I have an old phone with a telephone card (SIM card) inside. The telephone has an infrared interface on the side.

I want to read out my contacts and stored SMS messages from the phone, either via infrared, or by connecting the SIM to the computer by means of some kind of card reader.

I once managed to read the data via infrared, but I cannot recreate the needed setup because I have no computer with irda interface anymore. So I've bought a card reader, which unfortunately only works on Windows. The application that comes with it is absolute trash and does not allow saving of data (WTF?!?! Who designed THIS?). Whatever, this reader has a credit-card sized plastic card where you can plug in the SIM card, so I plug the SIM into any kind of card reader. So my question:

  • How can I get the stored data from the SIM using this Adapter? I have access to a computer that contains an integrated card reader, but I would have to check how to do it beforehand.
  • If I get hold of an infrared interface somehow, which program is the best choice to read out stored SMS messages and pohonebooks? How is this done? (cmd-lines/link to howto preferred).

I hope someone can help, since the phone starts to die, and I want to save all my SMS which don't all fit on the SIM (I would have to copy them from phone memory to the SIM, delete them and copy the next batch, since the SIM can only store 10 messages ...).


3 Answers 3


Almost each phone can act as a modem - either via serial port (with special cable), infrared or bluetooth. And it can understand standard modem AT commands + extended GSM AT commands. So you need to have infrared port on your PC (it will show up as serial port), connect it to the phone, start terminal application (minicom for example) and communicate with the phone via AT commands. When you learn which commands you need, just write your application.

Here is a (almost) complete GSM AT commands reference guide: https://web.archive.org/web/20081114211802/http://www.communica.se/multitech/gprs_at.pdf . There you can find commands for general phone identification, for making calls, viewing/modifying phone book entries, SMS messages, network quality information and many more. Some manufacturers have even their own commands (old Ericsson phone had, for example, extended battery and temperature information - I have made a program for SMS management and phone info long time ago - http://www.marki-online.net/MpM/ ). Also be aware that at least some phone use different encoding for phone book and maybe also for SMS (GSM alphabet, where char @ is character with ASCII code 0).

  • Thanks, I will look into it as well (currently tough schedule, may take some days/weeks).
    – hochl
    Jan 12, 2012 at 13:02

pySimReader just worked for me, once you figure out how to set it to the right /dev location.


The solution to this problem seems highly related to the kind of phone and its firmware, at least if you try to use infrared.

I believe it would be the easiest solution to put the SIM card into another phone (maybe you can borrow one), preferably some kind of smartphone that can read the data from the card and store it to a SD-card or something. I think this would mean far less trouble than buying an infrared device or a new SIM card reader.

  • Can you suggest such a phone? I may get access to an Android, but it will involve some persuasion and be an inconvenience for this person since he can't use his phone for the time.
    – hochl
    Jan 5, 2012 at 14:59
  • I was also thinking about android and then using some kind of sms backup app... But any phone that can sync sms and contacts to a PC would be fine
    – Nick
    Jan 5, 2012 at 15:01
  • Can Android do it OOTB, or do I need to get some App for this before?
    – hochl
    Jan 5, 2012 at 15:02
  • you would probably require an sms backup app
    – Nick
    Jan 5, 2012 at 15:04
  • Guess I'll have to grab the phone and see how it can be done. I'll report back when it's done, guess will be some days/weeks.
    – hochl
    Jan 5, 2012 at 15:08

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