Yes, You Can Cut Your Micro-SIM Down Into A Nano-SIM For Your iPhone 5

Yes, You Can Cut Your Micro-SIM Down Into A Nano-SIM For Your iPhone 5

The nano-SIM isn’t just smaller than the micro-SIM — it’s also thinner.

If you’re expecting a new iPhone 5 on Friday, and you’re buying it unlocked directly from Apple, you’re going to need a nano-SIM to go with it. Obtaining one is easy if your carrier is one supporting the new device, because you can just call them up and request one. But what if you’re already stuck in a contract with a carrier that doesn’t provide nano-SIMs yet?

Fortunately for you, scissors, some sandpaper, and a pair of steady hands will allow you to cut down your existing SIM or micro-SIM into a nano-SIM.

The nano-SIM is around 40% smaller than the micro-SIM, measuring 15 x 12 x 0.76mm. That means there’s zero chance you’ll be able to stuff your micro-SIM into your iPhone 5 without modifying it first. But CNET reports that it’s possible to cut down the micro-SIM for a nano-SIM slot — just like you could cut down your iPhone 3GS’s regular SIM card for use in the iPhone 4. It does require a little more work, however.

You see, not only is the nano-SIM smaller than the micro-SIM, but it’s also 12% thinner. That means you don’t just need to cut it down to size, but you also need to put it on a diet and thin out out a little bit. CNET’s John Chan explains:

Now, let’s say the SIM tray on the iPhone 5 allows a nano-SIM up to 0.70mm (as permitted by the allowance in the standard set by ESTI), I will need to pare down 0.12mm on my micro-SIM so that it will fit. After a few minutes of sanding with some sandpaper (240 grit, for those who care), it was finally down to 0.70mm. But did the sanding damage the card?

I’m happy to report that the card, even at 0.70mm, continued to work when inserted in an HTC One X. Sanding the non-metal side of the micro-SIM did not appear to affect how it functions.

Before you go ahead and do this, wait until you receive your iPhone 5 on Friday and double-check that a micro-SIM cut down to size — without sanding — doesn’t fit. It’s likely it won’t, but as Chan notes, we can’t be sure of that until the iPhone 5 is released and it can be tested.

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  • mr_bee

    Another thing to check is whether your carrier supports LTE. In Canada for instance, (and I assume elsewhere), the carrier needs to give you a new SIM for you to be able to access LTE. You can cut/sand down your old one and it will “work,” but your phone will not use LTE without the new SIM and thus you will be about half as fast as everyone else. Sad but true.

  • zviivz

    The ingenuity of Singaporeans … thanks Starhub!

  • tdubose91

    I thought the unlocked version was not going to be out until November…

  • Tallest_Skil

    I thought the unlocked version was not going to be out until November…

    The US isn’t the entire world.

  • simonhackett

    Here’s an excellent template, and a youtube tutorial, on how to do it: http://www.airportal.de/nanosim/

  • simonhackett

    (no sandpaper required)

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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