I'm changing to a new SIM card with my phone. I know Contacts are able to be stored on the SIM card, so I've copied them across (I used an import as described here).

Other than Contacts, is there any other data stored on the SIM that might be important to export or copy, and how would I do it?

  • Sims are not a recommended way of storing any data, they are too disposable... Use the cloud, Google is supported on all major platforms. If you keep everything backed up to Google, about the only manual thing you need to move is SMS messages.
    – acejavelin
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 11:05
  • SMS if saved on SIM card- some phones have that option, beyond that nothing
    – beeshyams
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 11:05
  • @acejavelin I agree, however some of my data found it's way onto the SIM anyway (4 Contacts, and 1 SMS)... I don't know how! Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 11:22
  • @beeshyams that's half the answer I wanted... the other half is how to move the SMS's off the SIM. If you can put both those things in an answer I'll accept it :-) Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 11:23
  • 1
    @acejavelin Cloud is not a recommended place to store sensitive data. Use the "Export to SD card" option of the contacts app instead – and then the "Import from SD card" option on the new device :) // I however agree on not using the SIM for that. Too limited storage, size-wise and details-wise: contacts with multiple phone numbers are not supported, neither are many of the additional details.
    – Izzy
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 12:09

3 Answers 3

  • Exactly What Information Does My SIM Card Contain About Me? mentions what is stored in your SIM card , with a caveat that some of the information is carrier specific

  • SMS, contacts are of common concern and since you have already transferred the contacts, what is left is SMS, which this app SMS Mangaer claims to do ( I haven't tried it). Another app Easy Backup & Restore , recently updated, also claims to transfer call history, if that is of importance to you


A SIM card typically has 8k to 256k of memory which stores MNC, ICCID, IMSI, Authentication Key (Ki), Local Area Identity (LAI), and Operator-Specific Emergency Number. The SIM also stores other carrier-specific data such as the SMSC (Short Message Service Center) number, Service Provider Name (SPN), Service Dialing Numbers (SDN), Advice-Of-Charge parameters and Value Added Service (VAS) applications.

Most SIM cards will orthogonally store a number of SMS messages and phone book contacts. The contacts are stored in simple "name and number" pairs: entries containing multiple phone numbers and additional phone numbers will usually not be stored on the SIM card. When a user tries to copy such entries to a SIM the handset's software will break them up into multiple entries, discarding any information that is not a phone number. The number of contacts and messages stored depends on the SIM; early models would store as few as five messages and 20 contacts while modern SIM cards can usually store over 250 contacts.

The SIM card has a special file where the SMS are stored, the file has several "slots" in it, each slot holds a message. The number of slots is finite, i.e. a SIM card can store 20 or 25 SMS (depending on the capacity, newer cards have more slots). When all the slots are filled, you have to delete an old SMS before you can save a new one.

[Paraphrased] Modern phones do not use this storage normally, but all SIM cards have this capability since it is part of the GSM standard.

SMS and Contact management are handled by applications on your device, in an Android this is typically your Dialer or Contacts application, and for your SMS messages this is handled by your Messaging application. This seems to be a thing of the past now though, as many apps do not include support for storing or retrieving user's SMS or contact information from the SIM card. SIM Manager is an example of one application that can help you manage the information on your SIM card.

Also note, your carrier may insert information such as a welcome message as an SMS message, or contacts such as their customer service, billing, or repair service numbers.

So the answer to your question is that both SMS and Contacts can be stored to the SIM card, but it's limitations likely mean the use of it for backup and transferring to another device in modern smartphones is extremely limited.


You should copy all your contacts to phone or you can use cloud google storage which supports all the major platforms of devices.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .