Meta: Do you forget your phone number when you need it most? Here’s how to find any phone number fast.
Did you win the phone number lottery?
Winning the phone number lottery happens when you sign up for a new mobile phone number with your carrier, and the service representative says, “Oh, you got a good one.”
It’s like when you luck into a phone number that ends in 4444 or 1223. Those numbers are almost musical in the way they roll of your tongue and stick in your head.
For those of us who somehow got the most complicated phone numbers available, remembering your phone number is difficult. It doesn’t come with a cadence, or at least, the musicality of it is definitely out of key. And a new phenomenon called digital amnesia, which seems to encourage people to forget things they can find on the internet, doesn’t help matters.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you don’t do well with numbers, you’re generally forgetful, or you rely heavily on your phone to remember every facet of your life or none of the above. Your own phone number is often the last piece of information you need to know.
If you’re one of those people who fail to remember their phone number when they need it, these instructions are for you. We’ll show you how to look up your phone number in your phone so that you can read it back correctly the first time.
Why Don’t We Remember Our Phone Numbers Anymore?
As children, we were taught to memorize our phone number, address, and other valuable information both as a way of learning numbers and for protection.
Today, people can’t remember their phone numbers.
A new survey of Europeans found that half of the people surveyed needed to look at their contact list to remind themselves of their children’s phone number or their work phone. One-third of respondents said they didn’t know their partner's phone numbers either.
Scientists describe things like forgetting your own phone number as digital amnesia.
Digital amnesia is a phenomenon were people readily forget simple information like their own phone number because they don’t need to remember it anymore. Because we store phone numbers, calendar details, birthdays, and even memories in our phones, the need to recount them every day disappeared.
Because we can search online for everything, we have theoretically outsourced our memory.
Forgetting your spouse’s phone number is no big deal; it’s in your phone. Now, there is some debate as to whether digital amnesia is real. After all, before Google backed up our contacts lists, we had both telephone company phone books and our diaries. But science does suggest that technology is causing memory problems for many people, so perhaps our reliance on the internet does have some effect.
What Is My Phone Number? Find Out in a Few Steps
We broke down the steps to finding your phone number according to your mobile phone without having to call someone to retrieve it. We’ll start with Android users and then circle back to cover iOS. Running an old phone or using an international SIM card? We’ll also show you how to recover your phone number from your SIM card.
What Is My Phone Number: Android Edition
Android makes finding your number straightforward, but sometimes your success in following this simple method depends on your phone. Your manufacturer, region, or network may play with your device and move your number around.
If you run a standard Android phone built for the U.S. market, you’ll find your number in your contacts app. Tap Contacts and look for the “ME” entry at the top of your list. If you already set up your phone, it sits at the top of your contacts list.
If your phone is new, you might need to set up your profile. How do you know if this is the case? You receive a prompt to “Set up my profile.” If you don’t know your phone number, updating your profile is a problem. So, let’s move to method two.
Regardless of what phone you have, you’ll find your phone number in settings. The correct trail to follow is Setting > About Phone > Status > My phone number.
Some Android phones refer to your SIM card (“SIM” or even “SIM card status”). You might find this once you reach the Status section of your settings. If you find this option, your manufacturer put your number under either “SIM” or “SIM card status.”
Find Your Number on Your iPhone
iOS makes finding your phone number easy in part because Apple almost forces updates on you. Android users may use one of several versions of the device, which complicates things.
If you’re running a version of iOS updated in the last few years, all you need to do is visit your Contacts application.
Apple lists your phone number as the top contact. It’s right at the top of the screen before diving into the alphabetical list.
Find your number another way by looking at your phone settings. Click the Settings application and select Phone. The My Number setting is the first one here and displays your number.
You’ll also visit the My Number section of your Settings if you want to change or update your number if you switch carrier.
Try Your Carrier App
Carriers like T-Mobile and Vodafone install service applications on locked devices. These applications often go neglected in favor of social media and video games, but they’re beneficial when it comes to finding information related to your account including your phone number.
If you have a carrier app installed, open the app. You should find your phone number listed under Account Details, or you may even see it on the app’s home screen.
What About Old SIM Cards?
Do you have an old SIM card that you want to give away or re-use? How do you find the phone number attached?
Don’t worry if you can’t find the supporting documentation. You still have a few options. First, the simplest way is to ask the SIM card carrier. The sales representatives in store should be able to provide you with the phone number by either re-inserting the SIM card or looking up the serial number in their system.
If you want to skip the trip to the store, try calling instead. Dial the customer service number associated with the carrier and read them the serial number printed on the SIM card. They can, in turn, provide you with the associated phone number.
Not all SIM cards come with a number. If you have a brand new SIM card that you haven’t yet activated, there may be no number associated with it. In this case, put the SIM in your phone and follow the carrier instructions to activate it. Once activated, the carrier assigns you a number and will generally share the number with you via text or email. Save this message for future reference.
Finding Your Landline Phone Number
Are you making a call from a landline that isn’t your home phone? There’s a simple way to find the number to give to people to call you back. Try one of these two numbers to find almost any phone number in the United States.
Find Your Own Number
To find your own landline number, all you need to do is dial the following number: 1-800-444-4444. Enter the number and the message on the other end shares what phone you’re calling from.
Find Someone Else’s Number
Need someone else’s phone number and don’t have a phone book handy? You can find someone else’s landline number by calling 1-800-Free-411. Before you dial, you’ll need to know some basic information about the owner of the number like their name and their city.
To get started, dial 1-800-FREE-411
When the service picks up and asks what you want to know, say “phone number.” Then, you’ll need to specify whether the number you want belongs to a:
- Residential landline
- Government landline
- Business landline
The service then asks for the city and state. From here, they’ll ask for the target’s last name. Then, it asks for their first name.
Once you provide the information, the 411 service asks you to confirm it. You need to say “Yes” to continue. If you made a mistake, say “No” and you go through the process again, which gives you time to correct a mistake.
To get the phone number, say “Read it” when 411 asks if you want the number. If you need it a second time, just state “Repeat.”
Recall Your Phone Number Easily
Even if you fall prey to digital amnesia, developers and phone companies make finding your phone number easy. If you can’t find it in your phone, then you’re likely to find it by checking your account or calling into your service provider for a refresher.
Did you find the article helpful? Is digital amnesia real? Share your thoughts in the comments below.