How to backup Android contacts

If you don’t want to lose your contact list on your phone it is a good idea to take a backup on android.

How to backup Android device.

If you are updating your phone it can be a good idea to backup your contact list before doing so. Usually this is not necessary but if you are unlucky you can lose all your data including your contacts.


How to backup your android contact list

If your contacts appear here your contacts are backed up already


The good news

Thankfully Google has made Android Os in such a way that if you have linked your Android phone to your Gmail, your contacts are most likely already synced with your gmail.

  1. To check this go to your Gmail account.
  2. In the upper left corner under the Google logo press where it says Gmail.
  3. In the drop down that appears choose Contacts.
  4. Your contacts should appear.

If you saw your contact list from your phone in that list you are done. Google has already backed up your contacts.

If you did not find your contacts there are some things you need to do to make sure that they are backed up.

Found something useful why not


How to backup your Android contacts

  1. Go to your phones settings ( if you don’t have a shortcut on your homescreen you can find it in your list of apps )
  2. Scroll though this menu and press the tab that says Back up and reset.
  3. Now what you have to do is make sure the Back up my data tab is checked, and if it is not, check it right now.
This should ensure that your contacts are backed up automatically. As soon as you ad a contact to your phone it will get synced to your Gmail account.
If your phone is lost or you lose it in the toilet or any other action that may lead to involuntarily buying a new phone you can now rest asured that your contact list is intact.

If for any reason you are switching phones it is a good idea to backup you contact data. I can clearly remember in the olden days when one was forced to manually insert all ones contacts into your new phone by writing everyone’s number and name into the contact list one by one.


Another way to backup your Android contacts

  1. Open the contact list on your phone.

    export options Android phone

    Export/import options

  2. Hit the menu button from your contact list.
  3. From the list that appears hit the import/export tab.
  4. This will bring up a list of available export and importing options.
Once you have picked the option that applies to you the list will be backed up. What’s left to do is import the contact list on your new phone.


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About Bertil Hansen
I am the owner and main contributor to this website. Throughout the years I've owned an embarrassing number of Android phones. Too many to mention in fact. Lets just say it started with the HTC legend and I'm now on the Galaxy Note 4.

102 thoughts on “How to backup Android contacts

  1. My itel 1702 is not even letting me reset the phone since I did some update past two months now. I can use most apps including face book et all. I have unstalled and reinstalled. Please what can I do?

  2. my galaxy s duos has shown android 4.0.0.never it updated .stillit shows “updating”

  3. Hello ! Great tip, thank you !
    But I have a problem this tip can’t apparently solve :

    I have a Galaxy Grand 2, since 2 years, and a few months ago, the application “Contacts” had a problem, displaying that it was “updating”…
    I could live with that, but today, a way bigger problem has appeared: the application “Contacts Save” (or something close, I don’t exactly know about how it’s called in english) started to take more and more place in my memory, until it completely filled all storage I have. ALL OF IT, which means I can’t nearly do anything with my phone… Does someone have an answer to that, please ? I’m desperate…

    • sajeevkumarkk says:

      No problem, if one day slow down and I will be waiting, and my watts up contacts are delayed by factory reset. I f get me to the chatting history included

  4. It’s not working for me. My phone is synced with my Gmail account. It won’t let me export my contacts to Gmail and Gmail will not let me import from the phone. I have to idea what to do next. I have it set for automatic back up but I can’t find my contacts anywhere but on my phone.

    • I have the same problem, I click to sync now, but I can’t find any of my contacts in my gmail account

      • In your contacts app, open settings, select “contacts to display”, and select your gmail account, or under “Customized list” make sure you include your gmail account.

    • To fix this problem go on your phone to your contacts, press the left menu button and than merge accounts and choose: ”Merge with google”.

      • Hi. When I click on “merge with google” it says “no phone accounts to merge with google accounts”. On my settings, (on backup and reset), all the boxes are ticked for automatically backing up my data. Yet, on my google account it is saying no contacts have been downloaded. Any ideas of what I am doing wrong?

        • Your phone might not be linked to your Google email account. If you do not receive Gmail message notifications or updates on your phone as you would regular text messages, then this might be the problem.

