Deactivating a SIM card may be necessary for a variety of reasons, such as stopping calls, disconnecting from the internet, or preventing unauthorized use. The process can vary depending on phone device and service provider, so check with your provider for specific instructions. Be aware deactivating a SIM card may result in losing your phone number or incurring charges.

Reasons for Disabling a SIM Card

Deactivating a SIM card is often necessary for privacy reasons, as it can store personal information such as contact numbers. Common reasons include duplicate SIM cards, changing phone operators, SIM not working properly, and traveling abroad.

  • Having a duplicate SIM card: If the card is not working properly, deactivating the old one ensures that no one can access your information.
  • Changing phone operators: The new telephone company will supply you with a new card, so it’s best to deactivate the old one before saving or destroying it.
  • SIM card not functioning properly: If the phone does not have coverage, does not allow contacts to be stored, or has issues with calls, disabling the card is best if it is no longer in use.
  • Traveling abroad: It’s important to deactivate the SIM card before traveling to avoid overcharging on your bill as the phone operator may continue to provide network services even when outside of your country.

Deactivating SIM Card on your Phone Device

Deactivating a SIM card on a phone device requires having access to the device, allowing for a range of options that are not available otherwise.

Quick SIM Deactivation: Airplane Mode

Airplane mode is the fastest and simplest solution for quickly deactivating a SIM card on a phone device. By turning on airplane mode, the device will no longer be connected to the phone network and will not receive calls, SMS or have access to data network.

However, it allows the continuation of using other functions of the phone such as WiFi and Bluetooth. To use it, access the quick settings or control panel on the device and turn on airplane mode.

airplane mode android ios iphone

Easy SIM Deactivation: Remove the SIM Card

Removing the SIM card is no longer the easiest option for deactivation. With the lack of a removable back cover, a tool is needed to extract the tray and deactivate the SIM card. Without the SIM card, calls and network connectivity will not be available, but other features such as WiFi and airplane mode can still be used.

To remove the SIM card on both Android and iOS devices, a tool such as a SIM tray ejector is required, allowing for safe storage of the SIM card until reactivation.

problem removing SIM tray

Turn Off your Phone

Turning off the device is a last resort option for disabling the SIM card. While calls cannot be made or received, other features such as music playback, camera, and notes will also be inaccessible. This can be a complete shutdown of the device’s functionality.

turn off mobile

Disabling SIM Card in Dual SIM Phone

Dual SIM phones provide the ability to temporarily deactivate a SIM card. This allows for separation of work and personal numbers, for example, deactivating the work number outside of working hours. Both physical SIM cards and eSIMs can be deactivated this way.

This can be achieved by going to settings > phone networks, then selecting the SIM card(s) and making the desired change, thus giving the option to choose which one to use at any time.

Deactivating SIM Card Without the Phone

Deactivating a SIM card when a phone is lost or stolen requires calling the mobile service provider. Provide your personal information and explain the situation, and they will proceed to request a new SIM card and deactivate the old one.

This process requires the ICC number of the SIM card, which can be found on the packaging the SIM card came in. Failure to deactivate a SIM card when a phone is lost can lead to additional charges or further complications.

Having two SIM cards with the same phone number active simultaneously is not possible, so deactivating the old one is necessary to reactivate your phone number and stay connected.

Destroying a SIM Card

Destroying a SIM card is an important step in protecting personal information when deactivating it. SIM cards store information that identifies you on your network, and if it falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to extract personal information and potentially use your phone number.

After deactivating the SIM card and obtaining a replacement, it should be destroyed in a way that prevents information extraction. This could include cutting it up, breaking the chip or contacting a recycling service.

Contacting your phone carrier to deactivate the SIM card first is a necessary step before disposing of it.

  1. Contact the mobile service provider that supplied you with the SIM card
  2. Request that the SIM card be deactivated
  3. Wait for the mobile service provider to confirm deactivation
  4. With the SIM card inserted in the phone, delete all personal information stored on it
  5. Remove the SIM card from the phone
  6. Cut the SIM card in half with sharp scissors
  7. Break the chip into two parts
  8. Finally, discard the SIM card properly.

Caller Experience When Calling a Deactivated SIM

When a deactivated SIM card is called, the caller will hear a message from the operator stating that “the telephone number you are calling is not available.” This message may be accompanied by an option to leave a voicemail, if it’s activated, or a prompt to try again later.

The caller will not be aware of the reason for this message, whether the phone is off, out of battery, in an area without coverage, or even turned on airplane mode.