How To Swap Your 3G Data Plan from Your Original iPad to Your iPad 2

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If you’ve got yourself a new 3G model of the iPad 2 this weekend and haven’t yet got rid of of your original 3G iPad, you can pull the Micro SIM card right out of you first gen iPad and slot it into your new iPad 2, to continue with whatever your current data plan is.

The Micro SIM is the little card that sits in a slot you may never have noticed on your 3G iPad and is used by AT&T to configure cellular data services on the device.

Hit the break for some quick tips on how to swap over your 3G data plan and Micro SIM from the V1 iPad to the iPad 2 …

— I swapped my Micro SIM card first and called AT&T afterwards so that they could do their side of things, but it’s probably best practice to do this the other way around – as in, call AT&T first, then do the swapping over.

— So, start with a call to AT&T, use their 800-331-0500 toll-free number or another that you prefer. Choose whichever options you need to in their automated system to get to a customer service rep. Then ask for their iPad support team – explain that you want to transfer your data plan from old to new iPad. Be ready to provide them with a couple pieces of information relating to cellular data from the iPad Settings app. Look for them under Settings > General > About. The two things that AT&T will want to know are:

  • Your original iPad’s Cellular Data Number: This will look like a standard US phone number with a 1 in front of it, then a 10-digit number including area code. Make a note of this.
  • Your Original iPad’s IMEI Number: This is a number that’s unique to every iPad and one that is directly associated with your AT&T data plan.

When you swap the SIM from old to new iPad the IMEI for your old iPad will cease to be associated with your data plan, and the IMEI of your new iPad will become associated with your data plan. This is what AT&T will do remotely for you when you call into them. They’ll ask you to power off one or both of your iPads briefly while they configure its sim card.

— Once you’re done with AT&T you can go ahead and swap the Micro SIM from your original iPad to the iPad 2.

— The Micro SIM slot on the original iPad is located about 2/3 of the way down the left side of the iPad. You access it via the very small hole you’ll see at that spot. Stick the end of a paperclip into this hole to get the SIM tray to pop out.

— Remove the Micro SIM card from the tray, and replace the tray in its slot.

— The Micro SIM slot on the iPad 2 is very near the top of the left side of it, though you may need to look at the back of the device to spot it. Use a paper clip again to get the SIM tray to pop out. Then insert the Micro SIM card into the tray by matching the shape of the card to the space in the tray, and insert it back into the slot.

That should do it.

Now you should be able to turn WiFi off and Cellular data on, on your new iPad 2 – and confirm that you see bars and a 3G symbol at the left of the iPad’s status bar, and also that you are able to browse the web with WiFi off and Cellular Data turned on. You should also make a quick trip to Settings > General > About again, and confirm that your Cellular Data number on the iPad 2 is the same one you noted on the original iPad.

One of the main reasons for speaking to AT&T as part of this process is that they do not permit you to have a data plan active on more than one iPad at once – so you want them to do the backend work to disassociate the IMEI on your old iPad with your data plan.


Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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