So you bought a new phone and are wondering: If I Put My SIM Card In Another Phone What Will Happen? Will everything be fine?
For many of our blog's readers, this is quite a painless process, but for some of our readers in the United States and Canada, it isn't so simple - these users might be faced with errors and an inability to use your number on a different phone which is not from the same carrier you got the phone from.
So we thought it would be a great idea to write an article on what to expect when switching devices and having to move your SIM cards between phones, as well as what GSM and factory unlocked on Android and iPhone mean.
Let's start with the answer to the question, "What happens if I put my SIM card in another phone?"
If you are in a hurry, use the Table of Contents below to scoll to the section that interests you.
But what does a SIM card do? Let's figure that out before we continue with the rest of the information in this article.
What is a SIM card?
A SIM card is a small chip that is inserted into the phone. It contains all the carrier phone settings, and is linked to your phone number. You can take the SIM card out, put it into another phone, and the new phone would ring when someone called your number. You could put a new SIM card in your unlocked phone, and your phone would then work with whatever new phone number and account was linked to that new SIM card. Older generaetion CDMA phones had no SIM cards and were authenticated by the service provider. This made unlocking a phone impossible.
If I put my SIM card in another phone what will happen?
Whether you phone is an Android or iPhone, there are three scenarios you need to consider:
- Putting a SIM card into a phone that is locked to the same carrier as your previous phone
- Putting the SIM card into a phone that is unlocked
- Using a SIM card on the phone of a carrier that is different than the carrier of your previous phone
So, the answer to the question, "What will happen if I put my SIM card in another phone?" is that it depends entirely on a number of factors.
Everything should work fine if the SIM card is inserted into another phone with the same carrier; however, if the phone is locked to a different carrier, it will most likely not work; however, if the SIM card is inserted into an unlocked phone, it will work fine.
Depending on the mobile carrier of the phone in question, your SIM card will work fine on another phone. It would work fine if you used a Verizon SIM card in a Verizon phone and then put the SIM card into another Verizon phone that is locked to the Verizon network.
Other network providers, such as Sprint, Cricket, and AT&T, are in the same boat, you can put the SIM from the phone of one carrier to another phone from the same carrier.
Inserting a SIM card into a phone that is locked to another carrier is something different though, which you should also be aware of so that you don't run into any issues.
If you use a Sprint SIM card in a Verizon-locked phone, you will be unable to perform basic tasks such as phone calls and texts, and even if you can do these, accessing the internet may be difficult.
There is a solution for the majority of people who wonder, "What will happen if I put my SIM card in another phone?"
SIM Unlocked Phone
Getting an unlocked phone, whether GSM or factory unlocked, means that any SIM card will work fine in it. But carriers that are giving you a phone as part of your package, are not incentivized to allow this.
Note: Some carriers, such as Telstra in Australia, have policies prohibiting SIM card swapping, in which case you will be unable to swap SIM cards unless you are enrolled in specific plans.
Although many carriers in the United States and Canada do not have this policy, we thought you should be aware that simply inserting said SIM card into an unlocked phone or another carrier's phone may not work unless you upgrade your subscribed plan.
I Put My SIM Card in Another Phone And It Won’t Work
Do you have a SIM card that won't work on another phone? Here are the reasons why it may not work.
1. SIM Locked To A Different Carrier
The issue is most likely caused by the SIM card being inserted into a phone that is locked to a different carrier; in this case, you must either unlock the phone or insert the SIM into another phone that is locked to the same carrier.
The reason for this is usually simple. You've gotten that phone with a particular carrier on a contract or at a good price, so the carrier expect you to stay on the same carrier for the duration of your plan or contract, and so the SIM-lock the phone to the carrier.
A SIM lock means that the SIM card will only work on that phone, and that phone will only work with a SIM from that specific carrier.
If your SIM card will not work on another phone, you should consider purchasing an unlocked device. You could also try going through the hassle of unlocking the device as suggested above, try inserting the SIM card in another phone that is factory unlocked and/or GSM, and see if it works.
2. SIM Card is Defective
Another reason your SIM card would not work on another phone is that there are likely issues with your SIM card. If a SIM card becomes worn out, it may begin to select devices; therefore, you should re-insert the SIM in the previous phone to see if it is still functional.
You could also remove the SIM card and clean it with rubbing alcohol before reinstalling it in the device. When the SIM plate becomes dirty, it may become unreachable for some devices.
Will my contacts be saved if I put my SIM card in another phone?
Yes, most times your contacts will be saved if you put your SIM card in another phone - but this does not happen through the SIM card. This is because on modern phones, the contacts are saved on your Google account (for Android phones) and on your iCloud account (for iPhones)
If you insert your sim card into another phone, it will transfer (on the SIM card) the contracts that were previously saved to the sim card. However, contacts are usually no longer stored on the sim card in today's phones, for most people. The reason is not SIM cards typically store only a very limited number of contacts, while modern ways of storing contacts can store a practically unlimited number of contacts.