          Make sure your Andriod phone and Gmail are linked

        • Hi Di Long I have this problem too!! Don’t know what to do next!

        • Go into your settings and under General Setttings select Accounts & Sync. You should have a Google account listed there, so select Google and then you should see your Gmail address- if not then you need to add it- but if it is there then select it and it should bring you to the screen where you can select each item that you want synced between your phone and Gmail account.

          Make sure to tick the box next to Contacts & then sync when you have WiFi unless you have unlimited data! ;)

        • Check all of the above, then:

          on your device go to Contacts/ menu button/ Import/Export/ Export to SIM card.

          once all of your phone’s contacts are on your SIM card, then:

          Go to Contacts/ menu button/ Contacts to display/ select your gmail account/ Import/Export/ Import from SIM card

          Then go to your phone’s main Settings/ Accounts/ Google/ select your gmail address/ and tap ‘Sync Contacts’.

          Your phone contacts should now be available on your Gmail contact list on any other linked device.


  5. Sujeeth Reddy says:

    Thank You Bro

  6. I just want to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this post. I was finally able to understand how to import/export my contacts from my S5 to Google contacts. Your a lifesaver.

  7. Jerry Bourne says:

    How do you save already existing contacts on S5 smartphone to gmail account for backup? It appears only the new contact additions carry over to the gmail account.

  8. also since Google has taken over my voice to text it does a very lousy job compared to what my phone did on its own as you can see from my previous post Bertil you are doing a great service to the public if you could help me remove Google from my android I would be extremely happy it has taken over my phone somehow and really made it non functional compared to factory version thank you keep up the good work

  9. grammar nazis get off the site not everyone has English as their first language and not everyone can spell perfectly people with visual impairments have problems with small keyboards and if they are frustrated and in a hurrythen it is even harder to worry about stupid little spelling mistakes

  10. I see that some of my contacts were backed up to gmail, but not all of them (around 100 are missing). How can i refresh it to get those 100 to gmail? Thanks

    • Hi. Have been through this this morning. Those ones that aren’t syncing, aren’t linked in your device to Googel.

      The easiest way to fix this is to Export your contacts list to SD card, then import it back. It will prompt you to link it to an account – select Google.

      When you add contacts in the future remember to add them as Google contacts and not Device contacts.

      Good luck

  11. Thanks a lot for this page. It helped me alot in backing up my contacts and other stuff. Keep up the good work.
    Thanks again.

  12. Hi
    Can I use the same gmail account to back up my three different android phones
    I prefer to have 3 diff backups in the same gmail account

  13. i have olso same problem
    my google contact number all delate
    so how can i get it back all my google contact number?

  14. i did the sync setting as stated but my phone contacts still did not show in my gmail contact list. what went wrong?

  15. Hi!
    Is there a way to find out if updated phone contacts are automatically synced to your account WITHOUT having to check your phone? I believe I synced my phone to my account so that all changes will be updated; however, I did not go to Backup and Reset. In the event that I lose my phone (having neither checked to make sure the contacts were updated on google nor picked the Backup), will I still have my new contacts?

    Sorry that was a mouthful of a hypothetical…it’s happened to me before and I need to know if my error was not pressing that button!


  16. I am forced to comment to point out the incorrect spelling of “lose”.

    Spelling “lose” as “loose” is completely unacceptable for a website of this calibre. The writer should be sacked for such an elementary mistake which is repeated no less than 3 times. I physically winced each time I read that mistake.

    I think missing the apostrophe on “dont” (which is the third word of the article) is more acceptable than incorrectly spelling “lose”.

    Using the wrong “their, they’re or there” or “to, too or two” would have been less cringe worthy than this error.

    I will be staying away from this site, if such a disgusting elementary mistake is published.

    • Hi, and thank you for pointing out my mistakes.
      I initially started this website to help people with their smartphone problems. Sadly though, English is not my mother tongue, and even though I studied English in school I will likely never be able to write a whole post without making at least one error. My hope is that what I lack in spelling will be made up for with knowledge.
      Lastly I would like to thank you for pointing out the spelling errors in the article. I will correct them to the best of my knowledge.
      All the best.

