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SIM Swap: a mini guide (incl eSim)

by Anonymous on ‎16-07-2017 22:35 - last edited on ‎08-10-2020 12:22 by Community Manager (121,140 Views)

This is just a quick help guide for people who want advice on doing a SIM swap.


Do I Need To Swap my SIM?

If it's your first contract with O2 then you will be provided with a new SIM card and number with your shiny new phone. A SIM card is sent with 3 size options so you can pick the correct size to fit your device:

  1. Standard size SIM
  2. Micro SIM
  3. Nano SIM (common in most new phones)

You just need to break out what size you require. It is detailed on the card what area you need to break out for what size. A recommendation is to do it carefully as breaking out the Nano when a Mirco SIM is needed will require a whole new SIM to be sent.

You'll need to perform a SIM swap most times if you're upgrading to a new tariff. This is to have an updated network such as 4G available when it's rolled out in your area. You can set up your new SIM card to have 4G at www.o2.co.uk/4G/setup

Note that there is no number attached to a replacement Pay Monthly SIM card, it is blank.

Note also that if you're changing phones/upgrading, sometimes there is no need to do a SIM swap if your old SIM fits the new phone.


How Do You Do The SIM Swap?


You have the following options:


By text:

Text the word SWAP to 20220 from your O2 phone. You will get step by step instructions via text message.


Note that if you're texting 'Swap' to 20220 to activate the SIM this needs to be sent from the old SIM only, the new SIM won’t be active to enable this.


Via My O2:

SIM swaps can now also be actioned via your My O2 app. You’ll find an option of ‘Swap your SIM’ under ‘Manage your account’. You’ll need to re-enter your My O2 username and password, you’ll then be sent a verification code via text to your phone. Once this has been confirmed you can enter your new SIM info and this will be swapped within 24hrs.


At an O2 store:

You can visit your local O2 shop & they will do it for you. 

Please note: You'll need to bring ID to complete the process in-store.

You will know when is done because your old SIM will not work but your new one will be up and running. If you do it in store you are more likely to be up and running with your new SIM card before you even leave the shop. The process could take up to 24 hours to complete. Keep turning your phone on and off until the new SIM card is active.


When you do the SIM swap only your tariff or credit will transfer along with your phone number. Nothing that is stored on your SIM will transfer across.


If you don’t have an active SIM to do either of the above, you’ll need to call customer services to activate it. Please be aware they can only activate SIMs that have been ordered off your account for security reasons.



If you Change your phone


If the SIM card isn't the right size then you can either do a SIM swap or pop into your local O2 store and get an adapter to put your current SIM in.


As mentioned above, if you're changing to another phone/upgrading, there might not always be a need to do a SIM swap if your old SIM fits the new phone.



If you have a faulty SIM


If your old SIM does not work and you can't access the text to start the swap then you need to contact customer service.


And what about eSim?


Can I just scan the QR code in the eSIM pack from a new phone or do I need a new QR code?

To activate the eSIM you'd scan the QR code from the eSIM pack from the existing phone number that you want to activate it against.


How do I get a new eSIM pack?

You can get an eSIM pack from an O2 store or by contacting customer services.


Do I need a physical eSIM pack or can it be done electronically?

Yes, you need a physical eSIM pack.


Do I need a new eSIM to enable 5g?

No, 5G is a separate provisioning on the account. You can request a 4G or 5G eSIM pack



on ‎17-07-2017 07:06

Good guide @Anonymous It needs to go into the Knowledge base and Index of help guides @Martin-O2

by Anonymous
on ‎17-07-2017 07:43

Thanks very much @Cleoriff

by Community Manager
on ‎17-07-2017 09:33

Awesome guide @Anonymous! 


