Are contacts stored on my SIM card?

Managing the contacts on your mobile phone is relatively straightforward, though many people get confused around where exactly the contacts are saved on your phone.

It’s understandable why this is confusing – especially when you consider Google Contacts, which are part of your Google account. However when it comes to storing contacts nowadays on newer phones, they’re actually not typically stored on your SIM card.

Are contacts stored on your SIM?

In the past, contacts were saved in SIM cards. However, nowadays they are now more likely to be saved in smartphones thanks to the large storage on modern smartphones.

This is the same as most of your phone data. Your photos, messages and other data will all be saved either on the hard storage of your phone, or within the Cloud storage space you’ve got on your phone.

So although your contacts aren’t stored on a SIM card nowadays for the most part, they still can be in some circumstances.

Export, backup or restore contacts – Android

Although there are no contacts stored on iPhone devices anymore, they can be stored on a SIM card when you’re using Android phone. You can export contacts from your phones memory and then store contacts on your SIM card.

They can then be imported directly onto the phone (you can actually import SIM contacts to iPhones too).

So, it’s possible to backup contacts using a SIM card. You can then restore contacts from lost or replaced phones by importing them onto your new phone.

An Android, you can do this by;

  1. First, click into the Settings of your phone.
  2. Then, head into the Contacts.
  3. Finally, select the Import SIM contacts option on your device.

Restore times vary depending on the phone and Android version. The backups of your SIM card contacts will then be transferred onto the phone memory of your device.


It’s commonly thought that your contacts are stored in the mobile phone’s SIM card, so when you remove your SIM, you’ll no longer have access to them.

Though they can be, they are typically not nowadays, as most phones store the contacts in your phone’s memory – not the SIM card of your device.

It’s been at least a decade since it was common for users to store their contacts on a SIM card. You may save your contacts on a SIM card if you want to transfer them to another device, as this is another easy way to move contacts for Android.

For iPhones, contacts are never saved to the SIM card, only the device itself.

Photo of author

Connect: Insta



Edward brings years of experience in a variety of different fields including online marketing & No-code app development, and he's been investing in stocks and cryptocurrency since 2016. Outside of work you'll usually find him watching movies at the local cinema or playing games in the Apple Arcade.

Read more from Edward

Apps UK
International House
12 Constance Street
London, E16 2DQ