SIM Only For iPhone

SIM Only For iPhone

The latest versions of Apple’s popular iPhone use a modified SIM card called a micro SIM. As the name implies, micro SIMs are smaller than typical SIM cards and as a result you cannot use a regular SIM only contract with an iPhone.

Despite this, iPhones are one of the most frequently bought SIM free mobiles, partly simply because of the overwhelming popularity of the device but also partly because Apple’s retail and online sales arm is so successful and to date they only sell SIM free devices.

Indeed, when the latest and greatest new iPhones first come out they can be so popular and sell out so quickly that many ‘early adopters’ can only get hold of them SIM free from Apple.

This presents something of a quandary for the networks. If customers are buying the devices SIM free that is good news for them in many ways because they don’t have to subsidise the high costs of giving away free or heavily discounted iPhones to their customers. However, because of the micro SIM issue they can’t sell their standard SIM contracts to iPhone customers. These customers also tend to have slightly different needs to typical SIM only customers, they tend to use their phones more, particularly for data hungry applications so it makes sense to offer a range of SIM contracts specifically for iPhone users.

As is always the case when taking out a contract, you should check the details of your plan very carefully. Obviously it is essential that you order a micro SIM rather than a standard SIM contract but the details of the contract may not be exactly the same, for example some networks have charged more from a micro SIM contract that an identical contract on a regular SIM and, more frequently, the inclusive allowances have been different. In particular you should check the amount of inclusive data in your monthly allowance – because iPhone users are typically much higher users of data than regular phone or even other smartphone users, networks tend to be more wary of giving away unlimited allowances.

In addition to checking the allowances you should also be careful to check if there are other, less visible, aspects of the contract that are not as you expect. For example, is there access to wifi hotspots included and how much? Are you allowed to tether your iPhone (use it as a modem for other gadgets like laptops)? Are there any differences in the roaming or out of bundle rates?

From your point of view, if this will be the first time you have bought an iPhone you should also consider if your usage is likely to be different to how it has been in the past. In particular you are likely to use much more data that in the past, not just for email and web browsing but for all the regular updates that various apps you may install use in the background. Generally it’s a good idea to have at least 1gb of data with your iPhone plan to cover typical use but unlimited or ‘all you can eat’ data gives complete piece of mind that you won’t be charged extra on top of you monthly price plan for incremental data use.


  • iPhones use a different type of SIM card called a micro SIM. If you are taking out a SIM contract for iPhone you need to ensure it is on a Micro SIM
  • In some cases, Micro SIM contracts are subtly different to typical SIM contracts, you should always check the fine print to be sure you are getting the contract you expect
  • Remember to think about how much data you are likely to use. iPhones users do tend to use a lot more data than users of other mobiles so think about a high inclusive allowance or better still taking out a contract with unlimited data
  • You can compare the best SIM contracts for iPhone on our iPhone SIM deals page