Standard, Mini or Nano? Here is you’re A-Z SIM card guide

If you have been using one mobile device for a long time you may not know much about SIM card sizes. In fact, you may not know the difference between a Standard SIM, Mini SIM, and Nano SIM. But consider a situation that makes you change your mobile device, maybe you get a new contract or SIM only deal. This may require you needing a new SIM, and you need to ensure you get the right SIM card size for your device. Getting the SIM card sorted as soon as possible reduces the down time of waiting to use your device.

SIM card sizes are usually determined by the brand or age of the device. However an earlier model of a brand may come with a Nano SIM while a more recent one from another brand with same features may support a larger SIM.

This article discusses the three types of SIM cards (Standard, Micro, Nano) that can potentially be used in your phone, and:

  1. The differences between Standard, Micro, and Nano SIM cards
  2. The type of SIM card required for handsets of the most used brands
  3. How to change a Standard SIM to smaller ones (Micro or Nano)

At Half Cooked we review UK mobile networks, if you’re looking for a great SIM deal that doesn’t need a credit check out our no credit check SIM article.

Table of Contents

1. An overview of SIM Card Types

2. What is a SIM?

3. The difference between Standard, Micro & Nano SIM cards

4. The type of SIM card required for handsets of the most used brands

5. How to change a Standard SIM to smaller ones (Micro or Nano)

An overview of SIM Card Types

In recent years many manufacturers have optimised their collection of mobile devices from Standard SIMs to smaller SIMs. If you are buying a mobile phone made in the last 8 years, chances are you’ll require at least a Micro SIM to use it.

However, higher-end phones by big brands like Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Sony, and Blackberry manufactured from c. 2015 use Nano SIMs. If you ever wonder why, it is because phone manufacturers are constantly updating their devices with new features and large batteries. So, they reduce the amount of space SIM cards occupy to create more room for these upgrades.

What is a SIM?

SIM, an abbreviation for Subscriber Identity Module, is a chip-like component that allows your mobile phone to connect to a mobile network that you are subscribed to. Apart from the 3 general types of SIM cards, mobile networks may also offer 2-in1 or 3-in-1 separable SIM cards that incorporate the Micro, or Micro and Nano types.

A SIM card user has the advantage of changing their networks anytime they want without having to change devices. You can also change your device without having to change your network.

The difference between Standard, Micro & Nano SIM cards

  • The Standard SIM card is by far the most popular among the three types of SIMs. It made its appearance in 1991, around the time when cellular technology (GSM) was created by in Finland. It is the biggest of the three SIM types. It is 25 mm long, 15 mm wide and 0.76 mm deep. It goes with the alternative name 2FF.
  • The Micro SIM card is significantly smaller than the first generation SIM card. High end brands like Apple and Samsung are the first to introduce the Micro SIM chip into the market. It is also called 3FF; has a length of 15 mm, width of 12 mm and depth of 0.76 mm.
  • The Nano SIM has a measurement of 12.30 mm x 8.80 mm x 0.67 mm (l x w x d). Smaller than the Micro SIM by almost 50%, it made its first appearance in the Apple iPhone 5. Since its introduction, many phone manufacturers have made numerous devices that are only compatible with the Nano SIM.

Here’s a table below that shows the dimensions of each of the SIM types

SIM Type Length Width Depth
Standard (2FF) 22mm (0.98 in) 15mm (0.04 in) 0.76mm (0.03 in)
Micro (3FF) 15mm (0.04 in) 12mm (0.47 in) 0.76mm (0.03 in)
Nano (4FF) 12.30mm (0.48 in) 8.80mm (0.34 in) 0.67mm (0.02 in)

The type of SIM card required for handsets of the most used brands

 

Apple smartphone models and SIM types

Phone Model SIM type
Apple iPhone 3GS Standard SIM
Apple iPhone 4 Micro SIM
Apple iPhone 4S Micro SIM
Apple iPhone 5 Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 5c Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 5s Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 6 Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 6 Plus Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 6s Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 6s Plus Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 7 Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 7 Plus Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 8 Nano SIM
Apple iPhone 8 Plus Nano SIM
Apple iPhone SE Nano SIM
Apple iPhone X Nano SIM
Apple iPhone XR Nano SIM
Apple iPhone XS Nano SIM
Apple iPhone XS Max Nano SIM

BlackBerry smartphone models and SIM types

Phone Model SIM type
BlackBerry 9720 Standard SIM
BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 Standard SIM
BlackBerry Curve 9320 Standard SIM
BlackBerry Curve 9360 Standard SIM
BlackBerry DTEK50 Nano SIM
BlackBerry DTEK60 Nano SIM
BlackBerry KEY2 Nano SIM
BlackBerry Keyone Nano SIM
BlackBerry Leap Micro SIM
BlackBerry Passport Nano SIM
BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9983 Micro SIM
BlackBerry Priv Nano SIM
BlackBerry Q10 Micro SIM
BlackBerry Q5 Micro SIM
BlackBerry Torch 9800 Standard SIM
BlackBerry Z10 Micro SIM
BlackBerry Z3 Micro SIM
BlackBerry Z30 Micro SIM

