Why Are My Text Messages Going to the SIM Card Instead of the Phone Memory?


Phones that use the GSM network come with SIM, or Subscriber Identity Module, cards to store information. SIM cards usually store information such as contacts and calls. They may also, however, store text messages. If you have a phone that automatically sends messages to the SIM card, there may be several different causes for this.

GSM Network

  • The Global System for Mobile Communications network, or GSM network, uses SIM cards in their phones. Some of the more popular carriers on the GSM network in the United States include AT&T and T-Mobile. If your phone has a SIM card, then it's on the GSM network. Although your phone is equipped to store text messages directly to the phone itself, it may store the messages on the SIM card, too. This includes deleted text messages. Each network carrier has its own policies, and the storage of text messages may even vary from phone to phone, regardless of whether they're on the same network or not.

Full Memory

  • One problem that come sometimes occur with text message storage is a full memory. Once your phone's internal memory has been filled, it begins sending text messages to your SIM card to save them. SIM cards can typically only hold between 20 to 25 text messages, after which point the phone begins automatically deleting the oldest messages first. If you find that your phone's memory is full, begin deleting or transferring apps, music and photos to make room in order for your messages to be stored on your phone's hard memory again automatically.

Phone Settings

  • Another possible reason that your phone may be sending its messages to the SIM card is its settings. Many phones on the GSM network include an option to store your texts in different areas. Sometimes, you can even alter these settings to store your incoming messages on your phone and your outgoing messages on your SIM card. The settings vary depending on your network carrier and phone make and model. If your phone has the option of designating a specific place to store your text messages, open your main menu, followed by your text-messaging app, then go into your message settings. Look for an option to "Save messages to SIM" and uncheck that option if it's checked. If that option isn't there, look for an option to "Save messages to phone," "Leave messages on SIM" or a similar option, then alter the setting to your preference.

Network Carrier

  • Each network carrier has its own policies regarding text message storage. Some carriers may choose to store text messages directly to the phone's internal memory rather than the SIM card. Conversely, a carrier can set its phones' defaults to store messages in the SIM card first. If you have tried altering your phone's settings and clearing the phone's internal memory, but still find that your messages are being saved to your SIM, contact your network carrier to find a solution. The customer service representative may not be able to help you recover permanently deleted text messages, but you should be able to keep better track of your SMS messages in the future.

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