How to open a SIM card tray when an ejector tool isn't around (the MacGyver way)

How to open a SIM card tray when an ejector tool isn't around (the MacGyver way)
Despite being just a fictional character from a TV show, MacGyver was a hero to many kids who grew up during the late '80s and the early '90s. In every episode, he would save the day using nothing but stuff he found lying around. Remember that time when he defused a bomb using a paper clip? Yeah, that's the kind of MacGyverisms we're talking about.

In real life, a paper clip won't be of much use in such a scenario, but it may come in handy for more tasks than just attaching two pieces of paper together. For example, it can be used for ejecting the SIM card tray of a modern smartphone. But it isn't the only "tool" fit for the job. Here's a list of items that can be used for ejecting a smartphone SIM card tray. 

Note: If you ever resort to opening a SIM card tray using any of the tools listed here, make sure you do it with caution. Use your common sense and don't hurt yourself! Also, make sure you're poking your phone in the right hole, not in one where a microphone is.

Using a paper clip, thumbtack, or a push pin

For those who don't have a SIM tray ejector on hand, the humble paper clip is one of the best alternatives. Just bend one of its ends and you're good to go! But make sure you use a paper clip thin enough to fit into the tray's hole. Apply pressure gently so that the metal doesn't get all mangled.

Alternatively, a thumbtack or a push pin could get the job done, but these are usually too thick to fit into most SIM tray holes. We successfully used one with an iPhone XS, but it couldn't fit on our Galaxy S9 or Google Pixel 3.

Using a safety pin or a needle

Safety pins and needles are an essential part of any sewing kit, and we've come across such kits in hotel rooms more than once. And it is not uncommon to find a safety pin on the tag of new clothing. Just be careful when using those. You don't want to accidentally poke yourself with the business end.

Using an earring

Fun fact: the idea for this whole post came when I saw a young lady eject her iPhone's SIM card tray with her earring. Again, not all earrings are thin enough to fit in a tray's hole, but it doesn't hurt to try. Just be gentle when applying pressure. You don't want to ruin a piece of jewelry, do you?

Using a staple

One of the less obvious substitutes for a SIM card ejector is found in your stapler. If you gently push the stapler's head, a single staple should come out halfway, without having its ends bent. Pull it out gently and use it to eject your SIM card tray.

Using a mechanical pencil

The thin piece of lead sticking out of a mechanical pencil, such as the pictured Pentel Twist-Erase, can indeed eject a SIM card tray. However, consider this method a last-resort option, as you don't want any lead chips or shavings to accidentally end up inside your phone. Most importantly, be careful when applying pressure to minimize the chance of the lead snapping.

Using a toothpick

Finally, using a thin toothpick also works with some SIM card trays, but again, don't use one unless you're desperate. Wood splits easily, and you don't want splinters stuck inside your SIM card tray.



1. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1284; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

I use thin ball-pen tip for my RazrMAXX_HD

2. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

i personally use a push pin if i don't have an ejector handy.

3. dickwyn

Posts: 621; Member since: May 07, 2012

i use a needle

4. kaliil10

Posts: 146; Member since: May 16, 2012

i did 1, 3 and 7

5. SonyXperiaNexus

Posts: 374; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

ive tried all but the last 2

6. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Just use your thick headed common sense, that's all you need.

7. gaby1451

Posts: 120; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

The back of a good pair of hoop earrings takes care of everything ;)

17. scaupus

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

you inspired me to use the post of a stud earring. Works perfectly.

8. jeff1434325

Posts: 97; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

i use my hair.

9. Piotrek007

Posts: 119; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

Eww o.0

10. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Eww?? Do me a favor and reach over to your head...will you?

11. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Simple, use anything which is pointed.

12. bugsbunny00

Posts: 2267; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

i use my ears!.

13. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

I use paper clip. :)

14. Akfred

Posts: 76; Member since: Nov 08, 2012

Paper clip or needle is what I use but sometimes the toothpick .

15. samnote

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

i use toothpick :)

16. jesse30135

Posts: 9; Member since: Sep 17, 2014

Help!! Due to a very frustrating two days w trying to activate my new HTC one m8 w Verizon I try using a wooden toothpick to eject SIM tray,well of course a piece broke off in that tiny little hole,how do I get out?? Or will Verizon swap me for new one?? It's paid for in full,no contract with no ins,thanks in advance for any help!!!

19. GreatArtiste54

Posts: 4; Member since: May 10, 2018

See my comment below:

18. GreatArtiste54

Posts: 4; Member since: May 10, 2018

yeah, jesse30135, I was going to make a comment that the toothpick was not too smart. You proved it when it was exactly what happened to you. Wood breaks, metal tends to stay solid under stress. It can bend 1st, or snap. But I put my money on the toothpick to go every time, especially the flat type. If you have to use one, pick the round type. I have them break when I use them for their actual purpose, you know, getting stuff out between your teeth?

23. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Exactly, never us a toothpick.

20. rouyal

Posts: 1598; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Used staple and paperclip before. Would not use a toothpick. I would think a toothpick is too big to fit far enough into the little hole.

21. guest

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Millennials be like who's MacGyver?

22. Valdomero

Posts: 706; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

I use my gf's earrings, I'm careful enough to not bend the earring and it just works fine.

24. KingSam

Posts: 1516; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

I saw my co worker use a pin which tore the waterproof rubber ring around the sim tray. Insert these items straight in and not at an angle. I personally used many of these. It’s always a good idea to tuck a sim ejector between your phone and the case.

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