I agree @Cleoriff I'll get the index updated and the guide moved to the Knowledge Base. 

by Anonymous
on ‎17-07-2017 14:59

Thanks @Martin-O2

on ‎24-07-2017 12:24

Excellent, thanks for working on this and posting it @Anonymous! 


on ‎11-11-2018 18:38

Short, sweet and to-the-point. Good job!thumbsup

on ‎11-01-2019 14:44
Just been into store to buy upgrade my payg phone, need a smaller sim which they would not give me without photo id. I have had the same number for about 20 yrs. Tried to sell me phone that I could not use until I took my passport in! Won't be going back..
on ‎11-01-2019 14:49

@Syl1656 just order new SIM online then follow the SIM swap process when it arrives. 


on ‎11-01-2019 15:30
What's wrong with using all the security details used with online account? Other companies have no problem changing a sim without..
on ‎11-01-2019 19:05

I would rather a network with very tight security for this so no one else could get a SIM with my number on it.

on ‎01-04-2020 18:17

I've got a new mobile phone but can't use it because I need a nano sim (my current O2 micro sim won't convert)

I want to stay on my current O2 PAYG tariff and preferably keep my number, although this is not essential.

Understandably due to COVID-19 all O2 stores are shut and phone & online help has been reduced to almost zero mask

Is there anyway i can get this sorted now or will i have to wait until life returns to normal?

on ‎01-04-2020 18:32


Just keep trying to call 202

on ‎02-04-2020 23:49

I phoned the 02 number and tried different options but they can't help anyone at the moment because of Coronavirus.  


on ‎02-04-2020 23:54

Everything is taking longer due to the lockdown. Call centres and social distancing means limited staff to handle all the queries. Patience needed I'm afraid.

on ‎03-04-2020 00:01
I've lost my sim card only and I want to block it and order a new replacement sim card pay as you go. Can't call as I've got no credit and o2 app isn't working and online is no help either. ?
on ‎03-04-2020 00:08


All ways to report here Guide: Lost or Stolen O2 Device? - How to Report it 

You will need to borrow a phone to call.

on ‎03-04-2020 09:45
My o2 sim only deal just ran out. I have found the package I would like which will mean that I receive a new sim. Will this mean that I have a new number? (Which I don’t want).
If I am given a new number, is there a way for me to change back to my existing number?
on ‎03-04-2020 09:47


You'll need to call O2 to migrate your number to the new account or else you will be paying for two.

on ‎03-04-2020 13:56
Help my new sim states it should be working but my new phone states sim not recognised network????
on ‎07-04-2020 10:54

My son gave me an i4 phone and now wants to give me an i8 phone but the SIM cards are not the same size.  The apple shop says I should contact my O2 .... and they will send me a NANO SIM.  I need to keep everything I have on the mini SIM  These "house arrest" days I cannot go into a shop and so need to DIY.  But ..I cannot find a way of contacting O2 so I have fallen at the first hurdle!   Can anyone help please?

on ‎21-04-2020 18:23

 Got old phone and with o2 payg + balance £40+, obtained new iphone5. How can I get new sim for phone and retain my balance and number. Do not mind if I have contract sim. Thanks for any help

on ‎21-04-2020 18:30


Put your old sim in the new phone.

on ‎21-04-2020 19:17

Thanks but old sim about size of bank card (lol) and I don’t think can be reduced in size. Using Nokia phone

on ‎21-04-2020 19:48

Ah, I see Smiley Happy

Unfortunate;y, you'll need to call O2 then Guide: Coronavirus Community Help and Support 

on ‎21-04-2020 19:58

Thanks again, maybe will have to wait until they deal with more important issues and it seems it may take a while to set up once I have the sim?

on ‎21-04-2020 20:03

Now isn't the best time for sure......

on ‎24-04-2020 13:55

Tried getting my Mum a Nano SIM after she had new phone. She doesn't use Facebook or Twitter. Recorded message basically says "dealing with essential customers only".


I contacted O2 via Twitter asking for a blank SIM to be sent to her home address, but apparently that is open to fraud. Don't know how when the SIM is being sent to the address attached to the number I provided. It's not like I'm asking for account details.


Anyway, I've got hold of a new O2 SIM that was not used by a friend. Is it easy for her to swap her number to this SIM? I know about texting SWAP and following instructions, but what do the instructions ask for?

on ‎24-04-2020 14:29

You text swap from the old sim to start with.

