So, you want to switch one SIM card for another. Not an unusual request – in fact, phones have long been made with a dual SIM feature, allowing you to insert two cards inside one phone. Keep in mind, those ofter shared the same antenna, allowing only one at a time to access the network. Of course, people have figured out workarounds and tweaks, such as setting up call forwarding to the active one when the inactive SIM is unreachable. We’ll steer clear of those methods, and answer the question, “How does SIM swapping work?“
Instructions to swap a SIM card
We already wrote an in-depth guide on how to insert a SIM card and covered both new and old Android and iOS phones. Use the same steps to swap a SIM card, or to insert a new one next to the old SIM card. These are the 4 possibilities you can encounter, regardless of the phone model.
1. Single SIM
This one is becoming very rare since the SIM card size went down significantly. But, if you have an older phone, this is not unusual. In that case, do this.
- Follow the steps to slide a SIM card.
- Hold the tip of your finger on the SIM card.
- Slowly pull it out from the SIM card slot the way it came in.
- Take out a new SIM card (prepaid or postpaid).
- Punch out the smaller SIM card from the full-size SIM card.
- Remove the plastic rim if needed.
Go one “ring” at a time until you get to the fitting size.
- Slide the SIM card in place of the one you removed.
- Put the battery back, then the back cover.
- Turn the phone on by holding the power button.
- Enter the PIN code (or a PUK code to change the PIN).
- You can put the old SIM card in another phone if you wish.
2. Double SIM
This is also an older practice. Well, at least when it comes to mini-SIM or micro-SIM cards in separate physical SIM slots. In that case, you can swap one SIM card for another as we explained above. Or, you can insert the new card into the slot next to the old one. But wait, what if the slots don’t accept the cards of the same size? Add or remove a plastic ring cutout to make them fit.
3. Hybrid SIM slot
This is the current practice with phone manufacturers, and can technically be called double SIM, hence our apprehension above. If your phone uses a Hybrid SIM slot, you can either put two nano-SIM cards or a single nano-SIM card and a single SD card. You can even go a step further and purchase a hybrid SIM adapter, then place two nano-SIM cards and an SD card. Once again, you might not have to change a SIM card, simply place the new card into the empty slot after you open the SIM card tray. Keep in mind, you’ll need a SIM card removal tool or one of its alternatives.
4. Nano-SIM + Embedded SIM
You’ll most likely encounter this situation with newer Apple iPhone devices. You’ll pull out a SIM card tray like you’re used to, but this time, feel free to put a nano-SIM card and an SD card. That’s because the second one, the embedded-SIM card, is soldered onto the motherboard directly. That one can be reprogramed using software numerous times, allowing you to exchange SIM cards (and carriers) without ever physically swapping cards.
How to switch from SIM1 to SIM2
Here’s how to switch between SIM cards inside your operating system. This is very useful if your phone is the type #2, #3, or #4 mentioned above.
- Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
- Find Cellular and tap on it.
- Tap on Cellular Plans.
It might be named Cellular Data or Mobile Data, depending on the iOS version.
- Find the plan (or carrier) that you want to use now.
- Tap on it to make it Primary.
If gives you a prompt, choose Turn On This Line.
- Make sure there’s a checkmark on the carrier/plan you just activated.
- Tap on Settings.
- Find an option titled Network & Internet and tap on it.
- Tap on SIM cards.
- Authorize SIM2 by flicking the switch next to it to ON.
Now, choose the network operator.
- Open Settings, then Network & Internet again.
- Tap on the Mobile network option.
- Choose Network operators.
- You can now switch between SIM1 and SIM2.
- Tap on Advanced, then enable Automatically select network.
- If none were detected in the first place, the only option available will be Search networks.