How to Find Old Phone Numbers


Your phone number can be linked to a bunch of different services, like Facebook, your email account, credit card, tax records, memberships, credit reports, and so on. The list is a laundry list to be sure. When you get a new phone number, you are supposed to update everything that was linked to the previous number. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen and, for whatever reason, it has you scrambling to find your old phone number.

So, the question is: can you find old phone numbers? Before you panic any further, yes, you can absolutely find old phone numbers; in fact, there’s a bunch of different methods you can use to find old phone numbers. It isn’t guaranteed, just so you know, but more often than not you’ll strike gold.

Check In Your Old Phone

This is the first method to try out. If you hoard your old phones, then you’ve got yourself a lifeline, provided those old phones still have their SIM card intact and still work. And this method actually has two kinds of ways to retrieve the old phone number.

Method 1: Power on the Phone

If the old phone still works, great. Since the SIM card is what stored your old phone number, simply powering it on and checking in the Settings could score you those numbers.

Here’s how:

1. Locate and open the Settings app. Its app icon is a gear. You can find the Settings app by checking on one of your home screens, swiping back and forth to reveal more than one. If you can’t find the Settings app there, open your App Drawer. Any and all apps currently installed make their home in your App Drawer.

For those of you using an iOS device, no such App Drawer exists. All of your apps are housed on your home screen.

About Phone

2. Once your Settings are opened, locate the menu option “About Phone.” For those of you using an iOS device, check for “Phone.”

My Number

3. In the About Phone menu, find and select Status. If you opened “Phone” with an iOS device, look for “My Number.”

My Phone Number

4. In the Status menu, you can find your phone number on Android devices by looking for “SIM Status” or “My Phone Number.”

Method 2: Remove the SIM Card

This method may not work for every device, but it’s worth a shot. If you have your old phone, but it doesn’t work anymore, you may be able to retrieve your old phone number by ejecting your new SIM card with your old SIM card. This will only work if the SIM card can actually fit. Not all SIM cards are made equally.

If the SIM card does fit, power the device on and use the steps provided in ‘Method #1: Power on the Phone.’

Check In Your Email

Emails are an excellent way of getting a hold of your old phone numbers. This is because carriers tend to send physical phone bills as well as digital phone bills to your email, provided you have one.

On the other hand, you may have sent your number in an email. All you have to do is search for the area code your old phone number had at the time. You could get lucky.

Ask a Friend or Family Member

This method is most effective with older family members who, more often than not, never delete contacts from their phones. Whether it’s a lack of not knowing how or simply don’t want to, it doesn’t matter. What matters is they tend to have every single phone number you had since your first smartphone/cellphone. Check in with them. They may have a physical address book, too.

Do You Have Any Memberships?

Memberships you sign up for often have your phone number on file, like gym memberships. If you know for sure you signed up for a membership with your old phone number, you can try to retrieve either by calling them or through an online portal they may have.

Read Your Old Phone Bills

This is pretty self explanatory. Old phone bills will list your number, provided you actually keep them. If you don’t keep physical phone bills, perhaps your email has them in a digital form or a text message.

Look In Your Credit Reports

Believe it or not, your credit reports can list your phone number. This is because the “Identity” section almost always lists your number along with the address you were at when you had that phone number.

Look In Your Tax Record

Your tax records, like your credit reports, can list the phone number you used in the past, especially if it was for business purposes.

Bottom Line

Needing to retrieve an old phone number can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be when you have so many ways of retrieving it.

Brady Klinger-Meyers is an experienced tech writer and marketer who currently writes for Techzillo as well as other popular sites like MakeUseOf. At Techzillo, he focuses on consumer technology in general with his interest being Android OS. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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