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.

  • 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. May 15, 2012 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, 2012 at 23:02
  • According to this guy it's not good to do it: XDA post
    – ce4
    Sep 5, 2012 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. Apr 30, 2013 at 23:20
  • I know I'm late to the party, but I just arrived here from google, so I thought I'd add my 2 cents. I just did this with an SII on accident, didn't destroy the sim card or the phone. I had to restart the phone, but it recognized the new one.
    – JFA
    May 2, 2015 at 19:40

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 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). May 18, 2012 at 15:37
  • 1
    @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. May 29, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 at 12:59

My ZTE Blade s6 has a setup procedure where the phone is turned on with no sim in then in step three it says insert sim card and the phone is on at this time, it then walks you through the rest of the setup, so I think phones with a removable sim tray and fixed battery are OK to do this.


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


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