Previous 1 2 3 Next 32 Replies Latest reply: Sep 12, 2013 4:17 AM by Meg St._Clair Branched to a new discussion.
HighStile Level 1 (0 points)

Hi all

I have just purchased a iPhone 4s and the shop have transferred over my contacts. That's fine, but with my previous Phone my contacts were stored on both the phone and the SIM card. So I have all my number appearing twice in my iPhone Contacts list.


What I don't know is where these contacts are stored - in my iPhone or on my new SIM card - or both. My concern is that if I delete the duplicate entries I could be deleting them from the SIM card or from my phone.


So the simple question is, when I add a new contact, where is it stored and how can I tell? My previous phone clearly showed this information.

iPhone 3GS, iOS 4
  • Rever3nce Level 1 (40 points)

    Your contacts will be stored all on your iphone. I recommend you use icloud also for your contacts. If you want to erase your contacts and try again, I do reccomend you use your icloud backup first.


    Settings>icloud> Contacts turned to "on"


    if anything goes bad during the process of removing your contacts, you have them in the icloud now and can retrieve them from the cloud via wifi.


    Hope this has helped you.

  • The Huntress Level 4 (3,590 points)

    For information, no data such as contacts are stored on the MicroSIM

  • HighStile Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the info.

    To clarify I am referring to names and telephone numbers

    If there is no information on the SIM and my phone breaks, that means I cannot just slot my SIM into another phone.

    Bear in mind that my replacement phone may not be an iPhone and I have a SIM adaptor card to enable using it in a "normal" phone it seems that it would not be that straightforward since I would have lost all my numbers?

  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,405 points)

    As already provided, no data is stored on the SIM card with an iPhone. This applies to contact info including names and telephone numbers.


    Not a good idea to depend on an iPhone or any cell phone alone for contacts, which can be lost or stolen. And contact storage on a SIM card is limited.


    Contacts with an iPhone are designed to be synced with a supported address book app on your computer, and there are a number of email accounts that support syncing contacts over the air with the account on an iPhone such as with a free Apple iCloud account, and with a free Yahoo and Gmail account which can be accessed with another smart phone.


    Many "dumb" phones support syncing contacts via bluetooth or USB connection with a supported address book app on your computer.

  • The Huntress Level 4 (3,590 points)

    You should be syncing and backing up your iPhone regularly to a PC or Mac and therefore your contacts will be backed up to whichever application you use for contacts i.e. Outlook or Address Book.

  • HansWorldTravels Level 1 (0 points)

    Therefore, is this correct to say.... contacts are stored in the phone or computer memory and syncing only updates them depending on where a new contact is created or an existing is edited?  This is the modern version of storing the contacts on a SIM.  Apple products (appear to) and Outlook stores it on the device's physical memory.


    The problem being, if you only have one apple product, say an iPhone, and do not use Outlook (which also stores the contacts on a physical hard drive), there is no backup whatsoever if your device with the contacts on it is destroyed.


    Gmail contacts live, are stored, on the web (servers) inside your account, aka virtual memory (Google's Servers) and are held temporarily on any device connected to your account.  There is no relic technology of a SIM to worry about and one does not need to worry about losing contacts if a device (computer with Outlook or iPhone with "contacts") is damaged or destroyed.


    If I make a change to a Gmail contact on my phone, that changes is sent to the virtual account and modified.  That change then goes out to any device or web browser access to your Gmail and automatically takes effect.


    I'm finding it hard to believe this is the case, but it explains why in 2013 we still see people saying "I've lost all your contacts, please send them to me."  That would never occur is Outlook & Apple stopped storing the data on a users hard device[s].


    I wish someone could tell me differently, but this is becoming the sad reality in my switch from Android to an iPhone.

  • Meg St._Clair Level 9 (50,797 points)

    Your post isn't entirely clear. What is it you want to people to tell you is different? All of the options you described are available on your iPhone. Personally, because I have an iPhone, a Samsung Galaxy S4, an iPad and a computer, I find using Gmail to store my contacts to be the easiest way. If you have only Apple devices, iCloud may be your best bet. I note that you didn't mention that in your post.  But, some people prefer not to use any kind of cloud storage. Hence, the ability to sync to a computer.


    Best of luck.

  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,405 points)

    "The problem being, if you only have one apple product, say an iPhone, and do not use Outlook (which also stores the contacts on a physical hard drive), there is no backup whatsoever if your device with the contacts on it is destroyed."


    Yes there is. If you store the iPhone's backup on your computer's hard drive, the iPhone's backup is updated as the first step during the iTunes sync process. If you chose to store and update your iPhone's backup online with a free Apple iCloud account, the iPhone's backup is updated automatically when the iPhone is connected to a power source while connected to an available wi-fi network, or the wireless iCloud backup can be updated manually direct with the iPhone. Contacts are included with the iPhone's backup.


    If contacts were stored on the SIM card only and the phone were lost or stolen, bye bye contacts. Not a good idea to depend on an iPhone or any cell phone alone for such data. Stupid is a more accurate term for those that do.


