Saving contacts to your SIM, phone, and email explained

If you have ever been confused about where to save a new mobile contact on your Android or iPhone, fear not – this guide is for you! There are many options and we’ll go through the pros and cons of each one.

Android

When you want to save a new number, you’ll be asked where you would like to store it. Here are your choices:

SIM

This option was the original place when on-board phone memory didn’t exist in the 1990s. SIMs come in various memory sizes which will affect the number of contacts you can save.

In all likelihood your SIM will store around 200 contacts. The benefit of saving directly to the SIM is that you can take out your SIM and pop it into a new phone and you’ll instantly have your contacts with you.

The downside is that all contacts are stored locally on the SIM and not backed-up. This means if you lose or damage your phone or SIM, the contacts will be lost. Plus you cannot save multiple numbers for one person and instead will have to create one contact per number e.g. “Dad Work” and “Dad Mobile”.

Device 

Another option is to save your contacts to the actual phone. For many Androids this will save the contacts to the microSD card inserted in the phone. Because contact details take up so little memory, you’ll be able to store as many as you want, and never worry about running out of space.

Again, the benefit is that you can transfer the SD card to another phone and you’ll be up and running immediately. But likewise, with the SIM, the problem is that the contacts are stored on the card. If you opt for saving here, we recommend you back-up your contacts to a PC or Mac using an SD card-reader. You’ll probably have to buy an adapter from to be able to connect the microSD card to your computer.

Email

Android requires a Gmail account to work. The benefit of this is that you can choose to save your contacts to your Gmail account. This way as soon as you save a contact, it will immediately sync with your account meaning you can log-in from any Android and have all your contacts already accessible.

You can see your stored contacts at any point by logging into Gmail and choosing Contacts from the drop-down menu on the left. Alternatively, contacts.google.com will take you there too.

Saving Contacts

If you ever choose to leave Android, you can easily make up a back-up by going to Contacts à à Manage Contacts à Export contacts.

This menu will also let you import contacts saved as Import vCard files (VCF) from your device.

iPhone

Apple makes it very easy when it comes to saving your contacts. All details are backed up to iCloud and you cannot save any contacts to the SIM.

So if you get a new phone and you have synced, you’ll be able to choose “Restore from iCloud Back-up” and your contacts will appear. Through using iCloud contacts, you are able to sync across all of your Apple devices too. This means that through one single sign-on, all of your contacts will appear on your Apple gadgets.

You can also use iTunes to transfer contacts from an old iPhone to your new iPhone if you can’t use iCloud. Plug in the old phone and sync the contacts with the PC or Mac. Then unplug, connect the new phone, go to ‘Advanced’ menu, make sure ‘Contacts’ is selected under the ‘Replace information on this iPhone’ submenu, and click Ok.

We hope that helps, do get in touch if you have any issues saving your contacts.