Did you open your phone book and your SIM card contacts are not appearing? That’s a common situation. Although we can’t tell you why that is, we do our best to suggest several potential causes and expect you to do a bit of troubleshooting. With some effort and recollection of recent events, you should learn where the contacts are gone. Alternatively, you may remember you didn’t bring them in at all or tapped the wrong category. With that acknowledged, let us show you what to do if your SIM card contacts are not showing.
What are the reasons contacts from a SIM card don’t appear?
SIM card contacts don’t appear on your phone because of these potential reasons:
1. You don’t have SIM card contacts
The lack of contacts on the SIM card is the most common reason they don’t display in Android and iOS. Storing contacts on a SIM card is an old practice modern devices avoid. When you know what is stored in a SIM card, you know the GSM phones avoid that procedure due to the limited storage of roughly up to 256 KB. Therefore, if your contacts were stored from the early 2010s onward, they are likely in:
- The phone’s internal memory
- Cloud storage for your Google account or Apple ID
2. You didn’t configure the Contacts app filter correctly
Another source of missing SIM card contacts is improper filters in the Contacts application. This is common for old phones that distinguished between phone and SIM storage. However, some modern phones have this option, including marking contacts that come from applications such as Viber, Line, WhatsApp, Google, and so on. We will provide some examples below.
3. Contacts were not imported from a SIM
If you recently got a new phone and inserted a SIM card, performed a factory reset, or swapped SIM cards, you may expect that contacts appear by default. However, this is a procedure that operating systems and phone manufacturers usually leave to users, unlike syncing from the cloud. Thus, you may have to extract contacts from the SIM manually.
4. You deleted contacts from a SIM
Whenever SIM contacts suddenly disappear, we can speculate whether you deleted them. Whether you followed a general procedure and unknowingly wiped them, did a factory reset, or used a storage clean-up application, the result is identical. We proposed a solution below.
5. The SIM card storage is full
Weird things can happen when the space on a SIM card fills up. Some include glitching in the Contacts app or slow replacement of older contacts for newer ones. Things aren’t as simple as during the time of flip phones or feature phones. However, we still analyzed potential resolutions when the SIM card space capacity is filled to the brim.
1. Restart the device if no SIM card contact is showing
If SIM card contacts disappeared, we suggest a quick device reset to confirm if they are gone for good. It makes sense to double-check whether a missing list is a temporary problem caused by an operating system update or a recent sync. You can restart your device by:
- Long-pressing the
Powerbutton on Android, then selecting Restart.
- On iPhone devices, you need to press and hold either of the Volume buttons for roughly 30 seconds. Older devices have a
Top Powerbutton you need to press for the same period. Drag the power-off slider to confirm.
2. Change the in-app filter to display contacts from SIM cards
Another thing you can do when SIM card contacts are not showing is to check the display mode in the Contacts app as in these two examples:
- On stock Android 10. Go to Contacts, then tap the More option (three-dot icon) before selecting Customize view – Choose Customize – Pick SIM contacts then SIM 1 or SIM 2.
- For Xiaomi MIUI phones. Open Contacts – Select More again – Go to Adjustments then toggle the button next to Show SIM contacts – Select your SIM.
These are two notable examples where the filter exists. If it does not, ensure the view is set to All contacts to confirm they are all visible.
3. Import contacts from a SIM card if they are not showing
We mentioned factory reset, new device, or SIM card swap as a common reason for the disappearance of contacts from SIMs. If you confirmed they are visible, yet they are still gone, you can try importing or copying the SIM card contacts to your phone, which on Android looks like this:
- Launch the Contacts application.
- Tap the three-line menu in the upper left corner.
- Select Settings then Import (which may be named Import/Export, too).
- Choose the SIM card option then SIM 1 or SIM 2.
- Mark individual contacts or them all. Select Done and choose Phone or Device as the destination. You should see a success message.
4. Download contacts from a backup
Some users choose to delete contacts from their SIM card or an application does it for them. They may also choose to erase all data from a SIM card. In that case, your best bet if SIM card contacts are not showing because they were deleted is to sign in to your Google account on Android devices or Apple ID on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and download any contact you have by syncing with the cloud storage. Alternatively, you can install a third-party mobile application you previously used to create a backup and restore from it.
5. Free up space on a SIM card
A final option is to clear up some space on your SIM card to ensure the device reads its data properly. We explained what to do when a SIM card is full. In short, you can erase some data manually (excluding contacts!) in the operating system or use a SIM reader device to wipe some data using your computer.
What should I do after contacts from a SIM card reappear?
You should back up contacts from a SIM card after they reappear because its storage is limited to between 128 KB and 256 KB. We propose your phone, by importing contacts, cloud storage, or a contacts backup app on Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Therefore, you can not only store drastically more contacts in your phone or cloud storage, but they’ll be much safer. That also ensures that any contact you have remains if you upgrade your SIM card (e.g., from 4G LTE to 5G), lose it, or have it stolen. You can also freely switch SIM cards without losing your phone book data.