How to Retrieve Contacts When a Cell Phone Won't Turn On

By Michael Jones

Retrieve your contacts
i Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Even if your phone's off, you can still retrieve contacts that are saved on your subscriber identity module, or SIM card. Every phone has a SIM card, which stores the subscriber key that identifies the mobile user. Most phones automatically save contacts to the SIM card. If you don't have them saved on your SIM card, you're out of luck. Several third-party tools can restore your contacts, but if you have a SIM card and access to an extra cell phone, you can get your contacts in a few steps.

Step 1

Charge up an old cell phone
i Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Charge up an old cell phone or borrow a friend or family member's cell phone to retrieve your contacts from the dead phone's SIM card. This will not harm a borrowed phone.

Step 2

Remove the battery
i Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Take off the dead phone's back cover and remove the battery. Underneath the battery you will see a tiny card either slipped or clipped into the back of the phone.

Step 3

Remove the SIM card from your phone
i Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Slide the card out of its place by pushing down on the side that is opposite the direction you are sliding the card and gently pull. If the card is clipped in, unclip the mechanism and then slide the card out of place.

Step 4

Remove the SIM card from the borrowed phone
i Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Take the SIM card out of the borrowed phone the same way you took it out of yours. All phones use the same removal process for SIM cards.

Step 5

Make sure the SIM card is secure
i Jupiterimages/ Images

Slide or place your SIM card into the extra phone. The electronic chip embedded into the card should be facing down and lined up with the sensors on the phone. If the phone has a clip to hold the card, close the clip until you hear a click.

Step 6

Put the back cover back on
i Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Make sure the SIM card is secure, replace the battery and put on the back cover.

Step 7

Turn on the phone and go to the contacts list
i Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Turn on the phone and go to the contacts list. Your contacts will be displayed on the cell phone.

Step 8

Write down your contacts for saftey
i Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Write down whatever contacts you need and remove your SIM card for safekeeping. When you buy a new phone, you will be able to use this card to download all your contacts to the new phone.

Step 9

Return the borrowed phone's SIM card to its place
i Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Return the borrowed phone's SIM card to its place, replace the battery and put the cover back on.