What’s in your mobile? Our breakdown explains each part

It is often not clear what a mobile handset, a SIM card and an external memory card provide and how they differ, yet each are a key component of your experience with a mobile phone.

Mobile Handset

Your handset provides the basic features and functions. At the most fundamental level, it provides the battery pack, keypad, touchscreens, GPS services and Internet capabilities. At the same time, each handset will always have an alarm clock, calendar, a calculator and a Bluetooth or Infrared connection service for you to use.

Mobile handsets work with SIM cards to connect you to cellular networks, so you can communicate with other people around the world. The handset will come equipped to send SMS (text messages) and MMS (multimedia messages), which allows you to exchange messages, pictures and videos. Handsets will also come with an integrated email service function, but you must be connected to the Internet first. These features are common within all modern mobile devices.

SIM Card

SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module and contains unique information which identifies you to a specific mobile network. In turn, you are then subscribed to this network, which opens up the communication features of the device for use. You cannot make a call without a SIM. SIM cards are very small, about the size of a small postage stamp and usually located in a specific slot on the side of the handset. Or, if you have an older mobile, in the back of the phone, underneath the battery.

SIM cards often contain a small amount of memory which can store contacts, SMS messages and your call history. The SIM card also retains information relating to security protocols, the network carrier, your Personal Identification Number (PIN), an unblocking code, and the services you use. Your SIM card will not store personal or sensitive information like your pictures and videos, your home address or your bank details unless you have stored this in an SMS message or contact list.

SIM cards can be interchangeable between handsets, providing the phone is unlocked. If the handset is unlocked, your phone number and carrier plan details will transfer over immediately.

For more information on SIM cards, please see one of our previous posts here.

External Memory Card

For most mobile devices, the type of external memory card used is called microSD. Much like SIM cards, these are very small but store large amounts of data. They are inserted into a memory card slot, usually on the side of a handset and will hold all your documents, music, photos, videos and games.

Using a microSD expands the amount of memory on your phone, as your handset is often very limited in space. They are transferable and handsets will often begin to automatically scan the card, pull all the information it needs and store it for you.

If you’ve got any further questions, do let us know in the comment section below or by tweeting to us at @JustAskGemalto.