How to Retrieve Contacts from SIM Card on Android

by Emily Watson, Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Problem: "Two days ago, my Sony Xperia Z5 got shut down due to no charging. When I restarted it, all the contacts stored in SIM card were gone. I need to recover deleted contacts from Android SIM card without a backup".

Solution: Contacts and text messages can be saved to SIM card on an Android phone. When your contacts on SIM card are deleted accidentally, you can get the deleted contacts back by SIM card contacts recovery. Here is how SIM card contacts recovery works.

Recover Deleted Contacts from SIM Card on Android Devic

To retrieve deleted SIM card contacts, you need to stop creating new contacts in case that new contacts may overwrite the deleted ones, then install FonePaw Android Data Recovery (opens new window) on a computer to start SIM card phone number recovery.

This data recovery application can find out deleted contacts from both the SIM card and phone memory on Android. It can recover names, phone numbers, email addresses of contacts from Android. It supports SIM card contacts recovery on Samsung Galaxy, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Tab, Google Nexus, LG, HTC, Nokia, Sony, Motorola, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

It takes only 4 steps to get your contacts from the SIM card

STEP 1. Connect Android Phone to PC

Launch FonePaw Android Data Recovery on a computer and connect your Android phone to the computer with a USB cable.


To get your Android phone detected by the computer, ensure that you have enabled the USB debugging (opens new window) on your Android phone

Connect and Detect Your Android Phone on PC

STEP 2. Choose Contacts Recovery

When the Android phone is recognized by the computer, you are able to choose the categories of the lost data that you want to recover. To recover deleted contacts on the SIM card, select "Contacts" and click the "Next" button.

Select Android Contacts to Scan

STEP 3. Allow the Program to Scan Contacts on Android SIM Card

The program needs permission to scan deleted phone numbers and others from your Android SIM card. Follow the instruction to turn on Install via USB and choose Install to get the FonePaw app.

Install FonePaw App

After the app is installed, it will ask your permission to access contacts on your phone, tap "Allow" and click Scan Authorized Files. Then the program will be able to find lost contacts from the SIM card.

Scan Contacts After Authorizing

STEP 4. Preview and Retrieve Contacts from Android SIM Card

After scanning, select "Contacts", you can then view names, phone numbers, emails on the SIM card. If you can't find the deleted contacts in the results, click Deep Scan to search for the deleted contact items.

Preview Contacts in Standard Scan

After the deep scan is finished, select the phone number you want to restore, click "Recover" to get the lost contacts back.

Preview and Recover Contacts from Android SIM Card

All the retrieved contacts will be stored on your computer as VCF/HTML. You can import the VCF files to your Android (opens new window)SIM card via Gmail, Outlook, or FonePaw DoTrans (opens new window), a program that can directly add contacts on the computer to Android devices. Moreover, it can transfer contacts, photos, etc. from Android to Android, Android to iPhone and more.

Contacts on DoTrans

People Also Read: How to Recover Deleted Contacts from Android Phone Memory (opens new window)

Recover Contacts from Lost/Damaged SIM Card

Another way to restore SIM contacts is by checking Gmail or Google backup, especially when your SIM card is lost or damaged.

Restore Google backup contacts

If you have turned on Back up to Google Drive, the contacts on both SIM card and your phone will be backed up. To restore contacts from backup, you can:

  • Go to Settings > Google;
  • Tap Restore Contacts under Services;
  • Choose your Google account and device;
  • Tap Restore.

Restore Contacts from Google Account

Export contacts from Gmail

If you have synced phone number, email address or other contact information to Gmail, you can recover contacts from Gmail.

  • Go to Gmail.com;
  • Tap the Gmail icon and select Contacts;
  • Select the deleted SIM card contacts, click More > Export to export them as CSV files.

Export Contacts from Gmail

Export Contacts from SIM Card

GSM phones need SIM cards to tap into any mobile network. And many users might store their phone contacts on SIM card. However, the SIM card has limited storage space. The 32K SIM card can save about 250 contacts while 64K SIM card can hold data for up to 500 contacts, and the 128K SIM card contains information for up to 600 contacts or more.

So where should we save contacts: SIM card or phone memory? It is suggested that you should store your contacts on phone memory, in which way you can store more contacts and more information on each contact.

If you worry about losing contacts on SIM card again, it is a good idea to import the contacts from SIM card to internal memory, SD card, another phone, etc.

  • Open Contacts app on your phone;
  • Tap Menu > Import/Export > Export to internal storage.

Export Contacts from SIM Card

Back up SIM Card Contacts on Android

Whether you save contacts on phone internal memory or SD card, you should always back up important contacts on your phone. You have two options.

Back up contacts to PC so that you can restore the contacts to another phone when the SIM card is lost or the phone is broken.FonePaw Android Data Backup & Restore (opens new window) can help you create an encrypted or unencrypted backup of your contacts from SIM card and phone memory on a computer. It can also back up photos, videos, music, etc. on your phone.

Back up Android Contacts

Sync contacts to Gmail account so that you won't lose the contact information even if something goes wrong with your phone. Open Settings, make sure you have signed your Gmail account and the Contacts option is checked.

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