If you ever buy a new phone and aren’t sure where the SIM card eject hole is, it’s pretty easy to mistake it for the microphone hole. If you accidentally stuck your SIM tool (or paperclip) into the mic, don’t worry just yet—depending on which phone you have, you might not have damaged anything. But there are some things you should keep in mind.
A microphone on a smartphone isn’t what you would normally expect a traditional microphone to look like. Rather, it just looks like a small square module that’s mounted on the surface of the phone’s motherboard, as pictured below for the Galaxy S10.
On the other side of the board is the hole for that microphone module, which is usually too small for a SIM card eject tool to fit into in the first place:
Furthermore, the channel that carries sound from the hole on the phone’s frame into the microphone module on the board is often L-shaped, so even if you stick an eject tool into the mic hole, it won’t even get close to the microphone electronics anyway.
On iPhones, it is a straight shot from the hole to the hardware, but the microphone hole on the motherboard is small enough that the eject tool can’t squeeze its way into the actual module. You may push the module out of position, however, which can result in degraded audio quality. But the module itself won’t be damaged.
As for how the channel is put in place, newer phones usually have the channel drilled out within the phone’s aluminum frame. Older or budget devices use a plastic or rubber coupling between the phone’s frame and the mic module, as pictured below. It’s also possible to knock this out of place with a SIM eject tool, but again, it will only result in degraded audio quality and won’t actually damage the mic.
If you ended up poking the microphone hole with a SIM eject tool and are experiencing poorer audio quality, it’s likely you may have dislodged the mic module or the channel. That said, this problem can be fixed by, first, checking for debris if the audio sounds degraded—that’s the simplest and most non-invasive solution. You can also open up your device and look to see if the sound channel got dislodged. If so, carefully putting it back into place should be all it takes.