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How to copy contacts from a phone to a SIM card on Android

Submitted on 08/28/2019

You can transfer contacts from your phone to a SIM card in several ways. Usually you can do it via built-in smartphone tools, i.e. there is no need to install additional software. The methods of moving contacts to your SIM card may vary depending on the version of Android installed on your phone.

The contents:

  1. Why would I copy contacts to a SIM card
  2. Copying contacts on:
    • Android 9
    • Android 8 and below
    • Android 4
  3. Copying contacts from a SIM card to a phone
  4. Apps for copying contacts

Why would I copy contacts to a SIM card?

Contacts are transferred to a SIM card in order to prevent the occurrence of the issues with the moving of phone numbers from Android address book after changing a mobile phone.

How to copy contacts to a SIM card on Android 9

The transfer of contacts on Android 9 is performed in the following way:

  1. Access the address book through a special icon from the main screen.
  2. Go to the settings menu simply by clicking on the icon with three dots.
  3. In the opened menu select "Manage contacts" among several items.
  4. A window with the list of available features (to merge, import/export, sync or change default storage location) will open. Click on the "Import/export" option which is designed for moving contacts.
  5. In order to move contacts from your phone to a SIM card select "Export".
  6. Next, choose the desired SIM card as a data storage place and mark the contacts you want to save. 
  7. If you want to move all the contacts from your address book, just tap "Copy all".
  8. Complete the procedure by choosing "Yes" from the opened dialog box.

Note that only phone numbers and contact names will be transferred. It's impossible to move photos, email addresses and other contact information due to the limitations of SIM cards.

Copying contacts on Android 8, 7, 6, 5 and below

In older versions of Android the method of copying contacts on a SIM card is different from the above mentioned one. In order to get access from a new phone to the data on phone numbers stored on your SIM card, you have to:

  1. Go to the address book via the special "Contacts" icon located on the home screen.
  2. In the upper right corner tap "Options" (in some operating systems "Options" is shown as a three dots icon).
  3. From the opened menu select "Settings".
  4. Select contacts and choose "Import/export contacts" in the opened menu.
  5. Tap the "Export" button. Android will prompt you to choose the place where you want to transfer contacts. Use the "Copy contacts from the phone to a SIM card" option.
  6. Confirm your intention to copy contacts by tapping "Yes" in the opened window.
  7. Mark the contacts you want to transfer. Further actions will be performed automatically.

Copying contacts to a SIM card on Android 4

In order to transfer contacts from your phone to Samsung SIM card (or of any other brand) on Android 4 operating system, you have to:

  1. Go to the Contacts through a special icon located on the home screen or in the menu.
  2. Go to the Settings. In order to do this, tap "Menu", "Options" or "..." depending on your phone model.
  3. In the opened window tap "Export/import contacts".
  4. Then choose "Export to a SIM card".
  5. Select the contacts you want to save. You can click the "Select all" option, if you want to copy all your contacts from the address book.
  6. Carefully read and agree to the conditions under which the data is copied from your phone to a SIM card.

As with other operating systems, only names and phone numbers will be moved.

How to copy contacts from a SIM card to a phone

Once your contacts have been imported/exported, you can insert the SIM card in another phone and all phone numbers will be immediately available.

If you want to save new contacts data in the memory of your phone, you have to transfer data from the SIM card to your smartphone. In order to do this:

  1. Go to the Contacts through the icon on the home screen.
  2. In the menu (opened after you tap the "Menu", "Options" or "..." depending on the OS version installed on your smartphone) select "Settings". In the newer versions of Android operating system you have to select "Contact management".
  3. Select "Export/import contacts", then "Import".
  4. Specify where to copy the information from (in our case from a SIM card).
  5. Mark contacts and complete the process.

After these actions are performed, your contacts will be stored in the phone memory. If you change your SIM card, these phone numbers will still be available for viewing.

The best apps for copying contacts

You can transfer contacts to a SIM card not only with the help of built-in phone tools, but also via third-party software. There are also programs allowing to create backup copies of contacts. The advantage of backup over ordinary copying is that with the former it's often possible to save not only names and phone numbers, but also some additional information.

Titanium Backup. The app creates a full backup of your address book and, as a result, no additional data on contacts is lost. Via the app your contacts can be saved to a memory card or uploaded to a cloud for easy access from any mobile device. The disadvantages of the app: it's distributed for a fee and requires the administrator rights.

Dropbox. The app allows to sync contact information and save it to a cloud. In order to avoid losing valuable information after changing a phone or firmware, just go to the software settings and tap "Save contacts".

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