iPhone and SIM card contacts

Q: After importing my contacts from my SIM card on my new iPhone, and cleaning up the contact information, do these changes get saved back on my SIM card?  Meaning if I import my contacts again, am I going to need to clean them up again?  Further, when adding a new contact, will it auto-save onto my SIM card?  My old SE 790a has the ability to automatically copy new contacts to my SIM card, but I can’t find this function on the iPhone.

– Alex

A: Unfortunately, the iPhone provides only for the ability to import from your SIM card—it does not actually write anything back to the SIM card. This means that any changes you make to the contacts on your iPhone itself will not be saved to your SIM card, nor will any new contacts you add.

There are some unofficial apps available that do provide SIM card contact management capabilities, but these will only work if you have jailbroken your iPhone—they are not available through the iPhone App Store. Further, be aware that SIM card contact storage is quite limited in most cases in terms of the types of data that can be stored. While names and phone numbers can certainly be saved to the SIM card, you would likely not have information like e-mail addresses and street addresses stored on the SIM card, and in fact most SIM cards only allow a single phone number per contact.

Your best bet, once you have your contacts sorted out, is to sync them with a desktop application such as Windows Address Book or Microsoft Outlook (if you’re on Windows) or the Mac OS X Address Book if you’re a Mac user. This will ensure that you have a backup of this information somewhere other than your SIM card.

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