Can You Take a SIM Card Out of One Phone & Put it Into Another?

By Ethan Pendleton

You can place your SIM card into a new phone to transfer your contacts.
i George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

When it comes time to upgrade to a new cellphone, it can be a pain to write down all of your important contact information. Thanks to SIM card technology, all you need to do is remove the SIM card and place it inside your new cellphone. Your phone book will transfer nearly instantly, and you won't have to spend your time retyping names and numbers into a new phone.

SIM Cards

A Subscriber Identity Module -card is a small piece of plastic that features an embedded microchip. Even though the storage medium is small, it offers up to 128KB of available memory. According to AT&T, the SIM card also serves as a kind of key. Without a SIM card installed in your Global System for Mobile Communicatio device, your phone will only be able to make 911 emergency calls.

Installing And Uninstalling SIM Cards

Although each cellphone is a little bit different, most SIM card ports are located in the same place as the phone's battery. To install a SIM card, you simply place it chip-side-down into its port. To remove it, slide it back out. Taking out a SIM card or putting it into a phone shouldn't take a lot of effort; you could probably move it with only a couple fingers. Some cellphone models require you to use a small SIM card removal tool to extract the card or a bent paper clip to pull out the tray in which it's stored. When in doubt, you should have a professional remove and install your SIM card to prevent damage to the card or phone.

Prepaid SIM Cards

SIM cards are also used by prepaid cell phone carriers, allowing a user to purchase a predetermined number of cellphone minutes. Kent Herman, an associate editor for CNET, points out that frequent travelers can benefit a great deal from this facet of SIM card capability. Instead of being locked into an out-of-state area code and risking increased cost, a prepaid SIM card will allow you to have a local number wherever you are.

Data Security

You can protect your data from prying eyes by taking advantage of your SIM card's PIN lock capability. If you make use of this feature, your phone book and contacts will be accessible only by people who know the PIN number.

SIM Card Readers

Many cellphone stores have a piece of equipment called a SIM card reader. This machine allows technicians to read and write SIM card information without having the card in a cell phone. For example, if a worker at a cellphone store needs to, he can simply copy a customer's phone book from one SIM card to another.