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What is a SIM Backup?

By S. Gonzales
Updated May 16, 2024
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SIM backup is a system that allows a user to save, store and retrieve the contents of his SIM card from a safe, third-party location. The contents of the SIM card will remain at the location until they are retrieved by the user. SIM backup is especially helpful for those users who wish to avoid losing their SIM card contents if they happen to misplace or damage their phones.

When users think of SIM card content, contact names and phone numbers are usually the first things that come to mind. A SIM backup can help save and store more information than names and numbers. Any compatible content, like texts, can be backed up. It should be noted that any content that is intended to be backed up needs to be saved to the physical SIM card. Phone numbers that are simply stored on a phone may not be able to be retrieved and saved.

Many companies offer SIM backup service. However, SIM backup is considered an extra option and will have fees attached to it. Companies may charge per backup or they can charge an annual fee, such as with a regular subscription. SIM backups can be performed within minutes. Users will have to provide the physical SIM card to the service company so that the company can access the data on it. While the SIM backup is being performed, the user will not be able to receive or make calls.

Once a user finds an occasion that requires access to the saved data, he may revisit the company and ask for access. However, some companies may also give secure, online access to customers. Users who want access to their data may simply log on to a website using a user name and password and retrieve their information any time they wish. Users may also be given the ability to manually update accounts by adding contacts and phone numbers on the website.

If a SIM card is lost, damaged or stolen, a user may have to buy a replacement. In these cases, restoration of content and contacts can be done at the company's site. However, technology makes it possible for the average user to restore data to his phone from the SIM backup website. Authentication may be necessary, but once identity has been established, contacts can be transferred to the new phone within minutes.

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Discussion Comments

By MrMoody — On Feb 25, 2012

@allenJo - Security is one reason that I would be leery of using online SIM backup services. I’ve heard that hackers can break into your system and filter SIM card information.

There have been notable cases of them doing this with information stored on the phones of well known celebrities. I would either use an offline SIM backup service (like a dedicated service) or use a SIM backup device.

By allenJo — On Feb 25, 2012

@everetra - If you work in sales, your phone is your lifeline. The thousands of contacts stored in your phone represent the lifeblood of your business. That’s why I think the SIM backup storage is such a needful service, much preferable in my opinion to a USB SIM card backup.

A backup will save you time and money. Of course some people ask why you need a SIM backup, when there are already computer backup services. Couldn’t you just export your contacts to a spreadsheet, and then use an online computer backup service to backup that information?

Yes, you could, but then you need to be dependent on your computer. With SIM backup services you offer the SIM card to the company and then forget about it. I also think that approach provides an added layer of security.

By everetra — On Feb 24, 2012

@NathanG - That might be okay for personal use. But if you’re a corporation, I think a dedicated SIM backup service is a better solution than a SIM reader.

I say that because some backup services enable you to keep a history of everything that’s been stored – including deleted text messages. If a company gives employees a company phone, they want to know everything that’s on it.

They need this for liability purposes. If that employee says or texts something that could put the company at risk then they need to know. A secure storage location enables the company to keep track of everything the employee is doing on his phone.

By NathanG — On Feb 23, 2012

You don’t necessarily need a third party service in my opinion. You can just use a USB SIM card backup. This device will store all your SIM information. All you do is plug it into your computer and then insert your SIM card into it.

Press the backup button and it will store everything from your card into the device. Similarly, you can also use it to restore information from the backup device to a new SIM card.

I think it has a restore button that lets you do that. It’s simple and convenient. If you want, you can use this in addition to using a SIM backup if you prefer. That way you have a redundant system where if your portable device goes bad then at least you can get your SIM information online.

By anon112949 — On Sep 22, 2010

If I damage my sim card and order a new one, will it have my messages and contact details?

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