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I understand that for certain iPhone models it is necessary to get a new SIM if I want to exchange them.

If I have a 4S and want to exchange it with a user who has just purchased a 5, is this possible to do by simply following the same straightforward SIM-transfer procedures used to exchange (for example) a 4 with a 4S.

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

According to this article, the problem isn't just the size.

It turns out, as well as a smaller size, the Nano SIM is reportedly 15% thinner than the Micro SIM cards. So even if users cut the Micro SIM to Nano SIm size with a knife or nano SIM cutter tool, the Sim card would still be too thick to put in the iPhone 5.

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+1 for clearing this out why a cutting tool won't work. – FLY Sep 14 '12 at 13:58

short answer: No

The iPhone 5 has the Nano-SIM The iPhone 4 and 4s have the Micro-SIM

iPhone 5 is not compatible with existing micro-SIM cards.

found on the apple site

You have to go to your mobile provider and get a replacement Nano-SIM if you're using the micro-SIM. The other way around you can use an adapter or get a replacement SIM as well.

It could be possible if you haven't used the Nano-SIM you can 'cut out' the Nano as a Mirco-SIM if your provider provides it like that:

enter image description here

There are nano-SIM cutters on the market to cut out a nano-SIM from a normal or micro SIM but I'm not sure these work seeing some bad reviews on the internet... according to Joseph's answer the nano-SIM is also thiner making it impossible to just cut a normal or mircro SIM.

edit: Now I've seen reports that using sandpaper to make the SIM thinner will work. question is are you willing to go trough all the trouble cutting and sandpapering your SIM while you could get/buy a new one at he store that will work 100% ?

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Good to know. So there's another step involved: SIM exchange at the AT&T store, correct? – raxacoricofallapatorius Sep 14 '12 at 13:36
As for my transfer from a 'normal' to micro-SIM when i switched to the iPhone 4 I could get a micro-SIM at my mobile provider store ( I don't have AT&T ) but I'm sure you should be able to get a replacement SIM there. – FLY Sep 14 '12 at 13:39

Nope, you'll have to change the SIM card to put it in an iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 uses a new SIM card format called nano-SIM, and it is not possible to convert a micro-SIM (SIM for the iPhone 4) to a nano-SIM.

However, the reverse operation is possible. Adaptors exist (or will exist) to convert nano-SIM to the micro or normal SIM formats.


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It is definitely possible to cut the microSIM to nanoSIM. I changed from iPhone 4s to iPhone 5s with no problems. That's the instruction I used (in German):

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Today I took the micro SIM out of an iPhone 4, cut it with scissors to fit the nano SIM loading bay of an iPhone 5S, and it worked fine. I had to cut away about 2mm of the micro SIM metal on one edge. I'd still recommend getting a nano SIM replacement though. :)

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I took a T-Mobile sim card from a blackberry then used nail clippers to put it into my unlocked iPhone 4 then when I bought the iPhone 5 I used nail clippers and a nail file to make it even smaller and match it to the shape of the iPhone 5. The trick was that I had to match the design on the gold part of the sim and make sure it went into the sim holder with the design facing the same way as the iPhone 5 sim. So I had to turn my sim upside down first . it took me a minute to figure that out. Make sure that the pattern on the gold part of the sim card faces you the same way as the original sim so everything lines up when you put it into the phone. Does that make sence? Hard to explain but I promoise u this worked.

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Nano sim for Straight Talk is available at Walmart. Get a Straight Talk bring your own phone kit.

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Well I had an iphone 4 and used the SAME exact sim card for my 5. All I did was take a replica of the iphone 5 sim and cut it down to size. Put it in, and it works perfectly. No issues. Try it.

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That can't work, and will damage your card. If you have proof that it works though, that would work. – Spotlight Apr 15 '15 at 20:47

I just took a family mobile sim card from my ZTE Zinger and cut the card with a broad wire cutter, (dont use sissors, u need something that will make the cut in one chop, like a nail clipper, but with a straight cutting end). I put the card into a newly unlocked Iphone 5, and it worked fine.

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