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On my Galaxy Nexus, I can remove the SIM card without removing the battery. I'm travelling abroad and will find a need to swap SIM cards several times in my phone. I would like to know if it is safe to simply pull one SIM card and put a different one instead, without shutting down the phone?

Safe = without damaging/locking/corrupting either the SIM card or the phone.

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I disagree with Michael that there will "likely be trouble", but I'd guess it's likely not to work. I've only got by Galaxy S to accept a SIM hot-swap once, and I have no idea how. Every other time I've had to reboot. –  Matthew Read May 15 '12 at 21:43
    
I can't imagine how hot-swapping could even work as long as the cellphone system is turned on. Maybe hot-swapping works in airplane mode? –  Erik May 15 '12 at 23:02
    
According to this guy it's not good to do it: XDA post –  ce4 Sep 5 '12 at 17:27
    
Why do iPhones and iPods allow for this behavior? You can use a small tool to remove the SIM card try and then replace the tray with a new SIM card. The OS seems to pick up the new SIM and carry on with no problems, unlike most of my Android devices which require battery removal and hence a default restart/power-up. –  gonzobrains Apr 30 '13 at 23:20

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to Verizon, at least, you should not install/remove the SIM with the battery in. Also, every picture I've seen of a SIM card has the text 'do not install with battery in phone' or similar.

I think that the SIM card standard wasn't built with hot-swap in mind. This may be one of those things that you can get away with, but if it wasn't made for hot-swapping, then it's likely that there's going to be trouble if you try it. The question is - does phone off and battery in count as hot swapping?

Edit - I had been thinking that one should remove the battery because I don't know if the SIM gets any standby power. But Eric's comment below reminds us that some phones have fixed batteries, and therefore it MUST be safe to insert/remove the SIM in at least these phones with the battery installed.

I'm still going to pull the battery whenever possible for doing SIM swaps, but since I only swap SIMs once every never, it's hardly a hardship for me.

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With the RAZR, you have no choice but to leave the battery in. I've removed the micro SIM many times in RAZR/MAXX while testing apps and upgrades with no harm. That's not the same as saying it's a safe practice, but I haven't had any ill effects (yet). –  Eric Cloninger May 18 '12 at 15:37
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@EricCloninger - great point. Logically it must be safe to remove/install the SIM from a phone with a fixed battery (presumably with phone turned off), because we do it all the time. I've edited my answer. –  Michael Kohne May 29 '12 at 16:25
    
Also the phone will never recognize the new sim until it is rebooted, so you might as well turn it of before swapping sims. –  Mihic Sep 4 '12 at 17:01
    
For a lot of phones, the SIM slot is even located behind the battery to make it physically impossible to remove the SIM card with the battery in place. There is possibly a reason for this... –  awe Sep 5 '12 at 12:59

Hot swapping with the airplane mode enabled did not work and did not harm my google nexus

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See forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=1486893&postcount=4 for more info, enabling 'airplane mode' before is seemingly necessary. –  ce4 Sep 5 '12 at 17:29

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