Sim card

What size SIM do I need for my phone?

Full size, Micro or Nano SIM? It can be confusing working out which SIM your phone needs. Here is what you need to know.

Phone SIMs currently come in one of three sizes, but the reality is that all of these SIM sizes work off the same electrical circuitry. The larger sizes simply have more plastic around the main SIM circuit for ease of handling and durability.

With current SIM technology that means we won’t see a smaller SIM than the Nano as its surface area is quite literally the entire electrical interface with all extraneous plastic cut away, although some manufacturers have experimented with phones that eschew the SIM altogether. There are none of those phones in the Australian market right now, however.

Older phones use the full sized SIM card. Technically it should be called the Mini SIM, because the very first SIM card format was even larger, but it's informally called the Full Sized SIM by most providers. Newer phones will either use a Micro or increasingly, the smaller Nano SIM format. The vast majority of mid-range and premium phones now utilise Nano SIMs, but it’s not uncommon to find Micro SIMs still in use on budget handsets, or if you purchase a model that’s more than a couple of years old.

If you’re buying a phone on contract your provider will provide a suitable sized SIM card for you to use, but if you’re in the prepaid or month to month SIM-only market you’ll need to match your SIM card size to the phone of your choice.

SimCards

Most providers will offer a multi-sized SIM package that starts out as a full-sized SIM with the ability to pop the Micro- or Nano- sized SIM from the larger SIM. It’s wise to know the size you need to pop out, however, as if you go too small it can be difficult to reinsert it into the plastic of the larger card, and that's likely to cause problems in any case.

Which SIM size do I need?

When in doubt, consult your phone’s manual, or its freely available online specifications. Nano SIMs are fast becoming the norm for premium handsets such as the iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S7, and in some cases the size required may be printed on the SIM tray or area where you insert the SIM card into your phone. You can always check with the merchant you’re buying the phone from, as they should know.

Should I use a SIM card adaptor?

If you’re swapping between phones that use only Nano or Micro SIMs it’s no fuss at all, but you may find yourself having to switch back to a Micro SIM if your existing premium phone is lost, stolen or broken.

One approach often used to handle the size difference between a Nano and Micro SIM is to use a SIM card adaptor. These aren’t much more than the replacement plastic (or sometimes metal) that makes up the "missing" space on a Nano or Micro SIM so that you can use them in a phone that takes a larger sized SIM.

Most manufacturers don’t recommend the use of SIM card adaptors, however, and for good reason. Because the SIM sits in the adaptor, there’s a high probability of it moving when you insert or remove the sim, scraping plastic or metal across the delicate internal pins that connect to the SIM card itself for proper operation. These can very easily snap, at which point you’re looking at an expensive phone repair. Comparatively, picking up a new SIM card is a much cheaper prospect. You can check out our guide to porting your existing mobile number to a new SIM here.

Lead Image: Shutterstock

Picture: Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (image cropped)

Alex Kidman

Alex is the Telco Editor at finder.com.au. He's been writing about consumer technology topics for the best part of two decades, and enjoys breaking down complex topics into their component parts.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Get the best deal on your mobile phone

Compare iPhone 7 plans
Compare iPhone 7 plans

Compare iPhone 7 plans from Telstra, Optus, Virgin and Vodafone.

More info...
Need more data?
Need more data?

Find plans with more than 10GB from Telstra, Optus, Virgin and more.

More info...
The best price on your next phone
The best price on your next phone

Don't pay full price on your next phone purchase.

More info...
Kogan Mobile: 30% off 365 day plans
Kogan Mobile: 30% off 365 day plans

Kogan Mobile's latest price blitz offers huge savings if you buy big.

More info...

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At finder.com.au we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to finder.com.au and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question
feedback