Swapping SIM cards between two iPhones...
August 20, 2019 2:03 PM   Subscribe

I have an iPhone 5s, and my wife has the iPhone 6s+. We want to switch phones, so that I can use the 6s+ but with my phone number, contacts, etc. from my 5s, and she will use my 5s but with her phone number, etc. from her 6s+. I think I can just swap the SIM cards and restart the phones with our Apple IDs, but I'm not sure it's that simple...

We are both on Verizon, on my account. I would like to use her phone, but with my phone number, my contacts, my messages, my apps, and so on. Here's my projected workflow:

1. Turn off both phones.
2. Swap the SIM cards using a paper clip.
3. Turn on both phones, logging out from the old Apple ID and logging in with the new Apple IDs.

Ideally, this would leave me with all my "stuff" but on her hardware, and vice versa for her. Is it really this easy, or am I missing something?

(And yes, my wife is downgrading her phone, but she is the one who came up with the idea, along with some special conditions to sweeten the deal for her!) Thanks in advance...
posted by fuzzy.little.sock to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think you'll want to back up your phone and restore it on her phone, and vice versa.
posted by aubilenon at 2:05 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]

My partner and I swapped phones recently. We did what aubilenon describes—reset each phone and then reloaded each other’s backups onto them. I believe there was an additional step where I went into our Verizon account online and re-assigned our phone numbers to the new devices. It was trivial.
posted by Orlop at 2:11 PM on August 20

Be sure to do the backups with password protection, or the backups will be missing stuff like health data.

Here's how I'd probably do it:

- Fully back up both phones with iTunes (using password protection). Don't forget the photos!
- Factory reset one phone
- Use Quick Start to transfer settings from the other phone. This is relatively foolproof and transfers EVERYTHING, including apps.
- Use iTunes to restore the other backup onto the other phone. This does NOT transfer apps last I checked, you'll have to redownload them. So probably do this on the phone with fewer apps.
posted by neckro23 at 2:21 PM on August 20

If you have everything backed up to iCloud (which typically requires buying more space), your plan will work. If not you should do the iTunes route (no reason not to have an encrypted backup there, just to be safe). The only real caveat is if you have old apps that aren't available anymore, those can't be re-downloaded. I just did a three-way brain transplant and the only big irritation besides the time it takes to restore everything is setting up the secure enclave stuff like fingerprints and re-logging into the few apps that require two-factor or for some other reason haven't set themselves to save passwords. I did it all in about 3 hours start to finish.
posted by wnissen at 3:46 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]

Make sure that the SIM cards work first - the iPhone 5s era phones area a bit more restricted in terms of what cellular technologies they use (CDMA, GSM, etc). I would do a test and just swap the SIM cards now to make sure that functionally the phones work with each other’s plans.
posted by many more sunsets at 1:45 AM on August 21

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