How to cut down your SIM card to Nano SIM size for the iPhone 5

So you lined up for an iPhone 5, but you can’t get it working because it needs a new smaller SIM card. The best thing to do is go...
Cutting your MicroSIM into a NanoSIM - Possible - Yes!

Cutting your MicroSIM into a NanoSIM – Possible – Yes!

So you lined up for an iPhone 5, but you can’t get it working because it needs a new smaller SIM card. The best thing to do is go to your local Telco store and get a new one, although it’s possible to just cut back the one you have.

Back when phones went digital, a card was required to be inserted to identify that phone on the network and assign a phone number to it. These were SIM cards, and they were the size of a credit card (1FF size SIM).

Mini SIM, Micro SIM and Nano SIM

Then phones got smaller, and the engineers realised the actual SIM part of the card was small, so the part inserted into the phone could be smaller. This became the Mini SIM – the one we knew only too well up until about two years ago (2FF size SIM).

Then came the iPhone 4, and others after it, that wanted to further limit the space needed, so the Micro SIM (3FF size SIM) was introduced.

Today, as millions get their iPhone 5’s delivered or picked up, they are discovering something even smaller – the Nano SIM (4FF size SIM).

When the iPhone 4 came out, I successfully cut my 2FF size SIM down to Micro SIM size, and it worked a treat. It’s a big risk of course, because if you cut too much, a trip to the telco is required to get a replacement, so proceed with caution.

This afternoon I tried to cut my SIM down to Nano size. And Failed. The reason? It was originally a Mini SIM – so the circuit board on it is actually larger than the entire Nano SIM.

So I popped into the offices of Red Bull Mobile to get a Micro SIM (Nano SIM’s are not yet available direct from Red Bull Mobile or Amaysim, however Amaysim are offering to cut SIMs for you!) and try my luck at cutting it down to size.

Micro SIM, a Nano SIM cut out from an identical Micro SIM and a Genuine Telstra Nano SIM

The Micro SIM and Nano SIM share the exact same size circuitry, so there shouldn’t be an issue. The Nano version is “slightly” thinner though.

I was fortunate enough to have a working NanoSIM from Telstra to use as a guide. I simply lined it up, cut it with scissors and inserted it into the phone.

Presto! The iPhone 5 is working.

The things to note: The Nano SIM only requires around 0.5mm around the bottom and size edges. The Top edge (the one with the corner cut off) should have a 1mm card space above the circuit board with the top right corner edge removed.

Of course, best to cut less first and trim more as you got to fit it into your iPhone 5 SIM tray.

It does require the original to be a Micro SIM, but if you’re middle name is “danger”, it could be worth it.

Always be ready for the disappointment of failure though, and proceed at your own risk!

 

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Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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