It then asks for the new SIM number (I think).

@MI5 can you remember the details it wants?

on ‎24-04-2020 14:34

Yes @gmarkj 

on ‎24-04-2020 14:37

Cheers @jonsie .

Everytime I've swapped I had to call as moving from one contract to another so wasn't 100%.

on ‎24-04-2020 14:38

@gmarkj @Ray_B 

The process guides you through but you'll need the serial number off the new SIM preceded by 89441

on ‎24-04-2020 14:58

Thanks very much folks.


All being well she'll be video chatting with grandkids by Tuesday slight smile

on ‎24-04-2020 14:59

Fingers crossed @Ray_B .

Any more issues please come back and we'll help where we can.

on ‎14-05-2020 18:30

I upgraded my iPhone 8 to an iPhone 11 Pro on Refresh this week. Moved the SIM from the old phone to the new phone and I cannot make or receive calls on the new phone. Texting works fine. Tried calling O2 but due to the current situation, it just refers me back to here which isn't helping much! On myO2 it still thinks the number is attached to an iPhone 8. Any ideas how I fix this? Thanks.

on ‎14-05-2020 18:30

There is a network issue
We are all customers so we can't give a timescale, sorry
From O2
We’re aware some customers experienced issues with voice calls this morning and our technical teams have now restored service. If you're still experiencing issues making and receiving calls, try switching your device off and on again which will help your service return to normal. We apologise for any inconvenience caused

on ‎14-05-2020 18:41

Maybe just a coincidence that I did this at the same time as a network fault? I've tried switching off and on but no joy. Interestingly the other O2 phones in my household are working fine. I'll try again later.

on ‎22-05-2020 21:41

I upgraded my pay monthly tariff earlier this week, and everything has been cleared and changed (the app shows the new tariff up and running as does the o2 site).


A new sim card has now arrived by DPD.  Do I have to swap the sim cards over now, or will everything be okay as it is?

on ‎22-05-2020 21:47


Use your old sim if it fits the phone. No need to sim swap.

‎23-05-2020 08:41 - edited ‎23-05-2020 08:42
  1. Thanks Cleoriff,  I wasnt sure what to do as normally I would've gone to an o2 store to do the upgrade, but these aren't exactly normal times.
on ‎23-05-2020 08:52

Far from normal @Anno78 

Stay safe x

on ‎13-06-2020 12:25
I think l need todo the SIM SWAP. Please can someone confirm.
Upgraded Mobile phone, OLD mobile has new tariff on the SIM. NEW mobile takes the same NanoSim Card. Can l just transfer SIM card to New Mobile?
If so can anyone provide a link how to transfer details onto new mobile? Ive backuped all my stuff onto PC.

Many thanks
on ‎13-06-2020 12:30


Just use old SIM.

on ‎05-07-2020 20:38

I have not been able to activate my sim despite 3 new ones being sent out.  Logging on doesnt work because they need to send me a code to a sim which isn't active and annot recieve texts.  I don't have my old sim.  I can't get through on phone.  Have now been charged for months despite having no service (have been using pay as you go and relying on work phone). So frustrated. I will never use them again but until my contract expires can anyone tell me how to swap or activate my sim with this company?

on ‎05-07-2020 21:49


All numbers to try here Guide: Coronavirus Community Help and Support 

The best number to get through seems to be
0800 977 7337

on ‎21-07-2020 18:14


Changes look good, though maybe a mention could be made of using your old sim if it fits the phone? This is something we advise often.

on ‎22-07-2020 09:29

Ah yes I've seen it talked about often indeed @Cleoriff , I'll put a note of that too in the guide, thanks. Smiley Happy

on ‎22-07-2020 09:43

Thanks @Marjo  wink

on ‎21-12-2020 22:19
I can’t because I don’t have an o2 account apparently I don’t have an old o2 sim to text 20220
on ‎21-12-2020 22:21

Not relevant to you @Razzadazza1