Do iPhones have SIM cards

From Physical to eSIM: Know all about iPhone SIM Cards


Switching to iPhone for the first time? You may get a surprise when it comes to using SIM cards. Do iPhones have SIM cards? Here’s all you need to know before making your move.

Like all smartphones, iPhones have SIM cards but of different sizes. SIM cards are necessary to use mobile services from the network provider, like data and radio bands enabling phone calls and texts. All the connectivity is made possible by the SIM card’s ICCID and IMSI number. Simply saying, a phone without a SIM card is an unconnected gadget and incomplete, like an ocean without water.

Do iPhones have SIM cards?

Over the years, Apple’s choice of SIM cards for its devices has changed greatly—different sizes for different models. Take the example of its latest 14 series. They’ve removed the physical SIM card slots (only in US models). Now, you don’t need a physical SIM and can use the iPhone with an inbuilt eSIM.

Gone are the days of physical cards and SIM swapping when upgrading phones. Apple has pioneered this trend and it may become a norm for Android too.

What is a SIM card?

Most of you know what is a SIM card and it is used in mobile phones, however, lets tell you in detail what exactly it is and all devices where it is used.

SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module and is an integrated circuit running a card operating system to store data like phone numbers and authentication keys required by network providers to identify the users.

The idea was put forward in the 1960s, but the SIM card was developed originally in 1991 by Giesecke & Devrient, a Munich smart-card maker. They sold 300 SIM cards to a Finnish wireless operator named Radiolinja. Apart from smartphones and tablets, SIM cards are used in security cameras, computers, smartwatches, mobile-chip-powered notebooks, and other devices for connecting and storing data.

What is an eSIM?

Just like a physical SIM, eSIM serves the same purpose. The only difference is it is embedded in a mobile device. Same as a regular SIM card, it connects the device to a network provider, manages calls & text communications and helps you access the virtual world (internet).

The difference lies in the fact that it is a software solution. To enable eSIM functionality on a compatible device, simply install your eSIM profile, which will automatically configure the device to connect to the network and facilitate data transmission.

The iPhone 14 and eSIM

With the launch of the iPhone 14 series in the fall 2022, Apple has abandoned the typical SIM card tray. Now, SIMs are built-in and cannot be removed or swapped like earlier. We aren’t seeing this technology for the first time, it’s just that Apple has introduced eSIMs for the first time, and the world is taking a note of it.

Apple watches have been using the same technology since the release of the Apple Watch Series in 2017. Apple also included the eSIM feature in its XS and XR models back in 2018. However, these phones also had a physical SIM card slot. The eSIM functionality lets people enjoy another phone line without caring about a second SIM card.

The road to the eSIM trend was paved in 2021 when Apple introduced two eSIMs and one physical SIM slot in iPhone 13. Although users weren’t allowed three phone lines in a phone, many people used the two eSIM slots without inserting the physical card.

However, in their latest series, they’ve completely removed the physical slot and kept two eSIMs. So, iPhone 14 is an eSIM-only phone.

Do all iPhones have the same SIM card?

The answer to it is NO. All iPhones don’t have the same SIM card. Want to know which SIM card goes with which model? We’ve compiled the SIM card information of various iPhone models for easy knowledge. The iPhone 1 or original iPhone till the iPhone 3GS had standard slots for full-size SIM cards.

Apple incorporated Micro-SIM card slot in iPhone 4 and 4s. The tech giant moved to Nano SIM cards from iPhone 5 and used them till iPhone 8. From iPhone X to iPhone 13, they paired the Nano SIM slot with eSIM and by the launch of iPhone 14, they’ve entirely turned to eSIMs.

iPhone model SIM Card Size
iPhone 1 Full-size SIM
iPhone 3 Full-size SIM
iPhone 4 Micro SIM
iPhone 5 Nano SIM
iPhone 6 Nano SIM
iPhone 7 Nano SIM
iPhone 8 Nano SIM
iPhone X Nano& eSIM
iPhone 11 Nano& eSIM
iPhone 12 Nano& eSIM
iPhone 13 Nano& eSIM
iPhone 14 eSIM only

A full-size SIM is the biggest, and anyone who’s used button phones from Nokia or Sony Ericsson must be acquainted with it. It measures 25mm x 15mm. While the Micro SIM measures 15mm x 12 mm. The Nano is the smallest and comes in a size of 12.3mm x 8.8mm. Lastly, eSIMs are virtual SIM cards and hence cannot be measured.

Will the eSIM affect common iPhone users?

Yes, eSIM technology will affect users in a positive way. You won’t have to worry about inserting or switching your physical SIM card. Moreover, there’s no need to worry about SIM card memory capacity when saving contacts like in older models.

Advantages of eSIM technology

eSIM technology comes with many benefits, like ease of use and integration. Let’s discuss some of these advantages in detail.

eSIMs create less trash.

Besides being the latest trend, many things make eSIMs a better alternative to old-school physical SIM cards. The latter results in more trash. These plastic SIM with metallic chip needs to be replaced whenever you switch your provider or when the network upgrades to newer technology like 5G. This is where eSIMs win as they are environment-friendly.

eSIMs are convenient.

eSIMs are convenient as they fulfill today’s users’ needs. To activate an eSIM, you only need an internet connection like Wi-Fi. No need to visit the market, have a SIM card delivered to your doorstep, or talk to the customer care of your network provider to have it activated.

You can switch carriers easily.

eSIMs are ideal for those who don’t want any hassle when switching carriers. Unlike physical SIM cards, there’s no need to wait with an eSIM. You can turn to another carrier with ease and activate an account online.

