Surprisingly little space: What does a SIM card actually store?


If you want to receive calls or surf the Internet on the go, you need a SIM card. Data is also stored here. We’ll reveal which.

SIM cards are an important part of mobile communication. In addition to the classic SIM card, there are now smaller micro-SIMs and nano-SIMs. In addition, there are eSIMs and iSIMs, which are permanently integrated into the device and further reduce the space requirement. But what is the SIM card for and what is stored on the little card? The answers to that can be found here.

The SIM card includes a special numerical code called IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) as well as network-specific data that allows the mobile device to access the mobile network.

You can define yourself which data is stored on the SIM. This includes the PIN you use to unlock the card after you open your mobile phone. There is also possible memory on the SIM card for phone book entries, recently dialed phone numbers as well as notes and SMS.

But that’s not all that’s stored on the SIM card. Even small programs can be accommodated in the module. This allows you to subscribe to special messaging services or query your existing prepaid credit. Storage on the SIM card ensures that these services work regardless of the mobile phone used.

Many modern smartphones are now configured in such a way that they store user data such as PIN or SMS in the phone’s memory and use it in the cloud, for example in a iPhone, synchronize. This means that if the cell phone is lost, the data can be restored to a replacement device. However, if the data is stored only on the SIM card, such restoration is not possible.

Furthermore, the storage space on the SIM card is very limited. There is only room for about 250 contacts and, depending on the length, a small two-digit number of SMS messages. If you want to save more contact data and short messages, you still have to rely on your smartphone’s larger memory.

SIM cards are primarily used to identify a mobile phone subscriber to the provider’s network. The abbreviation “SIM” stands for “Subscriber Identification Module”. Translated into German, it means something like “module for participant identification”. This module ensures that your phone dials the correct mobile network and that calls, SMS and data usage can be assigned to the correct device.



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