How to restore Android contacts

This is how you restore your android contacts if you bought a new phone or accidentally deleted them from your phone.

It may be that I am getting old, but I can clearly remember a time when getting a new phone meant hours of manually transferring my contact lists from  the old phone to the new one. Thankfully this is not the case anymore. In this day and age you can have them automatically transferred to your new phone the moment you connect it to Wifi or a mobile data connection.

In this tutorial I will show you how to restore your contacts from your Gmail account in the case your phone did not do so automatically the moment you set it up. If you are not sure if you remembered to backup your contacts before you wiped your old phone let me first show you how to check if your contacts was backed up.

  • On a PC head on over to your Gmail account.
  • In the upper left corner of your browser window click where it says Gmail next to a downwards pointing arrow.
  • From the pull down select contacts, to see a list of all the contacts saved to your Gmail account.
  • If no contacts were present and you no longer have your old phone, or you have resetted it to factory settings you are up the creek. Sorry, There is nothing more that can be done.
  • If the list was empty and you still have your old phone, check out this tutorial on how to backup your Android contacts before proceeding. It will show you in detail how to easily backup your contacts to your Gmail account.
Check Android contact list

This is where you check your contact list in through Gmail account

Ok, now you are ready to proceed.

How to restore your Android contacts

  1. First of all you need to make sure that you are logged in to your Google account on your new phone. The way to do so is pretty universal across all cell phone brands, but small differences may occur. You are going to have to head on over to your phones settings. They can be found  in the apps folder of your phone.
  2. Once there you will have to navigate your way to the accounts section. From there choose add account. Add a Google account, and make sure you use the same account as you do when you log in to your Gmail on your computer.
  3. When you have added your Google account to your phone head back and press the newly added Google account.
  4. Press your Gmail address to bring forth a list of things you want synced.
  5. Make sure Contacts is ticked of. If not do so now.
  6. Your contacts will sync with your new phone.
  7. If this solved your problem and your contacts has now been restored why not hit the Google plus button to make sure everyone else finds this tutorial


How to restore Android contacts

Log in to your Google account to restore contacts to your new smartphone

Your contacts should now be completely restored to your new phone. Head on over to your contact list to see for yourself.

If you still can’t find any contacts there is another thing to take into consideration. The Android cell phone platform is very versatile, and one of the many options you have is that you can choose which contacts you want your phone to display. This means that your phone could be set to not display the contact list you want to use. Let me tell you how to check that your contacts has been set up the correct way.

  1. Open your contacts list.
  2. Hit the three dots or your menu button if your phone has one, and press settings.
  3. press your finger where it says contacts, and press where it reads, contacts to display.

You will now find yourself at the point in the settings menu where you can choose which contacts to display. All you have to do now is tick of the one or ones you want your phone to display.

Your Android contacts should now be restored to your new phone. If you are still having problems leave us a note in the comments section. myself or someone from the community will try to help you.

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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.

30 thoughts on “How to restore Android contacts

  1. Mine doesn’t show contacts in the sync menu of my Google account in settings… This is the first time I’m experiencing this. I usually make use of my Google account as a saving option for my contacts.. .. Help

  2. Hi

    I am in a real quandary…my Samsung s5 keeps deleting some of my contact information really randomly…my contacts are stored in google contacts and when I look on a PC the contacts are still there but are not displaying on my phone contacts….this obviously means that I cannot finds people’s numbers to either phone or text them or even whatsapp msg them as their numbers not showing up there either. I am a real thicko when it’s come to anything technical so please can you help. I have turned off the sync and turned it back on again and I have tried to uninstall Google and reinstall but I don’t think I am doing it correctly as my contacts information does not disappear when I try to uninstall Google which you would think it would if the Google account was deleted. I am occasionally storing deleted numbers again on to contacts which then means I have a duplicate on my Google account on the PC but then randomly that contact on my phone will be deleted again so it’s seems to a waste of time to keep doing that (this is for lots of contacts too)

  3. Denny Millar says:

    About half my phone contacts disappeared for no apparent reason from my M8; I had my gmail account set on phone as backup; when I hit the restore contacts button on gmail page, I only get (mostly) the contacts with email addresses, but most of the ones that are just name and phone number are still gone…I did the contacts to display thing, tried every restore function in the phone itself, still no phone number contacts. I have the dialer app “ex dialer” installed as my dialpad and contact list…any idea if that is the problem? I’ve lost about 50 phone numbers, not acceptable…

    • Hi could you get it restored. I also have the same problem

      • I think you should try about the 3rd party recovery tool like Wondershare or FonePaw Android Data Recovery which are popular software and easy to use as well. You can recover deleted contacts, messages, WhatsApp messages, photos, call logs etc.

  4. DeMarion Farmer says:

    accidentally deleted the phone because all the contact names where showing, however upon further inspection it was only my emails that came down from the gmail folder is there any way this can be fixed? I really need my contacts.

  5. Nancy Lyons says:

    my Samsung S4’s screen is cracked and is black. How can I transfer my contacts to my PC?