The best thing is that you can test one network without leaving the one you already use. It allows you to determine whether you want to change the network or not. Suppose different carriers competing in your area start offering trials. In this situation, you can easily find out about the quality of a certain service provider and whether they offer good coverage and service.


eSIMs also fulfil the security factor. Their modules are more secure than physical sim cards. The inability to remove or replace the eSIM in case of a stolen or lost phone makes it much more secure than an ordinary SIM. The unauthorised individual may not activate it on another line.

How to remove a SIM card from an iPhone?

Depending on the iPhone model, if ever the need to remove a SIM card arises, like when switching network providers, here’s how you can do it. Removing a SIM depends on your model, as all iPhones don’t have Sim card slots like iPhone 14 series.

  • Start your SIM removal process by looking for the SIM try on the phone. iPhone 13 and 12 lineups have SIM trays on the left side. However, iPhone 11 series, X models and all older models till the iPhone 4 (GSM model) have their sim trays on the right side. Older models like the original iPhone or iPhone 3G and 3GS have their trays located on the top.
  • Once you’ve found the SIM tray, pop open using a paper clip or a SIM Ejector. Just push the tool into the small hole located on the tray. Don’t force it.
  • Do it gently, and it will come out. Now, you can remove the SIM card from the tray.
  • Insert the new SIM card of another service provider or an upgraded SIM card like 5G supported. Place the new one as directed by noticing the notch in one corner. It will fit the tray in only one way.
  • Now push back the tray onto the phone completely. Do it in the same orientation as you removed it. The tray, just like the SIM, only fits one way.
  • Don’t throw away your old Sim card. Instead, have it recycled by contacting your wireless provider or any recycling provider in your area.

Is your iPhone eSIM compatible?

The later generations of iPhone are eSIM compatible as Apple turned to this technology in 2019 with the launch of the iPhone 11 series. However, they didn’t adopt this technology completely as iPhone handsets till the 13 series followed the hybrid model; physical SIM slot and eSIMs.

The trend swayed ultimately towards eSIMs with the launch of the iPhone 14 series. The latest model iPhones with eSIMs are available in the US and many other countries. However, in China, there’s no such thing as eSIM in the newest phone models, even those where Apple came with a hybrid model.

Chinese authorities don’t seem to be a fan of eSIMs, and all handset models included in the 14, 13, and 12 series come with two nana-SIM card slots.

The best thing about eSIM is that they can be activated instantly. They come with in-built security features and cannot be stolen or cloned. They are environmentally friendly too as there’s no plastic involved and don’t require shipping.

SIM support on iPhone 14 series in different regions

iPhone 14 iPhone 14 Plus iPhone 14 Pro iPhone 14 Pro Max
USA Dual eSIM Dual eSIM Dual eSIM Dual eSIM
China Dual Physical SIM Dual Physical SIM Dual Physical SIM Dual Physical SIM
Rest of the world Single Physical SIM, Dual eSIM Single Physical SIM, Dual eSIM Single Physical SIM, Dual eSIM Single Physical SIM, Dual eSIM

Do all iPhones have dual SIM card functionality?

The first Apple device that introduced the concept of eSIM was iPhone 11. It came with Dual Sim support, where you could insert one physical SIM and another was eSIM. iPhone 12 also copied the same model.

iPhone 13 took the game up a notch. It came with dual-Sim compatibility, offering two eSIMs or a physical SIM card and an eSIM. Then came the iPhone 14, the eSIM-only phone with no support for physical SIM cards. As with iPhone 13, the latest model, iPhone 14, supports dual SIM with two eSIMs.

How to activate eSIM on iPhone?

Want to know how to activate an eSIM on your iPhone? Here it is! The process is easy, quick and hassle-free. No need to pop out your tray; insert the SIM and push it back. All it requires is a few taps. You require a QR code from your mobile network provider to install an eSIM on your iPhone.

It’s as easy as opening a food delivery app and ordering snacks.

What data is stored on an iPhone SIM card?

The data stored on an iPhone SIM card differs from other SIM cards. Unlike conventional SIM cards, iPhone SIM cards never store data like contacts and user-related info. The reason is that the user data or contacts are stored in the iPhone’s storage or iCloud.

Switching SIMs on different Apple devices is convenient as no data is stored in the SIM, and it is present on your phone.

Can you buy a new SIM card for the iPhone?

Absolutely yes! If you want to switch to a better network offering great PAYG and Monthly plans, all you have to do is to order your free SIM card or activate your eSIM.

The option to purchase a new SIM card allows you to use your phone when switching to a different phone service provider. This can save you money in the process. Just keep in mind that in order to switch SIM cards, your phone needs to be unlocked.

If you prefer to get a brand-new phone along with your new SIM card, such as an iPhone 14, which lets you enjoy the benefits of an eSIM, we recommend checking out our amazing pay-as-you-go (PAYG) phone deals.

Should you worry about a physical SIM and switch to an eSIM?

There’s no need to worry about physical SIMs and switching to eSIMs. Although eSIM technology is making leaps and quickly becoming standard, smartphone manufacturers would take many years to remove physical SIMs from their phones.

Like the switch from a 3.5mm headphone jack, industry experts believe that the transition from plastic SIMs to eSIMs will probably take up to 5 years. It is not going to happen anytime soon. Also, budget phones will persist with nano-SIM card slots for years to come, and it will take some time to shift to eSIMs, completely.

Moreover, mobile network providers will continue to support SIM card slots for many years to support the millions of existing phones in the market. Removing the SIM card slot from satellite devices will also take considerable time as it is still considered a handy solution for engineers and researchers.

You may also like

Post A Comment

Your email address will not be published.