On most recent phones, contacts are stored in the user's Google account, and if you have an iPhone, they are saved in your iCloud account.
If you're switching phones, you'll need to sign in to your iCloud or Google account to have all of your contacts and other data transferred automatically to your new phone.
If your contacts are saved on your phone rather than your Google or iCloud account, you'll need to manually transfer or back them up to your iCloud or Google account.
Finally, if your contacts are saved on your sim card, they will be saved on any phone you use; all you have to do is import the contacts from the sim card into the phone.
What Happens to WhatsApp if I Put My Sim Card on Another Phone?
Your WhatsApp will work normally on either phone if you put your sim card on another phone. A change of sim card or phone number has no effect on WhatsApp. If the phone is connected to the internet, you can continue to use WhatsApp on it. You will just need to activate WhatsApp on the new phone.
You can also move your WhatsApp to another phone, but before doing so, make a backup of your account on the current phone. This will ensure that your messages and other important information are not lost during the transfer and will make the process go more smoothly.
The usual process to do this is via a Google Account, both on an Android or an iPhone.
How to Make A SIM Card Work in Any Phone
Unlocking a phone is a good way to make a SIM card work on any phone. The only reason a SIM card won't work in any phone is if it's locked to a different carrier, so having the phone unlocked opens up possibilities.
Some carriers allow you to subscribe to certain plans that allow you to use your SIM card on any phone if you live in a country like Australia. So you should contact your network provider to see if your SIM card can be adjusted.
We'd also look into using the SIM card in countries where phones aren't locked. Because some countries lack network provider locking devices, inserting a SIM card in one of those countries ensures that it will work on any phone.
SIM Card FAQs
Can You Put Any SIM Card Into An Unlocked Phone?
Yes you should be able to use any SIM card in an unlocked phone. On the other hand, when a phone is locked, it will not work with SIM cards from other network providers. Once the phone is unlocked, it will work with virtually any SIM card, regardless of network provider.
If I put my sim card in another phone will my number be the same?
Yes, your number will remain the same if you insert your sim card into another phone. You can use the sim on the phone with the same number as long as the sim card is compatible with the phone – that is, if the phone is unlocked or locked to the same carrier as the sim card. Your phone number is linked to your sim card rather than the phone itself; in other words, your phone number follows your sim card.
Will my phone carrier know and notify me if I switch my sim card to another phone?
Yes, your phone carrier will notice the change in the IMEI number when you switch your sim card to another phone. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the switch, they may or may not notify you. Most of the time, they will not contact you or notify you. They simply keep the information for record-keeping and marketing purposes.
What Does Network Unlocked or GSM Mean?
A GSM unlocked phone is one that is not tied to a particular GSM network and can use any SIM card, regardless of network. Your SIM card may not work in another phone because the phone is likely locked to a different network provider or is GSM locked. Unlocked phones are more expensive than locked phones because they come with more options out of the box. If you purchase a GSM unlocked phone, you will pay the full price upfront, as opposed to the installment payment options available if you purchase one that is locked to a carrier.
What Happens If A Sim Card Is Inserted Into A Locked Phone?
Nothing will happen, your sim card will simply not work if you insert it into a locked phone. When a phone is locked, it means it's tied to a specific carrier, and it won't work unless you use the same carrier's sim card.
Can I Put My Sim Card on Another Phone Temporarily?
Yes, you can temporarily use your sim card on another phone if the phone is not locked and the sim is compatible. You'd be able to use your sim card on it just like you would on your original phone.
What Does Android and iPhone Factory Unlock Mean?
In contrast to a GSM or network unlocked Android or iPhone, factory unlocked Android and iPhones can be used anywhere in the world. While a phone can be GSM unlocked to work with only US networks, factory unlocked phones can be used anywhere in the world and with any SIM card without problems.
If I put my sim card in another phone will it transfer everything?
No, if you put you sim card in another phone it will not transfer everything. While with old phones, most contact information used to be saved on the SIM card, these days the SIM card is mostly used to "program" a phone with a specific number. Information such as contacts and phone numbers, photos, data and everything else is stored elsewhere. There are specific ways to migrate your data from one phone to another.
Can you switch sim cards between phones?
While you can physically switch sim cards between phones, if the phone is locked, the SIM card will not work.
Can you put a sim card in any phone?
You can put a sim card into any phone that is unlocked. You also need to check about the type of the SIM card, because there are different versions of SIM cards, though most modern phones all use micro-sim cards or even "virtual" sim cards.
If I buy a new phone can I just switch sim card?
Yes, most times the only thing you need to do if you buy a new phone (that is unlocked), you can just switch the sim card to be able to use your current carrier and plan.
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