iPhone 5 nano-SIM hack: GiffGaff recommends running with scissors

The operator, which does not offer proper nano-SIMs just yet, has suggested that customers can simply trim down older SIM cards for use in the iPhone 5. This suggests the method does work for that device, but that may not be the case for future nano-SIM phones as the new card is thinner than its predecessors.

The mobile virtual network operator GiffGaff has recommended that customers with iPhone 5s cut their SIM cards down to nano-SIM size using scissors.

Apple nano-SIM card cutting with scissors
Image: GiffGaff

GiffGaff demonstrated how to perform the SIM surgery in a blog post on Friday, suggesting that it was a viable way to use a GiffGaff SIM or micro-SIM with Apple's new handset. GiffGaff has not yet brought out a nano-SIM — the iPhone 5 is the first handset to use the format, which was standardised in June.

The ETSI standards body decided to go with Apple's nano-SIM design proposal , rejecting alternatives proposed by RIM and Nokia .

"If you're going to try this one at home for your iPhone 5, cut carefully," GiffGaff commerce chief Kim Faura said in a statement. "Cutting too close could damage your SIM, or make it smaller than it needs to be so it won't make good contact in the phone — it's better to have a snug fit than a loose one."

Faura added that, if a GiffGaff customer does damage their SIM through the alterations, they can order a replacement for free.

GiffGaff's advice seems to suggest that a clipped SIM or micro-SIM can work in the iPhone 5. This has been a much-debated question , as proper nano-SIMs are 12 percent thinner than their predecessors.

"We found… the iPhone 5 doesn't seem to care about this restriction — a full-thickness SIM will fit in just fine without any sanding," the operator's blog post read.

Much of that will be down to Apple's nano-SIM tray design, though, and it is quite possible that un-sanded cards would not fit into other devices that go on to use the standard.