SIM card sizes

SIM Card Sizes: From Standard to Nano, Which One Fits You


We all have mobile phones, which need SIM cards for cellular connectivity. This connectivity allows us to make calls, send text messages, and connect to mobile internet.

The functionality of SIM cards is the same; however, their physical sizes may vary depending on which device you insert them into. There are three different SIM card sizes, standard SIM card, Micro-SIM card, and Nano-SIM card. On top of that, there are eSIMs, which is a new and different technology compared to traditional SIM cards.

This blog covers important information regarding different SIM card sizes so you can decide on which one you’ll need in the future. You’ll also find useful information on what to do if you buy a SIM card that’s the wrong size for your phone.

SIM Card Size Chart

SIM card

The Different SIM Card Types

There are three different SIM Card types, Standard SIM, micro-SIM, and Nano-SIM. The primary difference between these cards is their size, with Standard SIM cards being the largest and Nano SIM cards being the smallest.

The latest technology, called eSIMs, has also been launched in which the SIM card is embedded in mobile phones. You just have to activate your SIM and start using it on your device without carrying a physical SIM.

If you have a phone, you will need one of these SIM card sizes depending on the model of your phone and its SIM jacket.

What is a Standard SIM Card?

The standard SIM card is the oldest of all three SIM cards, launched in 1996. This card is 15 x 25 mm, a full-size Sim card used in the early days of telecommunication.  You can think of this card as the giant Sim card while the other two sizes are cut down.

A SIM card has a chip that contains all your data information. This chip size remains the same in all three SIM cards, so with a standard Sim card, you just have a lot of plastic around the chip. The standard SIM card was designed to meet the Sim size of traditional handsets such as iPhone 3G, Galaxy S4, Google Nexus 4, and many others.

However, standard SIM cards aren’t used in any phones now, and most modern phones come with a Nano SIM card Jacket.

What is a Micro-SIM card?

A Micro-SIM Card has 12 x 15 mm dimensions, one size down from the standard card. You can expect a Micro-SIM card to be smaller than the standard SIM card, with the same chip size as in a standard SIM.

Micro SIM cards were introduced in 2003; however, the use of these cards has also decreased, with most handsets moving to nano SIM cards.

One of the possible reasons for this constant decrease in SIM card Sizes is to reduce plastic usage, which doesn’t have functionality. Since the world is moving towards more practical decisions, this could be the reason for Sim card sizes continuously decreasing.

If your phone is old, it might use a Micro-size card. You must take out the SIM jacket and look at it to determine this. A visual sight of the jacket will give you more understanding if your phone uses a Micro sim card.

Roughly, handsets made within the last seven years do not generally use a micro sim card. For example, the Galaxy S5, launched in 2014, uses a micro-size SIM card, S6 has a Nano SIM jacket.

What is a Nano-Sim Card?

Nano SIM cards are the smallest of all sim cards, with a 12.3 x 8.8 mm size. This Sim card size is the newest to be introduced in 2012.

The cards have unique designs with almost no plastic borders around the chip. After this design, it is hard to imagine SIM card sizes getting smaller unless the chip shrinks.

These cards are by far the most widely used, so if you’re buying a new phone, this card is one of the things you’ll need for seamless communication.

Interesting read: Is Your SIM Card Not Working? Here’s What You Can Do

How Do I Know What Size SIM Card I Have?

Most phones after 2010 have used a nano SIM card. If you want to know your SIM card size, you can search for your phone model online. Another option is to look for the manual that came when you bought your device.

You can also remove the card to compare it with different sim card sizes. Here’s what you can do to remove your SIM card:

If you are an iPhone User

First, look for your SIM try. For most iPhones, this will be on the right side. For the older models, the try is located on the top. Once found, use paper clipping or a SIM ejector tool to remove the SIM gently.

This will release the SIM, and you can remove the sim card to check its size. iPhone 5 and newer models have a nano SIM card.

If you’re a Samsung User

For Samsung users, the process can be a bit complicated. First, check if you have a removable back, which was the case with most older Samsung models.

If there is a removable back, remove the cover and battery. After this, slide out the SIM card to remove it.

If the back is sealed, look into the product manual to find where your SIM card is located. Once found, use a pin or paperclip to eject the SIM and try and pull it to open. Once it opens, you can remove the SIM to check the Sim card sizes.

Nano-SIM vs Micro-SIM

Micro SIM is a standard card size used by most high-end smartphones. This card contained some extra plastic around the chip and was used in smartphones manufactured around 2010. Micro SIM cards are third form factor (3FF), measuring about 12x 15 mm.

