Sunday, September 23, 2012

HOW TO: Use Straight Talk with an iPhone 5

As you may already know, Straight Talk offers a very competitive $45 a month plan that will work on the iPhone. Straight Talk provides you with a standard micro SIM card, but unfortunately the iPhone 5 uses the new nano SIM card standard. This means that the Straight Talk provided micro SIM card will not work in the iPhone 5. Don't worry though, there's a super easy solution.

Disclaimer: As always, follow this procedure at your own risk. Although I had no issues with this process it is possible for you to damage or destroy your Straight Talk SIM card, your iPhone 5, or even both. Proceed with caution!
Straight Talk micro SIM compared to AT&T nano SIM
You can use Straight Talk on the AT&T iPhone 5 or an unlocked iPhone 5. As of this writing the Verizon iPhone 5 is being shipped unlocked, so the Verizon iPhone 5 will work with Straight Talk as well. It's worth noting that if at some point in the future Straight Talk is able to offer the AT&T LTE network you will need an AT&T iPhone 5 in order to have the proper LTE bands as Verizon uses different LTE bands than AT&T.

The solution is about as low-tech as you can get. Even though the new nano SIM cards are actually both smaller and thinner than the micro SIM, the SIM card tray in the iPhone 5 will accept the slightly thicker micro SIM card. All you have to do is cut it down to the nano SIM size. 

I'm sure we'll start seeing a bunch of specialized "micro SIM to nano SIM" tools pop up for sale on eBay soon, but you really don't need to spend the money on a specialized tool - especially if you only need to modify your one SIM card.

You can guesstimate the following procedure, but I highly recommend you get an actual nano SIM (or borrow one for a few minutes) so you can be more accurate.

First, grab a Sharpie or similar permanent marker. Now, place the nano SIM on top of the Straight Talk micro SIM. Line up both the horizontal and vertical lines between both SIM cards. You will notice that the Straight Talk SIM card's metal contacts are actually a little bit wider than they need to be. Don't worry about this.
Tracing the nano SIM card onto the micro SIM card
Once you have the cards lined up take your Sharpie and trace the edge of the real nano SIM card onto the Straight Talk SIM card. Get as close to the edge of the real nano SIM card as possible. You'll need to trace over the metal contacts on the Straight Talk SIM card since they will be wider than the real nano SIM's contacts.
Comparison of traced Straight Talk micro SIM to real nano SIM
Once you've finished tracing you can sit the real nano SIM off to the side.

Next, get a sharp pair of scissors out. Carefully cut the Straight Talk micro SIM so that none of your black marker lines are left. Note that you WILL have to carefully cut a small amount of material away from the metal contacts on each end of the Straight Talk micro SIM card. 

Carefully cut the Straight Talk micro SIM card
Once you have cut down the Straight Talk micro SIM card you can compare it to the real nano SIM card and make any more fine trims that you need to in order to make it as close a match as possible to the real nano SIM.
Compare the two SIM cards and adjust your Straight Talk SIM as necessary
Once you have your new and improved Straight Talk nano SIM created you can place it in the iPhone 5 SIM card tray as usual. Make sure that the Straight Talk SIM fits completely into the tray (trim the sides of the SIM more if necessary). You want to make sure that the Straight Talk SIM is as flush as possible with the edges of the tray to prevent it from getting caught inside the phone. The iPhone 5 tray seems to be pretty forgiving in this regard as I had no issues with inserting or removing the modified card into the iPhone 5. 
Straight Talk SIM in an iPhone 5
Finally, slide the SIM card tray into the iPhone 5 and confirm that the carrier name in the upper left corner shows "HOME" (this is shown in the first picture at the top of this article). This indicates that the SIM has been recognized and is working. Go ahead and place a test call to confirm everything.

Once you've got everything setup you can enjoy the full Straight Talk service on your iPhone 5. Straight Talk does not support the LTE speeds at the moment, but you will still be able to get the AT&T "4G" HSPA+ network speeds.


  1. thanks so much for this post. just trimmed my straight talk sim down by hand . works perfect in Verizon iphone 5.

  2. Is MMS working by using the T-Mobile SIM swap method? Does this also work on the iPhone 4S with iOS 6?

    If so, I'll unload my jailbreak and upgrade again.

  3. I had to do it a few times to get both working. I used the Verizon SIM card from my 3rd Gen iPad.

    iPhone 4S locked to AT&T - iOS 6

  4. Yes sim swap still work's but what's even better is ST is now an Official iphone carrier and offers Iphone 5 4S and a 4G that use Verizon as the carrier

    1. The negative to that is resale value. I'd rather pay the same price for an officially unlocked iPhone from Apple, and have the freedom to switch carriers when Straight Talk gets on my nerves, like with their severe restrictions on data usage.

      I'll be jumping to Solavei as soon as T-Mobile updates my area to HSPA+ for only $4 more per month. Since it runs on T-Mobile, you can easily access the APN settings.

      What Apple really needs to do is STOP RESETTING THE SETTINGS after every iOS update!

  5. does this work to make one for iphone 5s?

  6. I cut my own to use with a 5c it worked wonderfully. Just take your time when you cut that's all.