Should I Remove the SIM Card Before Selling my Phone?

This is a question we’ve gotten from many customers… “Do I need to remove my SIM card before sending in my phone?”

And the answer is: Yes. While it’s not 100% necessary, it’s always a smart idea!


What is a SIM Card, and Why Should I Remove it?

The SIM card (which stands for Subscriber Identity Module) has a couple of different uses depending on the type of network you’re on. In some cases, the SIM may also contain information such as contacts, call history, and texts.

If you’re on a GSM network (AT&T or T-Mobile) the SIM is what smartphones use to communicate with each carrier’s cell towers and acts as your “login info” for that network.

If you’re on a CDMA network (Verizon or Sprint) you may or may not have a SIM card. CDMA networks don’t use SIMs as a form of identifications, instead, they use the phone’s ESN (Electronic Serial Number), a number given by the manufacturer. Although some smartphones may have a SIM, it’s either because it is needed to connect to the 4G LTE network, or to allow the phones to function in foreign countries.

When you cancel your service or activate a new phone your old SIM should automatically be deactivated, making it a useless piece of plastic. The new owner of your phone will have to insert a new SIM into the phone to use it, but it doesn’t hurt to remove it yourself just in case!


How do I remove my SIM?

SIM card removal is different for different devices, in some phones the SIM is located behind the battery cover; simply pop off the battery cover and slide the card from the slot. (While you’re at it don’t forget to remove your SD card if your phone has one!)

Other phones, like the iPhone, have a SIM card tray on the side of the phone and require an ejector tool to remove. If you don’t have an ejector tool, no worries, a simple paper clip or other small pointy object will work just fine!


What should I do with my old SIM card?

If your phone is on a GSM network (AT&T or T-Mobile), place your old SIM in your new phone and you’ll be good to go! You don’t need to purchase a new SIM card when you switch phones.

If you’re using a CDMA network (Verizon or Sprint), your carrier can help you determine whether or not you’ll need a new SIM and will help you activate your new device. Depending on your carrier, you may be able to do this online.

If you’re switching networks you’ll probably need a new SIM card, in this case, you can simply remove your old SIM and throw it away.


What happens if I forget to remove my SIM before selling my old phone?

If you’re selling your smartphone to ItsWorthMore, just relax! As part of our evaluation process, we’ll remove and safely dispose of your SIM card for you. You have nothing to worry about!

If you’ve sold your phone to a friend or shipped it off to someone on eBay, it’s ok. When you activated your new phone, the old SIM should have been deactivating. You can always double check by calling up your provider!


What else should I do before selling my phone?

The number 1 thing you should do before attempting to sell an old phone is to check the IMEI/ESN to make sure your phone is ok to sell. If you’re leasing your phone or set up in a “pay to own” contract, you cannot sell your phone until it is 100% paid off. Checking the ESN will let you know if you’re good to go!


After you’ve made sure that your phone is ready to sell, get a quote and see how much your used phone is worth here.