My android phone was stolen. The SIM-cards PIN must be entered on start and I also had a PIN set for unlocking it. My question now is if the SIM card is changed, will all the settings be reset or could the "new owner" now just read my emails etc...?


As addition to my below comment:

On another Android device it seems that the SIM-card PIN and the unlock PIN must be entered before the phone can be accessed so I guess I'm safe?

  • 1
    The setting differ from device to device and SIM only allows one to access call and internet it has no part in the email account credentials holding and all. So if you have new device then you can just put old account credentials and access the data.
    – Tirath
    Sep 18, 2013 at 4:52
  • And yes is the stolen device is not protected with some lock then the person can access all the data of your phone
    – Tirath
    Sep 18, 2013 at 4:54
  • Well it was locked as in a PIN needs to be entered to access the phone and when restarting it the SIM must be unlocked. However what happens if the SIM is changed? Then the PIN is known and the phone can be accessed?
    – beginner_
    Sep 18, 2013 at 5:06
  • 1
    Exactly. The SIM lock only holds as long as the SIM is inserted. If the thief removes the SIM, and there's no other lock defined (pattern lock, device password/PIN, face unlock), he's free to access everything then which is not otherwise protected.
    – Izzy
    Sep 18, 2013 at 6:34

1 Answer 1


Accounts and data are not removed if you switch the SIM.

For obvious reasons:
Travelling abroad when you don't want to roam, or getting a new phone/data plan from a different carrier, etc. You could guess how mad people would get if their device got wiped by a SIM switch.

You're not safe, unless you also have set up a screen lock (or full device encryption).

All common smartphones act similar here (Windows Phone/iOS/Android):

  • If the SIM is locked with a pin, it must be re-unlocked each boot if it's present
  • If the device has a screen lock, it must be unlocked each boot and if you switch on the screen

I.e, a SIM lock is only bound to your specific SIM and it only prevents misuse of your number and phone/data plan, not the device and its data stored within. As soon as the SIM is replaced or removed, one doesn't need the SIM-PIN to to access the phone. Only a screen lock PIN (or password, unlock gesture or full device encryption) will do.

  • 1
    I did set a PIN for screen-unlock. But yeah this answers my question. So it is very, very important to set a screen unlock PIN (or gesture,...). For my replacement phone I now configured it for android device manager.
    – beginner_
    Sep 18, 2013 at 6:45

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