What is a SIM card reader?

Written by deanne lachner | 13/05/2017
What is a SIM card reader?
A SIM card reader can find deleted text messages. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of ♥)

A subscriber identity module--more commonly known as a SIM card--is the heart of your cell phone. It stores phone numbers, text messages, photos, music and any other information you need to save on your cell phone. A SIM card reader is a quick way to access the information stored on a SIM card.


A SIM card reader is a small device that looks similar to a flash drive. The card has a slot on one end or in the side into which the SIM card is placed. The other end of a card reader contains the male half of a USB connection.


SIM card readers range in price from under £6 up to as much as £130, depending on brand, quality and abilities of the reader (see Resources).


Insert a SIM card into the SIM card reader, plug the reader into a USB port in a computer and the user can import/export addresses and phone numbers into Outlook or other address books, back up the SIM card to protect the data in case of card failure and transfer information from one card to another. Users can add/delete, search and edit phone entries on the card. Data can be both read and written to a SIM card. If the SIM card has failed, the card reader enables recovery of data. Some readers allow users to view up to the past 10 numbers dialled.


SIM card readers do not work on all types of cell phones. If a phone does not have a SIM card, or if the phone's default setting does not automatically write information to the SIM card, the card reader is useless.

Fun Fact

What is a SIM card reader?
Your spouse might be viewing your activites on a SIM card reader. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Benny Lin)

The SIM card reader makes parents and spouses into instant spies. One card is advertised as enabling parents to check up on their teenagers' activities such as cheating, partying and drinking. Another card reader touts itself as a way to ensure that a spouse is being faithful, as the reader can recover and view deleted text messages.

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