Saturday, June 15, 2013

Converting a Micro SIM to a Nano SIM

The Sad Backstory

So, my iPhone 4S suddenly started having issues last night.  It would repeatedly connect and disconnect from the recharger while sitting there calmly, physically connected to it.  I tried hooking it up to the USB adapter to my laptop (different cable).  Same problem.  The iPad had problems with neither cable.

I tried to restore it, but that was problematic, what with it randomly disconnecting in the middle of restoration.

So, off to the Apple store where an "Apple Genius" decided it was pocket lint and started digging into the connector port with a SIM card removal tool.  My hopes grew.  Certainly pocket lint clogging the port *could* be the problem.

After the "genius" was done, there was a stark difference in performance.  Now it would not connect at all.  Hooray.

And it's 18 months old, so it's out of warranty.  Hooray.

Anyway, long story short, I had an iPhone 5, which takes "Nano SIM" cards as opposed to "Micro SIM" cards, neither of which deserve their names.

The Motivation

T-Mobile used to just cut down the cards for free.  The location I went to was eager to reap the revenue of their new $20 fee for doing that.  Sure, I could afford that, but it pissed me off that they took something that can be done literally in seconds, using a tool that costs around $5, and tried to jack me for $20.

Sure, I could have made a stink and perhaps even changed providers on principle, but cutting down the card *should* be easy... right?

So, I decided that I would punish them for poor market research and price setting by at least *trying* to cut down my card.

What did I have to lose?  If it did not work, then I had lost a little time.  If it did, I could claim triumph and perhaps even help a friend in the future.

The Resource

After searching the interwebs, I settled on this tutorial and cutting guide.  Knowing that I had plenty of tolerance in how I cut it, and wildly confident in my skill with precision knifework, I flagrantly disregarded the instructions to score/mark the card, whipped out my precision knife, and started cutting.

I cut away all of the spare card and even clipped off a piece of the contact to make the chopped off corner shape.  Still not enough.  The height of the card was good, but the width was not (I am calling the width the long dimension that goes side to side as you look at the card).

So, I cut a sliver more off of each end, wincing slightly as I boldly (foolhardily?) sliced off bits of contact.

Humorous aside: I whipped out precision knives and clippers for this work and a pair of plain old utility scissors ended up being my primary tool of choice when it came down to it.  It was just easier to grip the card and use the nice long blade of the scissors to insure a straight cut, as opposed to fiddling about trying to hold a cutting guide against a tiny card while cutting it. The only problem was having to resist the urge to run with scissors.

With the slight adjustments, it was the right dimensions now, but the corners were a bit fiddly.  So I rounded them down slightly with a handy nail file.

Bang! It fit.  It ended up being a hair smaller than the holder.  But did it work?

I slotted it into the phone...

Moment of truth...


Sure, because you have to trim the contacts a bit, it feels like you are breaking it, but what the interwebs say is true, it's will still work.

So, if you want to take a shot at it, I encourage it.  you problem just need good, straight, sharp scissors and a steady hand.  I do not recommend being as cavalier as I was.  Go ahead and mark or score the card using the template.