How to Import the Contacts from Your SIM Card Into Windows Phone 8

If you just bought a new smartphone running Windows Phone 8, one of the first things you'll want to do is migrate your contacts. There is a chance that you stored your contacts on the old phone's SIM card, especially if the old phone was a "dumb" phone. In this tutorial, I'll show the necessary steps to import your SIM contacts into Windows Phone 8 and have them stored on your Microsoft account.

How to Open the Settings for the People App

The first step you'll have to perform is to open the People app. Look for its tile on the Start screen or search for its entry from the Apps list. Once you found it, tap on it.

Tap the more button (the three dots on the bottom-right corner) to open a contextual menu.

Then, tap settings.

Another way to open the settings screen for the People app is to go to Settings, using the entry from the Apps list.

Then, flick to the left, to go to applications. Here, look for the people entry and tap on it.

How to Import the Contacts Stored on the SIM Card to the People App

On the settings screen of the People app, you'll see a button named import SIM contacts.

Beneath it, you will see when the last import was performed (if it was performed). Also, there will be a note saying that your imported contacts will be synchronized with your Hotmail (Microsoft) account.

To start the import process, tap import SIM contacts. A new screen is displayed, asking you to Choose contacts.

This screen lists all the contacts found on the SIM card, sorted and organized alphabetically. By default, all contacts are automatically selected. If you want to import all the contacts from your SIM, tap the import button.

If you'd rather choose only a couple of contacts to be imported, press clear then select those that you want imported.

Then, tap the import button.

When done, you'll be brought back to the settings screen for the People app. The next time you open the People app, all the SIM contacts that were imported will be displayed as regular contacts.
NOTE: If all or some of your contacts were already imported to the People app, in the Choose contacts screen, you will see a message saying "already in phone contacts", beneath each contact.

Quick Tip - How to Browse Faster Through your SIM Contacts

In the Choose contacts screen, instead of scrolling through all your SIM contacts in order to select them, you can use the starting letters displayed on the screen. Every letter you see in the list, is the starting point for all the contacts that begin with that letter.

Tap any of the letters displayed in the list and a new screen is shown, with all the letters in the alphabet. If there is at least one contact that starts with a certain letter, that letter is highlighted.

Tap through the available letters to jump to those contacts starting with a certain letter.


As you can see from this guide, importing your SIM contacts to Windows Phone 8 and its People app is very easy. All it takes is a few taps. One of the biggest advantages to importing your SIM contacts to Windows Phone 8 is that you will never lose them again, not even if your smartphone gets stolen. They are automatically backed up to your Microsoft account and you can easily restore them on any other phone.