On the other hand, nano SIM cards are the smallest of all SIM cards used in the latest and high-end smartphones. Nano SIM is the cut version of a micro-SIM card and doesn’t contain extra plastic around the chip. Nano SIM card is a fourth form factor (4FF), measuring around 8.8 x 12.3.

eSIM vs Nano SIM

To begin with, eSIMs are embedded SIM cards in phones and are small microchips inside your smartphone or tablet that work as eSIMs rather than having physical SIM cards in the tray. eSIMs are direct replacements for physical SIM cards, meaning you do not need a physical SIM Card.

The key factors distinguishing between a non-SIM and an eSIMs are their sizes, costs, longevity, and safety.

Let’s discuss each of these sections in detail:

eSIMs are smaller than Nano SIMs

eSIMs are embedded MFF2 in the phones and are half the size of a nano SIM. With this small size, eSIMs have the least impact on the device design, making it completely practical.

eSIMs (MFF2) measure 6 x 5 x 0.9, much smaller than nano SIM, which measures 12.3 x 8.8 mm.

eSIMs cost more.

Nano SIMs are simply inserted into the device rather than embedded into the phone circuit; therefore, they cost less than eSIMs.

eSIMs are ideal for small and compact phones since they don’t need large SIM trays and a place for nano SIM cards.

It could be a more cost-effective choice if the device is physically large enough to support a Nano-SIM.

eSIMs Last Longer than Nano SIMs

If you’ve got a device that is expected to last longer than eight years, you’ll probably need two nano SIM cards. This is true for all other physical SIM card sizes as well.

A physical SIM card has a given life span, whereas an eSIM can last for the entire life.

 eSIMs Are Easier to Protect.

eSIMs are embedded in smartphone circuit boards; therefore, keeping them protected from external elements is easier. A nano SIM is durable for most applications. However, the SIM port makes it vulnerable to shocks, vibrations, and other conditions.

eSIMs are Less Vulnerable to Theft

Nono SIMs are removable, making them vulnerable to threats against someone looking to commit identity theft. Secondly, you’ll lose your SIM card if your device gets stolen.

On the contrary, eSIMs are embedded into the circuit board, making them less vulnerable even if a person has physical access to your device. The SIM card you’ve registered cannot be removed or stolen, and you can get it blocked if you’ve lost your device.

Also read: User Guide: What is Stored on a SIM Card

What Do I Do If I Have the Wrong SIM Card?

Your SIM card isn’t working on your phone, there could be various reasons for this.

Perhaps you’ve got the wrong card size, or your phone settings are problematic. Here are your options on what you can do to overcome the problem.

First, check which SIM card size suits your phone. If you’ve got an iPhone, the 4s Sim card size is micro, whereas iPhone 7 sim card size is nano SIM card. The iPhone 8 sim card size is also a nano SIM. The latest models of iPhone also come with eSIMs.

For example, the iPhone 13 SIM card size is a nano-SIM, but this model also has eSIM, so you either use two SIMs or enable one of the two options depending on your requirements.

If you’ve checked the SIM card and it is suitable for your mobile, your other options include:

  • Make sure you have an active plan from your service provider.
  • Try restarting your device.
  • Check the cellular settings of your device.
  • If your phone has a SIM tray, ensure it functions well and is properly inserted.
  • Try replacing the SIM if it is faulty.
  • If the problem persists, contact your service provider for assistance and support.

What Size SIM Cards Do Most Mobile Providers Send?

Most service providers in the United Kingdom, including EE, Vodafone, and Talk Home Mobile, send a standard-size SIM card on your order. However, this standard-Size Sim card already has micro and nano-size cuts.

This means the standard Size SIM card can be split into a micro-size SIM card or a Nano Size SIM card, depending on the requirements of your mobile.

With technological advancement, mobile phones have become compact and sleek. With this change, the hardware in the device must adapt as well. This has led to smaller cards being created to fit inside the device.

So, if you buy a phone today, you can expect a Nano SIM to be used, and if you order a free SIM, you will get a standard SIM card, which can be split into the other two sizes.

Do Different SIM Card Sizes Have Different Data Capacities?

No, all three types of SIM cards have the same data capacities. This is because the chip size remains the same in all three types. You can store approximately 250 contacts, some messages, and critical identifying data.

The SIM cards also contain user identity, location, phone numbers, network authorizations, and personal security keys.

Bottom Line

Understanding SIM card sizes is essential to ensure mobile devices and network compatibility. From the standard SIM to the micro, and nano variants, understanding the differences and knowing which size your device supports helps you decide which one you need.

Additionally, the rise of eSIMs has added a new dimension to SIM cards. With the growing popularity of eSIMs, which eliminate the physical SIM card, the landscape of SIM cards is constantly changing.

When facing an issue with a SIM card, you may contact your service provider for better assistance.

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