    As already provided with a previous post, there are a number of free email accounts that support syncing contacts over the air that can be accessed with an iOS device. An Apple iCloud account, Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail. This is in addition to the iPhone's backup that includes contacts.

  • HansWorldTravels Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello Meg.  I see you are also involved in some of the discussion about time zones as well.  What a cluster that is


    I am trying to figure out the best way to bring my gmail contacts into my new iPhone 5.  I have two gmail accounts with contacts, 1) Personal & 2) Business.  I also have them in categories (groups), say friends near where I live & friends overseas, or current work contacts versus those in the past.


    As you are aware, Android phones let you turn visibility on and off for any of those groups.  iPhone has no such ability, hence my list is populated with only those contacts in my account that are grouped "my contacts" (the default setting) in gmail.


    When I first brought in those contacts, out of 300, only 10 showed up.  Those were the ones grouped "my contacts", so once I added that layer, more came in.  But only visibiility options I have on iPhone are "personal" or "work", basically my label for my two gmail accounts.


    The iCloud webaccess is a joke really, but now I can't even find those contacts I see on my iPhone in it.


    I'm open for suggestions on the best, most proven way to make this seamless.  I see posts about setting up contacts as exchange accounts, gmail as normal accounts, etc.  The same with calendar.

  • HansWorldTravels Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello Allen, 


    No offense but your post sounds exactly like all Apple "support" pages or the description of the iCloud or iTunes service.  "Just plug it in & waalaa it does it for you".  That is far from the truth.  I read those all before, yet that doesn't work, so what am I supposed to do, plug it in again and it magically will work???


    As to your point I should back up my contacts to a computer.... great I have to backup on a computer, not something that seamlessly does "backup" and syncing over the web such as gMail instantaneously.


    I downloaded & installed the iTunes program, as everything said "do that", yet I don't see any of this backed-up information there or any indication of where to look at it (open a folder).


    I'm really looking for "how to do it" solutions, not just do it this way and be happy when it doesn't work for you.


    Thanks though.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 (34,951 points)


    • Create an iCloud account and sync your contacts with the iCloud address book. You can then sync it with other iDevices, and with Mac computers running OS X Lion or later. Updates are applied in real time whenever updated via the web access to iCloud or on any device connected to the same iCloud account.
    • Configure iCloud to back up automatically every ~24 hours - this will guarantee the ability to restore your contacts to your phone or its replacement, but will not make them retrievable any other way.
    • Back up your phone to iTunes periodically. You cannot view the contacts in iTunes, but, as with iCloud, you can restore the entire backup to your phone if needed.
    • If you back up to your computer, there are dozens of third party apps that you can get (some free) that will let you examine and export the contents of the backup.
    • Sync the phone via USB or WiFi with an address book app on your computer. Supported apps include Outllook for Windows and the Address Book app in Windows Vista, 7 and 8.
    • Sync your contacts wth Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, or any combination of them. You can have multiple address books displayed in the iPhone contacts app, and can view or hide them at will.
    • Sync your contacts with a Microsoft Exchange server. You can then access them with the phone, an MS Outlook client that syncs with MS Exchange, or Outlook Web Access.


    If none of these meet your needs the iPhone isn't for you. Find a phone that better meets your requirements.

  • Meg St._Clair Level 9 (50,797 points)

    Sorry, I don't use groups very much. I found they just needlessly complicated my life. So, I really can't advise you there. I also only have one Gmail account. However, I've found syncing my Gmail contacts has been pretty seamless using the older method (Exchange) or the newer (CardDAV). I make a change one place, it appears everywhere. It's something I don't even think about very much.


    Note: you can no longer set up Gmail as an Exchange account unless you have a paid account.

  • HansWorldTravels Level 1 (0 points)



    Does the Exchange or CardDAV work with contacts, calendar & email???


    I've seen these as "solutions" out there, and it just seems like I need to try them all until one (hopefully) works right. 


    I'm not sure why they even bothered with the Google App.  Email it works great, but what's the point of including Google Maps if the iPhone won't even allow you to default to it???

  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,405 points)

    Not far from the truth with me - dead on is more like it having contacts, calendar events, notes, reminders, and documents/data kept synchronized between my business iPhone 5, personal iPhone 4S and iPad 2, my personal Mac, and with my Windows PC and Outlook at the office done with my free Apple iCloud account.


    Read the 2nd and last paragraphs with my previous post again.


    The iPhone's backup is set to be stored on your computer's hard drive automatically with iTunes. As already provided, the iPhone's backup is updated automatically as the first step during the iTunes sync process. There is a folder to open on your computer's hard drive for your iPhone's backup, but it won't do you much good to open since the backup data is in a SQLite database format that includes much more data than just contacts. Or as already provifed, you can select to have your iPhone's backup done wirelessly and automatically with a free iCloud account that doesn't require a computer.


    You are syncing contacts over the air with your Gmail account or accounts, so you don't need to be concerned with the contacts being included with your iPhone's backup. The contacts stored online with your Gmail account is your backup, and you should also be able to sync your Gmail online contacts with a supported address book app on your computer.

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