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Convert a SIM Card to Micro SIM by Cutting with Scissors & a Nail File

If you’ve opened the sim card tray on a newer iPhone, you’ve probably noticed the card is considerably smaller than an average sim, these tiny cards are known as a micro SIM. The smaller SIM format is gaining traction but there are still tons of cell providers and phones that use the regular sized SIM card, including T-Mobile, many prepaid plans. and pay-go plans that you’ll find both at home and abroad. Now, obviously that full sized sim isn’t going to fit into the micro tray, but guess what? You can cut it down to size and convert any standard SIM to a micro SIM.


I recently helped a friend through this process which took about 10 minutes, it’s somewhat tedious but considering the new ways to unlock any iPhone directly through AT&T or with the SAM method, it’s worth it if you need to use another carrier. If you don’t want to deal with the manual conversion process or you plan on doing this often, you can buy a Micro SIM Cutter & Converter package with 2 SIM adapters directly from Amazon to speed things up, it’s basically a $5 hole puncher that is fit for micro sims.

This is what you’ll need to perform the manual SIM to Micro SIM conversion:

  • Patience, and up to 15 minutes
  • Sharp scissors – for cutting the sim card
  • Sharp knife – for scoring where to cut on the sim card
  • Nail file – for sanding down tiny edges
  • Micro-SIM card – for comparing the original sim card to, makes the job much easier
  • Ruler – optional but makes your life easier if you don’t have a micro card to compare to

My toolkit looked like the picture below, and I ended up getting away with using only the scissors and a nail file to complete the entire process. A ruler and a pencil may be helpful for some too, but I’ve noticed many SIM cards have different sizes of plastic around different portions of the card, the only thing that is really consistent are the location of the metal contact points. Precise measurements are hard to provide because of that and it’s best to have a real micro sim card to compare to.

Tools to cut a SIM card down to micro SIM

There isn’t much to say in terms of instruction other than the obvious, cut the SIM down to micro SIM size. This is easy if you have a micro SIM to follow as a guide, but if you don’t and you’re just winging it the Solutios walkthrough found here is about as good as you’ll find online, but remember to emphasize the golden contacts.

  • Trim the plastic away from the SIM card to match the size found on a Micro SIM, preserving the metal region. With some old sim cards you may need to trim some of the side metal, just don’t go beyond the first inner black line on the metal contact.
  • The three metal contact points at the tip of the SIM card are the most important, seen below labeled as “1 2 3”, you want these to be in the same position on the converted SIM as they would be on a real micro SIM
  • File down remaining rough or tiny edges so that the converted SIM fits into the micro SIM slot, it’s better to have a tight fit than a loose fit
  • Pop the converted SIM into the iPhone 4, 4S, etc, and try it out

SIM card contact points during micro sim conversion

You will know within about 30 seconds whether the conversion worked or not because the iPhone will immediately start searching for the network and connect to it. If you are trying to use a cell providers card other than what your iPhone was intended for your iPhone needs to be unlocked, there is no exception to that rule.



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