    • Izeluvz petty tossers says:

      Hey grammar nazi get a HOBBY

    • Jordan,

      ‘Cringeworthy’ is one word, not two, and it should be ‘fewer than 3 times’ rather than ‘less than’ as ‘times’ is a countable noun.

      Beril, you’re doing a fine job, and I’m sure the majority of people appreciate your help.

    • Jordan……GET A LIFE

  17. thnks budy :)

  18. my sister used her phone gmail to sync the contacts of my dad phone (new galaxy s4 mini) but she made a huge mistake!!! when she opened her contacts there where all my dad’s contact in her phone that means they both used one account to sync the phone. And what she did she deleted all the contacts thinking they want be deleted from my dad’s phone!!!
    hes so mad all his business numbers are lost.
    we tried to open or to restor the numbers in her gmail account but nothing!!!

  19. thanks a lot.
    i have successfully created backup of my android contacts on google but a problem i have faced is , there were nearby 950 contacts in my android list but google had created almost 2100 contacts with duplicate contact names ******without phone numbers. kindly let me know the solution for this.

    • Go to your contact list on your phone and hit the three dots to take you to the contacts settings. Press contacts and on the next screen hit contacts to display. From this menu you will be able to select which contacts to display. This way at least you can select not to show the duplicate items, and your contact list won’t be as cluttered.

    • or go to ur gmail. open contacts…and from the drop down menu just above it… choose the option find & merge duplicate contacts

  20. Awesome Explanation of steps. :D
    (Y) Thanks

  21. Vikas Nandanwar says:

    I had exported my phonebook contacts 1060 precise to my gmail account through the exporting procedure of phone contacts.
    where will i get those 1060 contacts from gmail????
    when i checked my full contact list in gmail, it shows 400+ contacts only…
    pls help

  22. I have used gmail to retrieve my contacts to new phones twice before, but last week I had a virus lock my phone! So I had to do hard reset. Then when I linked my phone back to Google account I was so pissed off because there were only 6 contacts listed there and even those had really old phone numbers! I had gotten newer phone numbers from it the last time I got a new phone. What happened to them?
    Also online my Google calendar has all my new Dr apts BUT when I sync my phone with it, none of those dates show up on my phone? Why can I see them online but they won’t down load to phone?

  23. I have damaged my S4 phone and now need to replace the display unit. I want to backup my data before handing it over to the service center guys. Request you to advice on course of action as I can’t see anything on the phone screen.


  24. Errr Save all your phones information with Errr Google Errr No Thanks.
    of coarse we wont share your info doh we sell it on instead and make profiles of everyone

  25. Hello everyone, i just lost my samsung s3 to a snatcher last night. I’m not too sure if I did activate the security and backup options, although it is registered with my gmail account. Pls, can someone teach me on what to do to track or block the phone and how to recover my contacts and sms on it. Thanks

    • Wow no one’s responded…Im sure by now you’ve gotten help but here is a response: you can report your phone stolen to your phone company to have them turn off the phone. You can also turn on your gps BEFORE you report the phone stolen and, hopefully if the phone is on, you can track were the phone is on “google android manager.” In account settings, you can also turn on your “recent places” to see where your phone has been since the time you activated that setting.

      Hope this helps for the future!

  26. Thanks … works perfect…

  27. doesn’t work

  28. go to contact list, tap menu button and chose export, “Export to .vcf” than just open to other android phone and all contact are imported

  29. You are talking about syncing contacts,and not backing them up.
    Backing up contact is a different story then just starting using all of them in gmail(and making a mess)

    • Well, if you sync your contacts to Gmail are they not per definition backed up ?

      • Technically drazen is right. There is plenty of free apps (“super back up” works for me) for backing up. But i assume syncing is what most people are looking for since if you update them in your phone (delete or add) wouldnt you want your “backed up” list to be updated as well?

      • No. If you delete a contact from your phone, you won’t be able to restore it from your Gmail because, being in ‘sync’, it will have been deleted there too. A ‘backup’ will be independent of the source ;)

        • If you delete something from Gmail sync you have 30 days to restore it there (info @gmail help).
          But it still doesn’t make gmail backup work for me. Have had to use vcf export. ;P

  30. Samsung G3

    Open contacts
    select menu
    select Merge with google

    All contacts backing up to google

  31. go to contacts
    share namecard via
    select all
    (via) gmail
    email to self.
    Open email

  32. I have the LG g2 mobile phone and i cannot make my new contacts sync to my Gmail account. Although the box in backing up data is ticked, new contacts are only saved in my phone. any thoughts?