  6. Dave Thomlinson says:

    Samsung S4, I accidently clicked on move my contacts to Google, instead of copy. Now I can’t get them back to my phone, although I can get them if I choose contacts to show and choose Google. However, since a recent software up date, if I go into setting and then accounts and choose Google I get a message unfortunately Settings has stopped working. I have other account and these are all fine. Therefore it appears it is a Google issue. I know form research there are lot of people experiencing this since the update. But not on the new phones.

    Does anyone have any ideas, I would be grateful, I am due to upgrade to S7 and want contacts on phone.

    • Did you find a solution to this? I have the same problem, my contacts are all in google but not on my device. I can view them if I select Google but I want them on my device (I have an S6) I have followed all the instructions on a number of different websites and nothing seems to work.

  7. My android phone was registers with an gmail account. Now the same account was used in other android phone as well. Due to this there were issues of contacts being shared in each others phone. So I decided in one to delete this account and register with a new account.
    So what I did was I removed the original account after confirming the option of all data used with this account will also be removed. Now after removing this account all my contacts stored in phone memory also got lost.
    Plz Plz Help me to get my contacts back.

    • I have the exact same problem! I kept getting an error message today from my google account about my password. Kept typing it and getting frustrated because the page would just close and give me the error message again 2 minutes later. I deleted the account and also accepted the option of all data being removed with the account. I changed the password to my account and then used the same email account as the main google account. I had not realized my contacts had been removed until i got a text message and noticed no name was displayed. I have been searching everywhere and cannot find my cell phone contacts anywhere. It’s urgent and i need help! Did anyone ever give you a solution?

  8. Bill Valentine says:

    My 2016 Juning Android has been nothing but problems from the start, when I got it a copule of months ago.
    Until today, I had no problem calling up addresses to email, but for whatever reason the phone stopped accessing. My gmail account is still installed, but I can’t correct this which means I’m losing a lot of addresses.
    I can’t wait to go back to an iPhone.

  9. I meant to say that my contacts were restored by following these easy directions. Thank you!

  10. I am so thankful. Everything had to be wiped off my phone after I transferred my contacts and photos off my android phone to my gmail account. I am amazed at how easy and it worked!!

  11. Thanks for sharing, yes, we can still recover lost android phone data with some android data recovery app, and most of them are very easy to use. Try Coolmuster Lab.Fone for Android.

  12. Hi there
    I had copied my SIM contacts to my Google account (gmail) and I reset my phone after that but now I cannot restore that contacts from the Google.
    please help me out to get my contacts back.

  13. Nesreen Elkhalifa says:

    Iwod like to restore my Google contacts

  14. pls help not able to get my all contacts in my moto g phone

  15. Kulbhushan Roy says:

    I have bought a new android phone i.e. one plus x and I had synced my contact in old phone with Google but when I log in into the new phone it does not show the contacts.

  16. I even could not see “Sync Apps”, “Sync contacts”, “Sync calendar”. Can anyone show me how to click into that? Thanks

  17. P.BARANIDHARAN says:

    Hi, accidentally all my HTC phone memories (contacts, messages) are disappeared phone setting also i have tried all the above said methods still i am not able to get my lost details.someone please help me in this, i really need those details back.please help.

  18. Faheem Mohammad says:

    Hi Sir,
    Even though I synced my google account, I dint get any contact in my device an there in google I had lost all my contacts by restoring contacts. so what shud i o now sir?

  19. Hi, I thought copying the complete contents of both Removable Disk Drives that appear when I plug my phone into my computer would be sufficient to back up my phone. After a factory reset I have no contacts as expected. However, I thought I could simply copy a contacts folder back to my phone and my contacts would be restored. Now I’m fearing that this is not the case. Does anyone know where I might look for help?

    • If you failed to backup your contacts intentionally it might just be the case that Google backed them up for you without knowing it. Check out the following tutorial to see if your contacts got backed up in your Gmail account :
      The article was written to show people how to do it but in most cases Google just does this for you. Hope this helps.

  20. I have a Sony Xperia phone (basic pre-paid phone), and it gives me no option to sync my contacts. My Nexus, which is temporarily disabled, is able to sync all of my Google contacts.

    My Sony phone has my Google account on it, but for some reason it won’t sync my contacts.

  21. Mekala Srikanth says:

    Without copying contacts from device to sim/ not sync contacts to the google account too we reset the factory settings. Now how can we get back contacts which was vanished. Kindly guide and help on the same.

  22. Dhirendra Singh says:

    I have bought a new Moto X Play from flipcart, in old phone buy back scheme. I synched my contact list from my old phone, HTC ONE, to gmail account but it wasn’t synched and reset the factory setting before handing over it to the courier boy. When i checked the list, through my gmail account, in my new phone, it showed only 150 contacts whereas i have more than 3000 contacts.
    Can u please help me, how can i restore my contacts without old phone and without synching? I have the EMIE no. of my old phone.


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