Are you about to get a new iPhone? If so, then you may be thinking that you would like to keep your old phone number. It might be that you’ve had the same number for many years, so you have a sentimental attachment to it. It could also be that you don’t want to have to learn a new one, or bother all of your contacts and tell them about the change. If you’re in either of these situations, then you’re probably wondering how to switch your number between devices. Let’s talk about how to do that.
Transferring Your Phone Number from One iPhone to Another
The first method that we want to talk about applies when you have two different models of the iPhone. Let’s say that you have one that’s a few years old, and you just bought a new one. You want to keep the old number on the new phone, and you’re also keeping your same service provider.
In that scenario, what you’d want to do is to put the SIM card from your old iPhone into the new one. The SIM card from most generations of the iPhone should work on a different iPhone. However, if there is a disparity of many years, like if you have an iPhone Generation 1 and you just got an 11, then you should check with Apple Customer Service before going any further. If the phones were released that many years apart, they probably won’t be compatible, and you’ll need to get a new SIM card issued to you.
Remove the SIM Card from the Old iPhone
First, you’ll power off your old phone. Make sure that the phone is off before attempting to do anything with the SIM card, or you could damage either the card or the device. You’ll next need to locate the SIM card tray on your older iPhone. It can be found on the upper right-hand side of the device for most iPhones. If your phone is in a case, then you’ll need to remove it before proceeding.
There is a compartment shaped like an oval with a visible pinhole. Take a straightened paper clip and put the end of it into that hole, or you can also use a specially-designed SIM card remover. These come with every new iPhone, or you can order them online for a couple of dollars. You can also get one from an Apple Store if there’s one nearby.
Push the end of the tool or paperclip into the hole, gently, but firmly. You should notice an audible click as the tray releases. Now, you can slide the tray out with your fingers, and you can remove the SIM card. Be careful not to drop it or otherwise damage it.
Remove the SIM Card from the New iPhone
Next, you will follow the same steps with the new version of the iPhone. Take the tool or paperclip and pop the tray out, then remove the SIM card.
Put the Old SIM Card in the New iPhone
Next, you’ll put the SIM card from the older iPhone into the new one. You should take note of which side was the bottom of the SIM card and which one was the top when you extract it. One side looks different from the other, so it’s not likely that you will confuse them. However, you’ll notice that there is also a notched corner of the SIM card. If you align that notch with the tray of the new iPhone, then the configuration should be right. The gold chip will be facing down.
Next, press the tray of the new iPhone back in, securing both the tray and the SIM card. There should be a little click when it is back in place. Now, you can power on your new iPhone. The phone number of the previous one should work for the new one. You’ll also notice that any other information you had stored on the card will be accessible in the new phone.
You can put the new SIM card in your old phone if you like, or you can discard it. If you’re selling the device or giving it to an Apple Store, then they will probably appreciate the SIM card coming with it.
What if You Bought a Secondhand iPhone?
Maybe the new iPhone you have is actually used. In that case, there might have been a restriction placed on the SIM card by the carrier the previous owner was using. You’ll need to contact that provider to get the restriction taken off. They might be willing to do it for free, or there could be a small fee involved in some cases.
What About if You are Going with a Different Service Provider?
If you are not going to be using the same service provider with the new iPhone, then you’ll need to check your current service contract to see if there are any additional restrictions associated with moving the phone number. Contact your service provider and go over the situation with them.
It’s likely that there will be a small fee involved if you want to keep your old number. If you were under a long-term contract with the provider, then there will probably be a more substantial cancellation fee. Whatever you do, don’t cancel your current service until you talk to someone. Doing so makes it likely that your current phone number will be lost, and you will not be able to transfer it.
Changing Your Number is Called Porting
Whether a number can be transferred between service providers or not is sometimes called porting. You can check whether porting is available for your current phone number by going to the websites for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.
Let’s say that you’ve determined that your old phone number can be ported. Once you’ve decided on a new mobile service provider, you can contact them and tell them that you’re interested in porting your current number. You’ll probably need to provide the account information for your current provider, so have that handy. You might also need the ESN/IMEI number of your new iPhone. You can find that by looking at the receipt from your new phone, the packaging from it, or you can open up the device and find it there as well.
The porting process should not take long, but you might be charged a small fee by the new provider as well. If you are getting the newer iPhone version from the new provider, then it will already have a new SIM card in it. Once you have informed them of the number you want to be ported, no further action on your part should be necessary.
If you already have the new iPhone in your possession, meaning that you didn’t buy it from the carrier, then you’ll have to wait while the new service provider sends you a SIM card in the mail. This new SIM card should work with your iPhone and have the same number programmed onto it.
What About Transferring the Number Between an Android and Your New iPhone?
Maybe you had an Android in the past, and now you want the number from it on your new iPhone. Perhaps you had some other variety of phones, but you still want to keep that number.
This is sometimes possible to do. It varies from device to device, and your old and new service providers will have a say in it too. You’ll need to contact both providers and tell them what old phone you had and what the new one is. They should be able to tell you if it’s doable, and what fees may be involved.
In most cases, it can be done. However, if you ever find a model of phone or a service provider that is not able or willing to transfer the number, it’s not the end of the world. You and your contacts will have to learn a new number, but at least you’ll still be able to enjoy all of the functions of your new iPhone.