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Standard SIM vs. Micro SIM vs. Nano SIM – What’s the difference, how to convert

ByinTips & Guides | September 24, 2014

standard SIM vs micro SIM vs nano SIMPretty much everyone knows that in order to perform its most basic functions a GSM cell phone needs a SIM card. The card hooks the phone to a designated network in this way allowing you to make calls, send texts and access data. Not everyone is aware, however, that there are various types of SIM cards. Today the most popular are: Standard SIM, Micro SIM and Nano SIM. The cards differ in size, but even if you happen to pick up a wrong size, it is possible to convert it to fit into your phone.

Standard SIM vs. Micro SIM vs. Nano SIM

Mini Micro Nano SIM cardsThe Standard SIM is also known as 2FF and measures 25 x 15 x 0.76 mm. This type of card is most commonly found in older devices, for example iPhone 3GS, BlackBerry Curve 9320, HTC Desire, LG Optimus L5 or Sony Xperia E.

The dimensions of the Micro SIM cards are 15 x 12 x 0.76 mm and they are also referred to as 3FF. This type of card is found for example in the 4th generation of iPhones, the newest BlackBerry phones (Q10, Z10 Z30), HTC One, LG G3, Moto G, almost all Lumia handsets, Galaxy S5, and Sony Xperia Z2.

Nano Micro SIM AdapterNano SIM is called the “fourth form factor” (4FF) and measures just a 12.3 x 8.8 x 0.67 mm. Nano SIM is the newest type and so far there are not many devices that use this size of card. Nano SIM is the card of choice for the fifth generation of iPhones, the Moto X, Lumia 1520 and 930, HTC One M8 and a few other devices.

As you can see, the factor making difference between the SIM cards is the size. So, what can you do if you accidentally mix up the dimensions? The solution is relatively easy if you happen to buy Micro SIM instead of Standard SIM. All you need to make the card fit into your phone is a special adapter. You place the Micro SIM in the adapter and the adapter goes into SIM tray in your phone and voila.

Things get a little more complicated if you have Standard SIM but need Micro size. Knowing the dimensions if Micro SIM, you can try to cut the card using scissors. It goes without saying that Micro SIM 3FF to Nano SIM 4FFyou should be extremely careful not to cut through the circuitry or you will render the card useless.

Nano SIMs pose more problems, since they are not only smaller but also thinner than Standard and Micro cards. Even if you manage to cut it down to the right height and width, there is always a risk that the card might be too thick to fit into the SIM tray. You can try to use sandpaper to reduce the thickness, but be careful not to rub on the chip.

Other than the size, the Standard SIM, Micro SIM and Nano SIM work in exactly the same way from technical point of view. Even though there are a few techniques to make a wrong SIM card fit into the SIM tray of your phone, it’s much safer to buy the card that will fit without cutting. That’s why you should always double check the size SIM card that the phone is compatible with before buying a new one.

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