Huawei smartphone models and SIM types

Model SIM type
Huawei Ascend G300 Standard SIM
Huawei Ascend G330 Standard SIM
Huawei Ascend G510 Standard SIM
Huawei Ascend G6 Micro SIM
Huawei Ascend G7 Micro SIM
Huawei Ascend Mate Micro SIM
Huawei Ascend Mate7 Micro SIM
Huawei Ascend P1 Standard SIM
Huawei Ascend P6 Micro SIM
Huawei Ascend P7 Micro SIM
Huawei Ascend W1 Micro SIM
Huawei Ascend W2 Micro SIM
Huawei Ascend Y530 Micro SIM
Huawei Ascend Y550 Micro SIM
Huawei G8 Nano SIM
Huawei G9 Plus Nano SIM
Huawei Honor 10 Nano SIM
Huawei Honor 4X Micro SIM
Huawei Honor 5c Nano SIM
Huawei Honor 6 Micro SIM
Huawei Honor 6+ Micro SIM
Huawei Honor 6X Nano SIM
Huawei Honor 7 Nano SIM
Huawei Honor 8, Pro, X Nano SIM
Huawei Honor 9 Nano SIM
Huawei Honor Holly Nano SIM
Huawei Honor V8 Nano SIM
Huawei Honor View 10 Nano SIM
Huawei Mate 8 Nano SIM
Huawei Mate 9, Pro Nano SIM
Huawei Mate S Nano SIM
Huawei Nexus 6P Nano SIM
Huawei Nova, Plus Nano SIM
Huawei P10, Lite, Plus Nano SIM
Huawei P20, lite, Pro Nano SIM
Huawei P8, Lite, Max Nano SIM
Huawei P9, Lite, Plus Nano SIM
Huawei Y3 Standard SIM
Huawei Y3 (2017) Micro SIM
Huawei Y3II Micro SIM
Huawei Y5 (2017) Micro SIM
Huawei Y6 (2017) Micro SIM
Huawei Y635 Micro SIM

LG smartphone models and SIM types

Model SIM type
LG G Flex Micro SIM
LG G Flex2 Micro SIM
LG G2 Micro SIM
LG G2 mini Micro SIM
LG G3, S Micro SIM
LG G3 S Micro SIM
LG G4, c Micro SIM
LG G5, SE Nano SIM
LG G6 Nano SIM
LG Joy Micro SIM
LG K10 Nano SIM
LG K3, K3 (2017) Micro SIM
LG K5 Micro SIM
LG K8 Micro SIM
LG K8 (2017) Nano SIM
LG L70 Standard SIM
LG Leon Micro SIM
LG Nexus 4 Micro SIM
LG Nexus 5 Micro SIM
LG Nexus 5X Nano SIM
LG Optimus G Micro SIM
LG Optimus L5 II Standard SIM
LG Q6 Nano SIM
LG Q8 Nano SIM
LG Spirit Micro SIM
LG Stylus 2 Micro SIM
LG V10 Nano SIM
LG V20 Nano SIM
LG X cam Nano SIM
LG X mach Nano SIM
LG X power Micro SIM
LG X screen Nano SIM
LG X Skin Micro SIM
LG X style Micro SIM

Motorola smartphone models and SIM types

Model SIM type
Motorola Moto C Micro SIM
Motorola Moto C Plus Nano SIM
Motorola Moto E (1st&2nd Gen) Micro SIM
Motorola Moto E3 Micro SIM
Motorola Moto E4, Plus Nano SIM
Motorola Moto E4 Plus Nano SIM
Motorola Moto E5 (all models) Nano SIM
Motorola Moto G (all models) Micro SIM
Motorola Moto G4 (all models) Micro SIM
Motorola Moto G5(all models) Nano SIM
Motorola Moto G6 Nano SIM
Motorola Moto G6 Play Nano SIM
Motorola Moto G6 Plus Nano SIM
Motorola Moto M Nano SIM
Motorola Moto X (all models) Nano SIM
Motorola Moto Z (all models) Nano SIM
Motorola Moto Z2 Play Nano SIM
Motorola Nexus 6 Nano SIM
Motorola RAZR HD Micro SIM

Samsung smartphone models and SIM types

Model SIM type
Samsung Ativ S Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy A3 (all models) Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy A5 (all models) Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy A7 Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2016) Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy Ace Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Alpha Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy C5 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy C7 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Fame Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy J1 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy J2 (all models) Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2018) Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy J5 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy J7 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy J7 (2018) Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy K zoom Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Music Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy Nexus Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note FE Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note II Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Note9 Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy S Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy S II Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy S III Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy S III Mini Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy S III mini VE Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy S4 (all models) Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy S5 (all models) Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy S6 (all models) Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy S8, 8+ Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy S9, 9+ Nano SIM
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 3 Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4 Micro SIM
Samsung Galaxy Y Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy Young Standard SIM
Samsung Galaxy Young 2 Micro SIM
Samsung Nexus S Standard SIM
Samsung Z1 Micro SIM
Samsung Z3 Micro SIM
Samsung Z4 Micro SIM

How to change a Standard SIM to smaller ones (Micro or Nano)

Many SIM only and PAYG packages now offer 3-in-1 SIM cards. This means that the Standard SIM has both the Micro and Nano SIMs incorporated into it. This is such that you can just press out the size that suits your mobile device.

But you can also trim your Standard SIM to become a Micro SIM with sharp scissors, after using a sharp knife to score where you need to cut from the SIM. Then you can use a nail file to smoothen the edges. This process takes a lot of patience as there is the risk of damaging your SIM with any scratch to the panel area.

Thanks for reading this article, if you’re looking for a great deal check out our Three vs SMARTY review which compares two of the best value UK networks.