  33. ok leme mention soon ill format my cell n share my past experiances….
    i gues xport contacts in sd card has limitations…
    dont know weather it bakups email and pics coz i neva recheked but i observed it has max 777 contacts capacity … i tried it alot…
    also google sync has proved bit ineficient…
    on my lasy backup
    i copied all in sd card den google backup..
    agn retireved frm sd card and den google sync too!!!!
    basically in any of dez show OVERSMARTNESS of duplicate fix causes chaoes…
    i want a method to bakup SAME TO SAME evn if repeated or whatever cases i have…..
    pls mail me d best possibly method would be really thankfull

  34. tips on samsung default contacts from phone will not be sent to google server even if the sync option way sync phone contacts to google contacts is by clicking ‘settings’ on phone contacts then ‘merge account’, and select ‘google account’.all of the phone contacts will immediately synced to google contacts.find it weird to have such flaw on android and its not been fixed any sort of yet

    • Thanks a lot. i was really gone mad as contacts were not getting sync with gmail in any way.but thanks to your comment and guideline every thing sorted out.hope you will be there for always to guide.

  35. Is there a way to backup only those contacts from Android to Gmail that have phone numbers ? And similarly sync from Gmail contacts to Android only those having phone numbers ? My gmail has lots of contacts but majority of them do not have phone numbers, only email-id.

    Let me know if there is a way, Thanks.

  36. Thank you for your sharing, really like it! And personally, i also use other tool to help me backup up my Android data, including contacts, and more! The one i used most is a tool named iPubsoft, it provides smooth experience!

  37. I’ve a touch viva t2223:-
    1. Cannot connect to the services provider
    2. Procedures of backing up my contacts

  38. My Samsung S3 contact already backup in gmail account. I wonder will the phone constantly update the backup, whenever I add in new contact?

    • If you did not have to do anything to get your contacts synced with your Gmail account your phone is probably set to do so automatically. To make sure you could just add a thought up contact on your phone and check if it winds up on your Gmail.

  39. Yu shud go to import export option first thn select all d contacts thn it wil pop a window yu selecet GMAIL or the mail yu r using on yur phone.
    Login to yur email a/c. thn click the new email which yu just sent. whn yu open that e mail in the middle a pop will appear sayin merge with contact just click it and yur contact r there. Have fun

  40. It works, thanks a lot :-)

  41. I am already following ur instructions but when I navigate to gmail contacts I found only my gmail list. What could be the reason?

    • Sounds like your contacts has not been synced with your Gmail account. Check out contact settings on your phone. Make sure it is set to sync with Gmail

      • I am going crazy!!!! Only some of my contacts are synced with gmail. I have around 2500 contacts and am having trouble getting my (phone) contacts synced to my gmail account. HELP PLEASE!!!!!!

  42. I lost all my contacts by following your unclear instructions!! Google didn’t back up my contacts. You said they would. I lost all my contacts!!! Please be more clear next time

    • Hi Euj
      I was sad to hear that you lost your contacts. I know this is a pain in the rear. However I fail to see how following this tutorial could possibly make this happen.
      Did you really check that your contacts was backed up in your Gmail account ?

      If you could be a little more spesific I would love to clear up anything unclear in the article.

      Bertil Hansen

  43. Here i introduce another simple method to back up your android contacts. Try to search and download MobileGo in your computer and then connect your mobile with your PC. Open this program, and find the contact menu to start this operation.

  44. I have Samsung galaxs3 the porplem is it can’t do it any update software the android still 4.0.4 how i get it the new one 4.1.2 plz help me thnx

    • Hi Osman,
      I think that by the time I am writing this reply you have found the way how to manually update your ICS 4.0.4 to higher versions of Android, possibly KitKat 4.4.4 or Lollipop 5.1.1.
      Anyway, you should root your phone Galaxy S3 and install the latest recovery including CWM (for example). Then only after rooting your phone would you be able to install any custom unofficial version of Android in your phone and enjoy the features.

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