What Happens If You Switch SIM Cards in iPhones? How to?

A SIM card allows you to make phone calls, receive and send text messages, and accesses the mobile network.

However, people change SIM cards for better network coverage or use a local SIM card while in other places since it avoids them from being charged with high roaming fees and international charges.

Many people think about if an iPhone can be used with a new SIM card. Before doing so, there are some things that you need to take note of.

What Happens If You Switch SIM Card on iPhones?

Here are the basic information you should know before switching a SIM card.

1. SIM Card

Before you can change your SIM card to a new network provider, your iPhone unit needs to be unlocked. If you are using a new SIM card from the same provider, your iPhone will function the same as before.

If it says “SIM Not Supported” or “SIM Not Valid” after you insert a SIM card from another network provider, then your iPhone is locked.

iphone sim not supported valid

In this case, you will not be able to use the local network services such as calling or sending and receiving text messages.

If you purchase an iPhone directly from an Apple store, most likely these units are available for use on other networks.

2. Data

Removing your old SIM card would not change or delete any information since there is no information stored in it. 

Another great news is that most of the latest models of iPhone (iPhone XS and above) are capable of the eSIM technology which allows you to keep your mobile number while avoiding more expensive data packages while traveling.

3. Phone Number

Does switching a SIM card change the phone number? Yes. This will be the major change if you opt to switch to a new SIM card.

Before doing so, you may have to inform all your contacts of your new contact number. Since a SIM card only holds your number and your carrier’s information, your contacts will still be stored on your iPhone.

4. Media Files

All photos, music, files, and apps stored on your phone will still be retained since SIM cards do not store these kinds of files. You may also opt to back up your files on iCloud or iTunes if this worries you.

5. Accounts

You will still be able to use your WhatsApp account and your Apple ID will not be affected. You can also continue to communicate through FaceTime and iMessage, but it will require your activation.

Should you encounter activation issues, you may turn off iMessage on Messages and FaceTime on settings, restart your iPhone, then turn on iMessage and FaceTime again.

How to Know if Your iPhone is Unlocked?

Here are two simple tips to check if your iPhone is locked:

  1. Purchasing an iPhone from a legitimate vendor such as Apple Center, Mac Stores, and Apple authorized resellers are mostly unlocked.
  2. Buying them from network carriers is usually locked on the specific network and will only be available for unlocking once the contract has ended and the plan is paid in full.

So, when purchasing an iPhone, always check if this is capable of using another SIM card from a different network.

  1. This will save you time and money should you wish to switch SIM cards.
  2. Also, unlocked iPhones are sold at a higher price than the locked units once you decide to sell them.

1. Call Your Carrier

To know if your iPhone has no network restrictions, you may call your carrier to check. However, talking to customer service may take some time.

Below are the other options to know if your iPhone is unlocked:

2. Checking the iPhone Status on Settings

To do this method, you will have to access your iPhone when it is turned on. You may follow the step-by-step guide to check:

ios 14 carrier lock info

  1. Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down then tap General.
  3. Tap About.
  4. Scroll down until you see the Carrier Lock.
  5. If it displayed that your phone has “No SIM restrictions“, then your iPhone is free to use other network providers.

For those who own iPhone and this information did not show up, you may use the other methods to check.

3. Checking With a SIM Card

If the first method did not work for you, you may try another way which is using SIM cards. This will require you to use two SIM cards from different network carriers. To do this, follow the step-by-step guide below:

  1. Turn off your iPhone first.
  2. Use the SIM ejector tool to open the SIM card tray. If this tool is not available, you may use a thin paperclip to insert it on the pinhole.
  3. Remove the SIM card. Be careful not to touch the metal part since it is fragile.
  4. Use a new SIM card from a different network provider from the previous one.
  5. Push back the SIM card tray in the iPhone.
  6. Turn the power on.
  7. Try to make a call or send a text message.
  8. If it works, your iPhone is currently unlocked and has no SIM card restrictions.

Aside from the two methods mentioned above, there is another way of checking if your iPhone is unlocked. However, it needs an internet connection to check if you are still unsure after trying the two methods.

4. Doing the IMEI Lookup Online

There are available tools online if you wish to check if your iPhone is unlocked. You can use a free tool but be cautious of using it since you will be sharing details and information to the web.

So, you’d better to use a paid IMEI checking tool, such as WipeLock IMEI Checker.

iphone 12 pro xfinity imei check

  • Access the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Scroll down then tap General.
  • Tap About.
  • From this, you will find your IMEI number.
  • If you are checking an iPhone X or later, a second IMEI number will be listed which you have to take note of as well.
  • Get your mobile phone’s Serial Number located on the top.
  • The next step is to visit WipeLock IMEI Checker.
  • Enter all the required information then submit.
  • Once done, an information card will be displayed including whether your iPhone is locked or not.

What to Do if Your iPhone is Locked

Getting a locked phone means that this is exclusive for use under a single network carrier. It means that you cannot use another SIM card from a different network provider, and you will need to get it unlocked first if you decide to switch SIM cards.

iPhone models are considered high-end mobile phones. Signing a contract with a carrier can subsidize them the cost of an iPhone up to $300. Also, an iPhone locked to a carrier ties the user to the network provider. For them, it decreases the chance of the user switching to a different carrier.

It is recommended to have your iPhone unit unlocked. It gives you the freedom to choose which carrier provides your needs when it comes to texting and calling. Also, it gives you convenience when you travel to a different country. You will not have to worry about high roaming rates or limited to no data connection.

If you wish to get your phone unlocked, you could:

  • contact your carrier (most carriers can unlock an iPhone for free, but this will take up to 15 working days) 
  • or use third-party services to do the unlocking (not free, but can unlock an iPhone within 24 hours)

Also read: How to Unlock iPhone Carrier for Free without SIM Card?

How to Correctly Switch SIM Card in iPhone?

You need check first if your new SIM card is compatible. iPhone models use a nano-sized SIM card. Make sure your new SIM card is this size, otherwise, you will need a SIM cutter tool to use it in the right size.

To switch to a new SIM card,

  1. insert the SIM-eject tool on the pinhole located on the side of your iPhone.
  2. Open the tray, remove your old SIM card and replace it with a new one.
  3. Insert the SIM card tray as straight as possible back into the phone. It will close with a click and you are all set.

Remember to do this only when your iPhone is turned off.


Switching to a different SIM card can be quite a hassle. It will require you to inform everyone of your new contact number or else they will not be able to reach you via the local network at all. On the lighter side, you will be able to choose a carrier that will provide better network services.

Now that you know whether your iPhone is locked or not, you can decide what to do next.

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About the Author

Darren is an Apple Certified Independent Technician with a passion for researching all aspects of phone locks, including Activation Lock, carrier lock, screen lock, FRP lock, and more. With years of experience in the mobile phone industry, Darren has become a leading authority in his field and has been a sought-after consultant for individuals and businesses seeking to unlock their devices.

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