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Many people continue to use old-fashioned cells phones who then decide to migrate to an iPhone, and if you fall into that category (or help someone who does), a common migration step to move from an old flip phone or simpler cell phone to an iPhone is importing contacts from that older one’s SIM card phone. This allows the user to easily transfer their old contacts stored on SIM card to the new iPhone. Aside from that initial migration, another scenario is where you want to import SIM contacts, if you have an old one phones SIM card lying around with contacts on it that you want to migrate to iPhone.
Any of these situations can be achieved by inserting the other SIM card into the iPhone and then using an iPhone feature to import contacts from that SIM card to iPhone. This is a fairly quick process, as we’ll demonstrate in this walkthrough.
Import and transfer contacts from a SIM card to an iPhone
The SIM card with the contacts must fit in the iPhone. Sometimes you can resize them yourself by cutting the SIM card, otherwise you may need to have the contents of the SIM card copied to a new compatible SIM card by your mobile network provider.
- Insert the old SIM card with the contacts into the iPhone (it may need to be changed or adjusted by the carrier to fit)
- Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone
- Now go to “Contacts” (in older iOS versions, this is referred to as “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”)
- Scroll down and choose ‘Import contacts from SIM card’
- Wait a moment for the contact details to be pulled from the old SIM card to iPhone
- Reinsert the normal SIM card into the iPhone, if applicable
The import process is fairly quick, but if the SIM card contains a lot of contacts, it may take a while for the iPhone to complete the process of getting all the contact information from the SIM card.
All contacts imported from SIM card will be added to all existing contacts already on iPhone, it won’t overwrite existing contacts (at least it shouldn’t and it didn’t in my experience).
You can do this anytime to transfer contacts from old SIM card to iPhone, so even if you have a dusty old Nokia flip phone somewhere in a drawer you might be able to get those contacts on iPhone trick, assuming the SIM card will fit anyway.
The size of the SIM card is important
The size of the SIM card is really the main obstacle for some iPhone users as different cell phones phones and iPhones have used different SIM card formats from time to time, including standard SIM card, micro SIM card, and nano SIM card. As mentioned earlier, you can have a cellular carrier copy the contents of an old SIM card to a newer one that is compatible with iPhone, or in some cases you can convert them yourself by cutting the SIM card to fit, as you can do to convert a standard SIM card to a micro SIM card, but keep in mind that the latest iPhones use a nano SIM card that doesn’t have the same conversion option, so you’ll have to rely on a mobile carrier to handle the task of copying the SIM data to a compatible SIM for you.
Is this relevant in the current era where so many people have smartphones to begin with? Certainly not for everyone, but believe it or not, there are still plenty of people using an older one mobile phone that stored contact information directly on the SIM card. This is in contrast to the iPhone, which stores contact information in iCloud and / or directly on the device itself, making transferring contacts from one iPhone to another a matter of setup up the new iPhone and retrieve the data from iCloud or a backupup, or manually by exporting iPhone contacts from iCloud, transferring them to an iPhone using a vcard file, or moving contacts from an Android to an iPhone with Google. The SIM card method of storing contacts is generally an older method that is much less relevant in the age of modern smartphones, and although there are some Android devices phones and Blackberry phones that kept contacts on the SIM card, this is usually a method of storing contacts that you would find in more simple ‘dumb’ phones whether it’s a flip phone or some other simpler mobile device.
How do I copy my iPhone contacts to a SIM card?
We just showed you how to copy contacts from sim card to iPhone, but what about the other way and copy iPhone contacts to sim card? Well, it turns out you can’t do that in iOS, and while older iPhone models may be able to dump contacts to a SIM card by using a low-level iOS software modification, it’s neither practical nor commonplace and it wouldn’t apply to every modern iPhone. Basically, you can’t copy iPhone contacts to a SIM card on a fuzzy new model iPhone, but what you can do is send contacts from an iPhone in VCF format via SMS or email, and VCF contact information can be opened and used on many different cell types phones even simpler older models.
Do you have any questions or concerns about importing contacts from a SIM card to an iPhone? Any experience or tips about how to make this a simpler process for those migrating from an older device to a new iPhone or a used iPhone? Let us know in the comments.
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