How to Convert Your Mini SIM Card to Micro or Nano

SIM CardSIM cards are incredibly important if you want to take advantage of cellular wireless service on your smartphone, tablet, or notebook. These little cards slip in and contain all the information your carrier needs to connect with and grant access from its service to your mobile device.

Unfortunately, not every SIM card fits in every device. I learned this lesson recently when I attempted to move my existing mini SIM card from one phone to another. The new phone uses micro SIM which makes mini SIM (How many levels of little can they come up with?) look pretty giant. Let’s not even go into the original SIM cards and just how gigantic those things were.

At this point, you have two options. You can cut your existing SIM card down to size so it fits in the smaller slot, or you can go to your carrier and pick up a replacement which might cost you anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on its policies and/or local laws. If you’re like me, then you will do just about anything to avoid option B. Going to a carrier’s store is a pain in the neck and I want to avoid waiting for an hour while someone asks a thousand questions about their texting plan.

Cutting a SIM card down isn’t as hard as it looks, and it actually doesn’t do anything to disturb the functionality of the card. The only difference between a mini SIM card and a nano SIM card is the size of the packaging. The actual functional hardware remains pretty much the same. As long as you don’t get overeager in your cutting, the process is fairly safe.

Note: Cutting or otherwise modifying your SIM card should be done at your own risk. A single bad cut can result in the SIM card becoming inaccessible. All data stored on the card should be backed up prior to modification.

Here are a few methods that can help in this process.

SIM Cutters and Adapters

SIM Cutters are a lot like hole punchers in that you insert your standard or micro SIM cards into them and press down. What comes out is typically a nano SIM card cut perfectly to size which you can insert into one of any number of adapters in order to use it in a device with a micro or mini form.

These cutters can cost as little as a few bucks, and do the job both reliably and quickly. You don’t have to worry about scissor slips or lining things up perfectly. They work very well, but you have to wait for them to arrive in the mail and/or go to a store to pick one up.

Adapters work fairly well in most devices, but not always. Check reviews for a specific brand and/or build to make sure they work before diving in and depending on them.

Using a Template

My preferred method for trimming down a large SIM card involves printing a PDF template out (at 100%) and using it to draw out cut lines. This method allows you to avoid the adapter nonsense when you just want to trim a SIM card down to mini instead of nano.

This method involves using scissors, and I’d recommend using the sharpest crafting scissors you can find. Dull scissors used at elementary schools are not a good choice here as they tend to leave jagged edges and cut slightly off the line.

Using a pencil and a ruler, draw lines as they appear in the template on the card prior to cutting. Eyeballing it is not recommended.

This link goes to my favorite PDF template. It worked perfectly for me. It also gives you the information you need to cut a SIM card down to nano, if that’s what you prefer.

Go to the Carrier and Pick One Up

If all else fails, you can always stop by the carrier’s office and pick a new SIM card up to fit your new phone. Chances are, you might need to call them anyway to give them the new device’s IMEI number (especially for GSM customers) so you’re probably just as well off stopping by.

If you’re really nice to the person helping you, there’s a good chance you’ll walk away with a new SIM card at no charge. AT&T and T-Mobile are especially good about this, and I have yet to pay for a SIM card even though they charge $5 by policy. Don’t assume they’ll do this for you, though.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.