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. Current SIM technology means that 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.
Older phones use the full sized SIM card -- technically it's 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 -- while newer phones will either use a Micro or smaller Nano SIM.
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 market you’ll need to match your SIM card size to the phone of your choice.
The reality is that most modern flagship phones these days all use the nano SIM card standard, which is good news for when you need to swap phones.
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 it’s not advisable in any case.
SIM sizes for popular phone models
|Apple iPhone 7||Nano|
|Apple iPhone 7 Plus||Nano|
|Apple iPhone SE||Nano|
|Apple iPhone 6s||Nano|
|Apple iPhone 6s Plus||Nano|
|Apple iPhone 6||Nano|
|Apple iPhone 6 Plus||Nano|
|Samsung Galaxy S7||Nano|
|Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge||Nano|
|Samsung Galaxy S6||Nano|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge||Nano|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+||Nano|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 7||Nano|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 5||Nano|
|Sony Xperia X||Nano|
|Sony Xperia X Performance||Nano|
|Sony Xperia XA||Nano|
|Sony Xperia Z5||Nano|
|HTC One M9||Nano|
|HTC One M8||Nano|
|Google Nexus 5X||Nano|
|Google Nexus 6P||Nano|
|Google Nexus 5||Micro|
Can’t find your phone in the list above? Your phone manual (or the website for your phone from your manufacturer) should be able to tell you what size SIM you need.
Should I use a SIM card adaptor?
One way to use a smaller sized SIM in a phone that requires a larger 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 markedly 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)