Never used an iPhone before? You might be wondering about whether or not iPhones have SIM cards. Here’s everything you need to know before you pull the trigger on a new iPhone…
The short answer to this question is, yes, all iPhones – new and old – have SIM cards.
A SIM card is required to connect to mobile services, things like data and the radio bands that make phone calls and texts possible.
And this is all made possible by the SIM card’s ICCID and IMSI number.
Apple’s choice of SIM cards for its iPhones has changed quite a bit of the years, as you can see below.
The original iPhone right up to the iPhone 3GS used a Mini SIM card. After the iPhone 3GS, Apple switched to Nano SIM cards, starting with the iPhone 4, and it still uses Nano SIM cards today inside its iPhone 12 range.
Different Types of SIM Cards Used In iPhones
|iPhone Model||SIM Card Type|
|Original iPhone||Mini SIM|
|iPhone 3G||Mini SIM|
|iPhone 3GS||Mini SIM|
|iPhone 4 (GSM)||Micro SIM|
|iPhone 4S||Micro SIM|
|iPhone 5||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 5c||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 5s||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 6||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 6 Plus||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 6s||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 6s Plus||Nano SIM|
|iPhone SE||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 7||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 7 Plus||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 8||Nano SIM|
|iPhone 8 Plus||Nano SIM|
|iPhone X||Nano SIM|
|iPhone XS||Nano SIM & eSIM|
|iPhone XS Max||Nano SIM & eSIM|
|iPhone XR||Nano SIM & eSIM|
|iPhone 11||Nano SIM & eSIM|
|iPhone 11 Pro||Nano SIM & eSIM|
|iPhone 11 Pro Max||Nano SIM & eSIM|
|iPhone SE (2nd Gen)||Nano SIM & eSIM|
|iPhone 12 mini||Nano SIM & eSIM|
|iPhone 12||Nano SIM & eSIM|
|iPhone 12 Pro||Nano SIM & eSIM*|
|iPhone 12 Pro Max||Nano SIM & eSIM*|
The only slight difference to how Apple uses SIM cards in its iPhones began with the release of the iPhone XS. Since the launch of the iPhone XS, Apple has supported e-SIM cards on its iPhones, so if you buy an iPhone that is the iPhone XS or newer, you will have support for e-SIM.
LEARN MORE: What is eSIM? A Complete Guide
Dual SIM & eSIM iPhones
In addition to this, from the iPhone XS onwards, Apple also made the majority of its iPhones dual-SIM compatible which means you can run more than one SIM profile in the phone.
However, outside of China the secondary SIM card is handled exclusively via an eSIM. In China and Hong Kong, Apple ships iPhones with actual dual SIM slots, so two Nano SIM slots for two separate SIM cards.
Sadly, Apple does not to the same in the USA, Europe, or the UK. And this is a shame because it is a super-useful feature to have at your disposal.
Dual-SIM phones are great because you can have two numbers and two effectively profiles on the phone; one for work, the other for your private life. All of Apple’s latest iPhones support dual-SIM technology, so if you’re buying an iPhone from the last few years, it will support dual-SIM.
PRO TIP: How To Remove iPhone SIM without SIM Tray Tool
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.