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How to back up Android contacts

Losing your contacts can be a messy situation, so save yourself some trouble!
By
May 23, 2022

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 plethora 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.

More: How to backup your Android phone

QUICK ANSWER

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 app settings > Google Contacts sync settings, select your Google account, and go into Manage settings under the Also sync device contacts section. Toggle Automatically back up & sync device contacts on.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Editor’s note: We used a Google Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 12. Device manufacturers will often organize and name settings differently. Some of the step-by-step instructions in this post may be different from those on your smartphone.


Back up Android contacts to your Google account

Google Search stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

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 take care of all the work.

How to set up Contacts syncing to Google:

  1. From your Android device, go to the Settings app.
  2. Go into Google.
  3. Select Backup.
  4. Hit Google Account data.
  5. Toggle Contacts on.
  6. Open the Contacts app.
  7. Tap on your profile image.
  8. Select Contacts app settings.
  9. Hit Google Contacts sync settings.
  10. Select your Google account.
  11. Under Also sync device contacts, select Manage Settings.
  12. Toggle on Automatically backup & sync device contacts.

Related: How to transfer contacts from Android to iPhone

Back up Android contacts manually via a vcf file

MicroSD card slot stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

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. Let’s show you how it’s done.

How to create vcf files to store your contacts:

  1. Open your Contacts app.
  2. Go into the Fix & manage tab.
  3. Select Export to file.
  4. Tap on the three-line menu button.
  5. Select where you want to store the contacts.
  6. Hit Save.
  7. Your contacts will be exported and saved in your location of choice.
  8. You can now take that file and move it wherever you wish, including external storage.

Also: These are the best SD cards you can buy

Back up Android contacts to your SIM card

SIM card - back up Android contacts

The latest Android devices make storing contacts on your SIM card more complicated. Google’s official Contacts app allows only contact imports from the SIM card, but 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. If you’re using Samsung’s app, you have to hit the three-line menu button, go to Manage contacts, hit Import or export contacts, select Export, choose SIM card, and tap on Export.

The process may be similar to other non-Google contacts apps.

More: These are the best travel SIM cards and local options

Using a 3rd party app

Google Play Store on smartphone stock photo 2 - back up Android contacts
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Plenty of 3rd party apps make it simple to back up Android contacts. There’s Titanium Backup, Easy Backup, and many more. Check them out!

Here: The best backup apps for Android


FAQs

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.