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How to back up Android contacts
Are you looking for a way to back up Android contacts? The days of asking Facebook friends to send their digits are long gone. It’s also no longer really necessary to transfer your contacts one by one. There are a bunch of ways to back up your Android contacts. Some are convenient, and some aren’t, but there’s no reason why you should lose all your contacts anymore. We’re here to help you find the best method, so let’s get started.
We also have a general guide for backing up your Android phone, in case you need help storing other parts of your device.
You can back up Android contacts by syncing them to your Google account. Go to Settings > Google > Backup > Google Account data and toggle on the Contacts option. Then open the Contacts app and tap on your profile image. Select Contacts settings > Google Contacts sync settings, and select Also sync device contacts section. Toggle Automatically back up & sync device contacts on.
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Editor’s note: We used a Google Pixel 7 running Android 13. Device manufacturers will often organize and name settings differently. Some of the step-by-step instructions in this post may differ from those on your smartphone.
Back up Android contacts to your Google account
This is the easiest and most convenient way to ensure your contacts are always backed up. Because Google owns Android, its services are very well integrated with the popular mobile operating system. One of the many benefits you can enjoy is saving your contacts to Google’s servers.
Google will constantly sync your contacts. This includes all current contacts, as well as ones you add or delete at any point. Whether your phone suddenly gets destroyed, stops working, or you need to switch devices, those who back up Android contacts to their Google account will always have their numbers in the cloud and ready for download. You need to set it up once, and let it handle all the work.
Additionally, Google will keep all your devices’ contacts in sync, as long as you use your Google account. If you change, add, or delete a contact, everything will sync across your Android phones, tablets, and even iPhones and iPads. We actually cover this in our guide for transferring contacts between Android and iPhone.
How to set up Contacts syncing to Google:
- From your Android device, go to the Settings app.
- Go into Google.
- Select Backup.
- Hit Google Account data.
- Toggle Contacts on.
- Open the Contacts app.
- Tap on your profile image.
- Select Contacts settings.
- Hit Google Contacts sync settings.
- Select your Google account.
- Tap on Also sync device contacts.
- Toggle on Automatically backup & sync device contacts.
Back up Android contacts manually via a VCF file
Some people like things the old-fashioned way or don’t trust the cloud. This is why using a VCF file to back up Android contacts is another prominent way to keep your numbers safe and sound. You can store these wherever you want, including SD cards. Let’s show you how it’s done.
How to create vcf files to store your contacts:
- Open your Contacts app.
- Go into the Fix & manage tab.
- Select Export to file.
- Select where you want to store the contacts.
- Hit Save.
- Your contacts will be exported and saved in your location of choice.
- You can now move that file wherever you wish, including external storage.
Back up Android contacts to your SIM card
The latest Android devices make storing contacts on your SIM card more complicated. Google’s official Contacts app only allows contact imports from the SIM card, not exports. Likewise, you can no longer individually add contacts to your SIM card from said app. This may be because this process is usually unnecessary, as we have more convenient alternatives now.
Some of you might be using manufacturer-made Contacts apps, which may still allow you to transfer contacts to your SIM card. Such is the case with Samsung’s Contacts app.
How to export contacts to your SIM card on a Samsung phone:
- Launch the Samsung Contacts app.
- Tap on the three-line menu button.
- Go into Manage contacts.
- Select Import or export contacts.
- Tap on Export.
- Choose SIM card.
- Select the contacts you want to send to your SIM card. You can also pick Select all.
- Tap on Done.
- Hit Export.
- Confirm by selecting Export again.
- Tap on OK when the process finishes.
Note: These steps, specifically, come from a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus running Android 12.
The process may be similar to other non-Google contacts apps.
Using a 3rd party app
Google allows users to store up to 25,000 contacts.
This feature is being phased out by Google. That said, some manufacturers still make this possible, and third-party apps may help, too.
SIM cards allow you to store up to 250 contacts.
If you use Google’s backup tool, you can log into your Google account on an iPhone, and your contacts will sync.