iPhone SIM cards: what sizes do you need and what are the best plans?

iPhone SIM cards
(Image credit: Nerosu)

So you've found the perfect SIM only deals and now want to make sure it is going to work with your iPhone. Well, you've come to the right place to find out. Since not only SIM cards vary in sizes but so too do iPhone SIM styles, you'll need to know which is the pairing for you.

From older iPhones to the latest iPhone 12 Pro, there are lots of SIM options. Here's what you need to know.

What are the iPhone SIM card sizes?

There are three sizes of SIM you need to think about and they're mini, micro and nano. These are the only three SIM sizes that Apple's iPhones have worked with over the years.

For a new iPhone you're going to be looking at a nano SIM. That said, the iPhone 11 is eSIM capable, although networks aren't yet using these at the time of writing – likely why Apple cleverly didn't do away with the SIM tray on these phones just yet. That and the ability to use dual SIM for multiple numbers.

Which iPhone uses a mini SIM?

The oldest of the SIM family which worked with iPhones is the mini SIM. This worked with just three iPhones, the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS.

If you have any of those phones then it's more than likely they'll struggle to work with a modern network but if you want to give it a go for retro's sake then make sure you secure yourself a mini SIM card.

What iPhones take a micro SIM?

The micro SIM followed and was very short lived in the world of Apple. While this was the first SIM to feature in the iPad, as that arrived, it only lasted four generations there.

For iPhone the micro SIM is required in the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. That's it. Anything after that and you're going to need a nano SIM.

Which iPhones use a nano SIM?

The complete list of iPhones that use the latest nano SIM goes like this:

  • iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, Pro Max and iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5

Which iPhones feature dual SIM with eSIM?

Apple has been covering lots of bases with its more recent iPhones, offering both dual SIM functionality with an eSIM. That means you can run more than one number on the same phone, making it ideal if you don't want to carry around two phones for work. Well, it will mean that, once eSIMs get used by more networks.

Models that have dual SIM and an eSIM are the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Apple's latest iPhone 12 series all feature it as well.

Check out this guide on how to change your iPhone SIM then make sure you've got the ultimate price by reading our best SIM-free mobile phones guide. More on that next.

What are the best iPhone deals?

Needless to say, there are lots of iPhone deals to be had. We've covered them all so you don't have to trawl about. Here are a few that will help you find what you need.

First up is the best iPhones deals overall. Know that you want an iPhone 12? Then check out the best iPhone 12 deals. Or for something cheaper, consider iPhone 11 deals or iPhone SE deals

Perhaps you don't want a contract? Then it's the best SIM only deals you'll need.

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Luke Edwards

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.