How to Reprogram a SIM Card

Updated April 17, 2017

Modern day cell and mobile phones use a tiny memory unit called a subscriber identity module card, or SIM card. It keeps track of your phone numbers, rate plan information, contacts and messages. It is simple to swap out your current SIM card, but you must learn how to reprogram it with your current account information. To achieve this, you must contact your cell phone service provider and have them initiate an over-the-air, or OTA, update that is wirelessly transmitted to your phone.

Navigate to the Internet site for your cell phone provider. Click the "Contact Us" link in their website and write down their toll free customer service number.

Turn off the power to your phone. Flip it over and push down on the battery cover. Slide it towards you to separate it from the phone. Place the battery cover aside, slide your fingernail under the battery and lift it upwards. Pull it out and set it aside.

Pull the metal SIM card cover off of the card and find the identity number on the backside. They are usually long numbers ranging from 16 to 20 digits. Write this number down, reassemble your phone and turn the power back on.

Use a different phone to call the toll free number for your cell phone provider that you noted down earlier. Tell customer service you need to have your SIM card re-programmed and give him the 16 to 20 digit card number.

Ask the representative if you need to enter in a specific code on the phone to receive your OTA update. It will arrive to your phone in the form of a text message, so use your cell phone arrow keys to highlight the option "Accept Update." Hit your "Enter" or "Menu" key to program the update on to your SIM card.


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About the Author

Tina Reichmann has been a freelance writer since 2009 when she began an internship with the "Amarillo Globe News." She has her Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from the University of North Texas and her Master of Science in kinesiology from West Texas A&M University.