Are you preparing to perform a factory reset on your phone, and want to know if you should remove your SIM card beforehand?

This is an excellent question, and one that has a relatively simple answer.

In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!

Should You Remove Your SIM Card Before Resetting It?

SIM Card

While you can if you’d like to, there is no need to remove your SIM card before performing a factory reset on your phone.

This is because factory resets only affect the data on your phone’s internal storage system – not the data that’s stored on SIM or SD cards.

Therefore, it makes no difference whether or not the SIM card remains in the phone.

In order to protect the SIM card from damage however, it’s best to leave it in the phone and handle it as little as possible.

The only exception is if you are resetting the phone to prepare it to be traded in, or sold to someone else. More on that later on!

Is Any Data Stored On The SIM Card?

Not usually. On modern smartphones, no data is stored on the SIM card itself.

Instead, all data is stored using the device’s internal storage system, or on an external SD card if your phone supports one. Very rarely is any of your data stored on the SIM itself.

Therefore, your SIM won’t be affected in any way, even if you do a factory reset while it’s still in your phone.

In the past, phones used to store some information such as your contacts list and perhaps some of your text messages on the SIM card. However, this was back when most phones only had 9 number keypads, and typing everything out took a long time.

Photos and videos were never stored on SIM cards, because they took up too much space.

Anyhow, back then, it was a real perk to be able to just copy your contacts list into a new phone – we didn’t have tons of apps and features like we do today, so once you had your contacts list transferred, it was almost like your phone setup was complete!

These days though, we have automatic backup solutions like iCloud and easy ways to transfer large amounts of data quickly. Additionally, contacts include much more information then they did in the past, like extra numbers, email addresses and even contact photos. So, it’s no longer practical to store contacts on the SIM card like we did in years past.

Long story short is this – all of your data is likely being stored on the phone itself. Be sure to make any necessary backups before doing a factory reset, to ensure nothing is lost!

Can You Do A Factory Reset Without The SIM Card?

Yes. You should be able to do a factory reset regardless of whether the SIM card is in the phone or not.

This is true both for iPhone, as well as Android phones. In fact, there likely aren’t any phones that would have issues with this, unless you’re unable to unlock the phone without the SIM card in it.

This is because resetting the phone to factory settings (or using the ‘erase all content and settings feature on iPhones) does not have anything to do with the SIM card.

So, regardless of whether or not its in, it won’t have any effect.

Should You Remove Your SIM Card Before Selling Or Trading In Your Phone?

Yes – it’s a good idea to remove your SIM card before selling or trading in your phone with your carrier.

However, if your carrier specifically requests it (such as when upgrading a phone), you’ll probably need to oblige. If you want to keep the same phone number, be sure to specifically request this with your cellular provider so they can get you a replacement SIM for your new phone.

The reason you don’t want to give away your SIM though is simple – there is nothing to be gained from it.

Any buyer will have their own SIM card to put in, and will have no use for yours.

Your SIM card is what is used to provide your phone cellular service, and let carriers know you have an activate plan with them. It is also responsible for providing you with your phone number.

If you give away your SIM and your service is still active, the new buyer will be able to use the phone on your plan, potentially racking up extra fees or charges.

Additionally, when you go to transfer your number to your new phone and receive a new SIM yourself, the old SIM card will be deactivated.

So, there is never a need for the buyer to have your old SIM card. At best, it will do nothing. At worst, it will cause them to receive your calls until you get it switched, and potentially rack up extra charges and fees with your carrier.


Fortunately, there is no need to remove your SIM card before doing a factory or hard reset. Whether your SIM card is in your phone or not, the reset will still complete successfully, and it won’t cause any issues to your SIM card.

However, if you’re resetting your phone to factory settings (or utilizing the iPhone’s erase all content and settings feature) to trade in or sell your phone, you should take the SIM card out before handing it off to its new owner.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about SIM cards or selling your phone, please ask using the comment form below.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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