How to Activate an Inactive SIM Card

Updated April 17, 2017

When you purchase a cell phone you will also receive a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module). SIM cards are used to store rate plan information, contact names, numbers, addresses and any other information stored on your phone. The SIM card can be installed and activated by to the store where you purchased the phone, or you may choose to install it yourself. SIM cards from the same service provider can be moved from phone to phone for ease of information transfer.

Turn off your cell phone.

Locate the battery cover release button and remove the battery.

Underneath the battery, there is a small metal door; open this small metal door.

With the gold contacts of the SIM card facing down, insert the SIM card.

Close the small metal door, locking the SIM card in place.

Replace the battery and battery cover.

Turn on the phone and activate the SIM card either online, at the service provider's website, or by calling your service provider from an alternate phone.


Be careful when handling the SIM card and inserting it into the phone. Some SIM doors located underneath the battery are easier to open and close than others. For faster activation, consider activating your SIM card online.


Always turn the phone off before installing or removing any hardware.

Things You'll Need

  • Cell phone service account
  • SIM card
  • Cell phone
  • Steps


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About the Author

Jessica Johnson began her writing career in 2010, writing for eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM. She graduated from Savannah State University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She then earned a Bachelor of Science in health from Georgia State University and is now working on her Master of Science in public health from the University of Massachusetts.