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What is the biggest hassle if you lose or change your phone?

Copying over - or recreating - all your contact information is the biggest hassle for most people.

This ingenious and inexpensive device can save you much time and inconvenience.

 
 
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GSM Cell Phone SIM Backup

DISCONTINUED

This unit has been replaced by the simpler and lower cost SIM Saver Unit.

 

Protect yourself against loss of data and easily copy your phonebook to another SIM and phone
 

The SIMBackup 500™ can store all your phone book data from two different SIMs.

Simple but functional, you can use it to copy your phonebook data from one SIM to another, and to keep a safety backup of the phonebook data from two different SIMs.

 

 

You backup your computer data, don't you?  Well, so too you should with your phone.  And if you're changing wireless providers (eg from AT&T to T-mobile) you'll need to copy all your phone book data from one SIM to the other.

Here's a very simple, easy, and inexpensive way to back up, copy, and transfer the phonebook data off your GSM mobile phone's SIM card.
 

Description

The SIMBackup 500™ is a compact lightweight device, smaller in size than a credit card, but a bit thicker.  It measures 3" x 2" x 0.4" and weighs 1.4 oz.

It has a numeric keypad, which is necessary if you're working with a PIN-locked SIM, plus a Menu, Enter, and Escape key.  A five line LCD display gives helpful prompts and information to walk you through using the unit.

The unit is supplied complete with the two CR2032 batteries it needs, and a short simple instruction sheet that clearly tells you how to use the unit.

I knew I'd like this unit as soon as I started to open its packaging.  Unlike so many items that are packed in heat-welded impossible to open thick plastic display units, this unit had an ingenious fold over flap that was easy to open and then the entire unit unfolded.  Heartfelt thanks to whoever added that small but much appreciated piece of extra value to the unit.

The unit has a full one year warranty.

Functionality

The SIM Backup unit is cleverly designed and easy to use.

Its clever design was obvious right from the start - turning the unit on.  The unit will not turn on unless you insert a SIM card - this means there's no danger of accidentally turning it on and draining the batteries by mistake.  It automatically turns itself off, too - either when you remove the SIM or if it has been idle for 60 seconds.

When you turn it on, you need to enter a password to unlock it.  This protects you from unauthorized persons accessing or damaging your stored data.  The password defaults to '1234' but can be changed to anything you wish or disabled entirely if you prefer.  I've disabled mine, for fear of otherwise forgetting it.

As an extra protection, if you have a PIN code set for your SIM card, you'll need to enter that too before you can read data off or onto the SIM card.

You then select from a menu of functions - the main two being backing up a SIM card, or copying the stored data to a SIM card.  You can also get a count of the number of phone book entries stored, you can change the password, and you can delete stored phone books.

When you choose to backup a SIM, you can choose from one of two different memory banks to back it up into.  This means if you have two cellphones in your family, you can backup the SIMs from each phone into the unit's two memory banks.

Backing up takes about 2 minutes to complete.  The display indicated its progress, and showed when it was finished.  It was then possible to display a count of the number of records saved - an interesting bit of trivia.

Restoring took less time than backing up, about 30 seconds in my case.

Cleverly, if you have no data stored in one of the memory banks, the unit won't let you copy the empty memory bank to the SIM card.

Compatible with all GSM phones and their SIM cards

The unit will work with any SIM card from any GSM phone, even on other carriers' prepaid phones, from anywhere in the world.  This makes it particularly helpful when you have multiple SIMs - a SIM for the US, perhaps several prepaid SIMs for elsewhere in the world, and a global roaming SIM as well.  You can easily copy and transfer your phone book data between all the different SIM cards.

Note that your phone must be a GSM phone, with a SIM card, for this unit to be able to help you.  In the US, most phones supplied by AT&T, Cingular, and T-mobile are GSM and SIM based.  Most phones supplied by other wireless companies are not.

Helpful Hints

I've had one of these units for some time, and find that I only use it once every few months when I remember to update my backup copies of SIMs I have.  And when I do need to use it, I often can't find the instruction sheet.

So that I don't forget the instructions, I've taped a summary sheet of instructions to the back of the unit.  You might want to consider doing the same thing.

When you're adding phone numbers to your phone book, store the phone numbers in full international format.  Don't store local numbers as only seven digit or ten digit numbers.  That way, as you travel around the US, the phone will always correctly dial the phone numbers, and if you travel overseas, the phone will still know how to dial numbers.

Full international format means you start off with the international access code (the plus sign  +) then the country code, area code, and phone number.  So to save a US phone number, eg (206)555-1212, you'd use this sequence  +12065551212.

Battery Life

The replaceable batteries have a life of at least one year and probably more, and when they are nearly flat, the device gives you a low battery warning.

Because this is a device that you might not use for several months, it is pleasing to note that the unit keeps its information in permanent memory, so even if the batteries die on you, the information is protected.  Buy a couple more batteries, put them in, and the unit comes up again with the information intact.

The unit uses two CR-2032 batteries.  These are a common type of battery and available in most places.

Cost

The SIM Backup unit has a retail price of $29.95.

We like them so much we've decided to sell this unit ourselves.

Simply click the button below to purchase one or more (they make a great gift!) using Paypal and charging to your credit card or bank account.  A single $2.50 shipping charge is added, no matter how many units you buy.  We'll also include our special instruction summary sheet that you can tape to the bottom of the unit so you too won't be stuck if you can't find your instruction manual.

And, if you do lose your instruction manual, you're welcome to ask us at any time and download an online PDF replacement copy.

You'll get an invaluable accessory to simplify the management of your cell phone name and number directory, and you'll be supporting The Travel Insider at the same time.

Summary

This is an easy to understand and easy to use device that provides a clear and valuable benefit if you have a GSM SIM based cell phone.

Recommended.

If so, please donate to keep the website free and fund the addition of more articles like this. Any help is most appreciated - simply click below to securely send a contribution through a credit card and Paypal.

 

Originally published 06 Aug 2004, last update 02 Jul 2017

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
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