How to cut your own micro SIM card for free, in time for iPhone 4 launch day

I braved the queues (actually, the barrage of error messages) on Tuesday, 15 July, to pre-order my iPhone 4 direct from Apple. Hopefully I’ll save in the long run as I’m planning to go for a £10-15 pay-as-you-go or SIM-only contract deal rather than being tied in to a £30+ contract for 18 to 24 months.

Until I’ve figured out which operator to go with, I plan to stick with my current O2 contract. I’ve crossed my fingers that O2 will ship me a microSIM before I get the phone, otherwise I will be going down the DIY route, trimming my existing SIM down using this PDF template. In case you don’t read German, here’s a quick translation of the instructions:

Micro-SIM template for iPad/iPhone 4 SIM cards

The Apple iPad (and upcoming iPhone 4) uses not a standard 25x15mm SIM card, but a micro-SIM. The micro-SIM format is 15x12mm, but the contact layout is identical to a standard SIM.

Therefore, it is possible to convert a standard SIM into a micro-SIM which can be installed in the iPad or fourth-generation iPhone.

How does it work?

  1. Print the stencil at 100% – don’t shrink to fit the page. The outer black portion should match the size of your existing SIM.
  2. Cut and paste the stencil on the back of the SIM (not on the contacts!). The white area must be exactly on the reverse side of the chip.
  3. With sharp scissors, cut cleanly along the outline of the inner white area.
  4. Remove the stencil. If necessary,  diagonally trim the corners and/or grind down the edges with a nail file.

I accept no responsibility if you damage your SIM by following these instructions… in fact I’m too busy worrying about whether I’ll break mine!

There are commercial card cutters that can do the job, but I can’t justify spending upwards of £20 for something I’ll only use once or twice at most, and again there’s no guarantee that the item would be delivered by launch day.

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    6 comments on “How to cut your own micro SIM card for free, in time for iPhone 4 launch day

    1. Chris Barnes says:

      In order to test this method, I’ve just purchased a pay-as-you-go SIM from my local 99p store and trimmed it, which only took a minute. I won’t know whether it has worked until I get my iPhone, but I don’t anticipate any problems. I’m now a bit less nervous about cutting down my contract SIM, if necessary!

    2. Geoff says:

      Thanks. Worked for me with a t-mobile sim in an iPhone 4. Ta!

    3. Krzysztof Kietzman says:


      you posted about my Discworld Reading Order Guide 1.5 in 2007 – thanks! Now I’d like to recommend version 2.0 of the Guide, updated for 2010, which can be downloaded from here:

      Chris Kietzman.

    4. Anne Marie says:

      Thank you!!! Worked a treat. Dozy gits at onestopphoneshop sent me the wrong SIM!!

    5. Helen says:

      Thanks, that worked a treat! Annoyed that my phone provider (O2) never even mentioned it though.

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