SIM Card Data Recovery

The SIM card, as well as being the lifeblood of your mobile phone connecting it to the carrier, also has a little (and I do mean little) bit of space on it which you can use to save text messages and contacts etc… It’s not going to replace that Micro SD card anytime soon but it was only a few years ago when phones would store your contacts onto the SIM card by default. Of course whether the data is on a hard drive, a flash drive or a SIM card – it still gets lost. So in much the same way we recover normal data – we can recover deleted data from a SIM card.

sim cardTextRar specializes in retrieving deleted text messages and other data from mobiles and while SIM cards are one of the methods we might  use – it’s honestly unlikely you’ll get anything from it. It’s one of the worst methods of data recovery. It’s unreliable and the SIM card is unlikely to be storing the information you need. If you’re looking to retrieve some data from your phone I’d suggest clicking here.

If you’re sure the data you’re after is on a SIM card however, read on.

What Is Stored on a SIM Card?

Not counting the information your carrier uses to identify you on their network?

You can basically store anything on there. Well, anything within reason. And with the size available on these things that’s a very limited within reason. It’s data storage the same way as your flash drive is – just on a much smaller scale. It wasn’t really built for media storage and usually you’ll find older phones saving contact details and sometimes text messages to it.

Depending on the model some would save data there by default (you’d probably spend a lot of time clearing out your text message inbox) and others would use it for transferring data between phones when you’re using the same SIM.

What Is SIM Card Data Recovery?

SIM card recovery works basically the same as any kind of data recovery. When messages (or any data) is marked for deletion it’s not actually directly deleted. That would take too long. So it’s marked as “safe to reuse” and hidden from the phone. When you get another message in it can use that spot of memory because it’s been marked as not important. Normally this memory which has been marked as deleted will stay that way until it is overwritten.

Some tools however can find this memory location and (as long as other data hasn’t been written over it) can retrieve it. It works with flash drives and internal storage on phones – and it works with SIM cards.

Sort of.

The Problem With SIM Card Recovery

microsdThe main problem is the SIM card is so small. This is a problem for three reasons.

First of all it means there’s not a lot of data that can be there in the first place to recover. You’re not going to be able to recover your entire message log because the SIM card won’t be able to hold it in the first place. At best you’ll get a few messages. I won’t go into the whole tech side of things (though if you want to you can read about it here) but basically it’s dead from the start. That said if there’s that one important message you need then it’s still worth a go.

Secondly, remember how I mentioned the data being overwritten when it was marked as deleted? With a bigger storage drive you’ve a better chance of this not happening (which is why recovering deleted messages on an iPhone is pretty easy). Because the SIM card is so small it’s likely the data will be overwritten pretty quickly. That however comes down to how much you use your phone and how “busy” the memory is. The more messages you receive for example – the less chance you’ll have of being able to find the old ones.

And lastly (and I think most importantly) phones just don’t save information to the SIM card anymore. Technology has moved beyond this. Data is stored on internal memory for the most part and if it’s external it’s either in “the cloud” or on a flash drive.

You’ve also got the potential of breaking or losing a SIM card a lot easier than you’d lose a bigger phones hard drive. They’re bigger, more fragile (I mean you can snap it between your thumb and pinkie finger) and just generally not the most reliable place to store important data.


Alternatives to SIM Card Data Recovery

I’ve already linked to a few alternatives above but this one should be pretty obvious by now.

Now that data is stored on larger memory devices we can employ the same practices as we’d use to recover deleted messages from a SIM card. The bonus is because the storage is likely bigger you’ll have a much better chance of it actually working. On top of that because your phone already probably connects to the computer via USB you don’t need to buy any hardware to do it.

So the alternative is basically a tool (software – we’re not talking a physical hammer to take apart your phone here) which can find the old unused data in the depths of your devices memory where normal file viewers dare not venture. See that big download button on the top right of this page? That’s the best around.

SIM Card Data Recovery Tool Reviews

If you’re determined to read the data from the SIM card you’re going to need a way to connect it to the computer. Plugging the phone in while it has the SIM card connected isn’t going to do it because the phone won’t get access to the memory on the SIM. You’ll need a SIM card reader. Actually you’ll need the physical reader (usually connects by USB and you can insert your SIM card into it) and the software to read the data from the SIM while it’s actually connected.

Sim Card Data RecoveryThere’s a pretty big range of these and most of them are cheap and will break pretty easily. The software all does the same thing really because it’s pretty limited but if you take a look on Amazon you’ll find whatever is the flavor of the month there. Just take the reviews with a pinch of salt. Some people won’t understand how unlikely it is to work and blame the reader or the software even though there’s just no data there to recover.

So SIM card data recovery is useful to a very small part. Really the only time I’d bother to suggest it is with an older phone where there is no real internal storage and even then it’s not going to get you much back I’m afraid.

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