How to Insert an Unlocked & Valid SIM Card to Activate an iPhone

By Dawn Gibbs

Unlocking a SIM card allows you to insert it into any compatible phone, thereby activating the phone to your account. The iPhone is less user-friendly than many other cellphone models, most of which require you to simply press a release mechanism to change a SIM card. Inserting a new SIM card into the iPhone to activate it requires a thumbtack or paperclip.

Things You'll Need

  • Thumbtack or paperclip

Original iPhone or iPhone 3G

Step 1

Hold the iPhone so you are looking down at the top of the casing. You should see the headset jack and a small hole next to the jack.

Step 2

Insert the thumbtack or end of a paperclip into the smaller hole just until you feel it fit snugly. Pull the thumbtack up and the SIM card holder will come out of the phone.

Step 3

Pop the SIM card out of the holder, if there is already a card there. Slide your unlocked SIM card into the holder.

Step 4

Insert the holder back into the slot on the top of the iPhone, so the hole in the holder lines up with the hole next to the headset jack. Press it down until the holder is flush with the rest of the casing. You can now turn the phone on without getting an error message.

iPhone 4

Step 1

Hold the iPhone 4 so the screen faces you. Locate the SIM card holder on the right side of the phone.

Step 2

Insert the pointed end of a paper clip into the small hole in the same manner you do with the other iPhone versions. Pull the paper clip so the SIM holder comes out.

Step 3

Insert the unlocked SIM into the top of the tray and push the holder back into the side of the phone until the top of the holder is level with the casing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Apple periodically releases updates to the iPhone that automatically download. If you have changed the SIM card, the updates may not function properly on your phone. Changing your SIM card may also void your warranty, so read your manual before doing so.