How to Recover Information From a SIM Card

By Michelle Carvo

Updated October 02, 2017

Recover data from your SIM card.
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SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards are found in every mobile phone and can contain a lot of information including your phone’s contacts and text messages. Recovering this information from a SIM card requires the use of hardware and a software program or a SIM card reader app on your Android device as we’ll discuss here. Note that most smartphones today do not store contacts and texts on the SIM card by default, so you will only be able to recover these contacts and texts from your SIM card if you set these up to store on your SIM.

Hardware Needed

There’s only one piece of hardware you typically need to recover information from a SIM card: a USB SIM card reader. There are many different SIM card readers on the market so this choice may be a little overwhelming. Look for a USB SIM card reader that supports SIM cards from your wireless carrier, can accommodate Full, Mini, Micro, and Nano SIM cards, and is compatible with your computer’s operating system. You can purchase a SIM card reader from online tech retailers and also local electronic stores.

SIM Card Recovery Options

How you recover your SIM card’s information all depends on the SIM card software you select for this purpose. As with SIM card readers, there are many SIM card recovery software programs on the market. Some are free while some are paid programs. Popular choices on the market include EaseUS Android data recovery software, Wondershare Dr. Fone for Android, SIM Recovery Pro and SIM Card Data Restoration Tool. Insert your SIM card into your SIM card reader, plug the reader into your computer’s USB port and launch your recovery software to begin recovering information from your SIM card.

Dealing With Locked SIM Cards

SIM cards are typically locked to protect the data on them in case the phone is stolen. If you are unable to recover information from a SIM card using the above method it may be because your SIM card is locked. First, put your SIM card back in your phone and turn the phone back on. Then you can unlock your SIM card by requesting a PIN Unlock Key (PUK) from your wireless carrier and then entering this on your phone’s screen when the phone asks for a code. Take the SIM card back out and put it back into your SIM card reader. You should now be able to recover information from the card.

Other Options

If you are on an Android device you may be able to recover information from a SIM card by downloading an Android app. Android apps such as SIM Card Recover & Manager, SIM Card, and SIM Card Information all claim to recover SIM card information from the SIM card in your phone.

Irrecoverable Data

Even after utilizing a SIM card reader and software you still may not be able to recover information. This is usually because the SIM card itself has become physically damaged either from water or something else. In this case, you will not be able to get any usable data from the card.

Other Options for Recovering Contacts

If your contacts were not stored on the SIM card or if you cannot recover this data from the SIM card then you still have options for getting your contacts back on your phone.

Google stores contacts from Gmail and Calendar so if you use a Gmail account you can find your saved contacts there. These contacts can then be synced back to your phone. This works on Android and iPhone devices.

iCloud also stores contacts from an iPhone and this can be accessed on or by logging into your iCloud account on your iOS device. This only works on iPhones.

You can also use Facebook to sync contacts to your phone again. Note that the synced contacts are limited to only those who are on your Facebook friends list and have added their phone numbers/other contact information to Facebook.