellicone says

    Will Consumer Cellular support the eSIM card that will be on the new Apple iPhone 14? I want to purchase the 14 when it’s released, but need to make sure Consumer Cellular will support the new eSIM card. Thanks.

    reply to Michael

  18. Michael McGlothlin says

    Will unused data roll over to next month?

    reply to Michael

  19. P.M.R.E. says

    PUK code to Re-set SIM code ?

    reply to P.M.R.E.

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