How to Move All Contacts From Phone to Google on Android

Ben Stegner 04-03-2016

Contacts are a central part of our phones; without them, we’d be stuck memorizing dozens of numbers. Thus, it’s a huge problem when you lose your contacts if you upgrade to a new phone or lose yours.


Android beginners might not know 9 Things Not to Do When Getting Your First Android Phone These common pitfalls should be avoided for the optimal Android experience. Read More that you can save your Android contacts to your Google account instead of just your device, meaning that they’re backed up and immediately available from any device instead of being only on your phone.

If you’re just starting to use Android, you can make sure you only save contacts to Google, but what if you already have a ton saved on your device?

The process to move them varies depending on your phone’s manufacturer, but it’s pretty simple: head to the Contacts app (People on some phones) and click the three-bar menu in the top-right (or press the Menu button on a Samsung phone).

Under Contacts to Display, choose Device to show only non-backed-up entries. Again in the three-bar menu, choose Import/Export; you can then export to a .vcf file and save it anywhere on your device. If your phone forces you share it instead of saving it, just send it to yourself in a text message.

This .vcf file you exported contains all of your non-Google contacts. Open it (either through a file browser app if you saved it, or by tapping on it in your text messages) and your phone should ask if you want to import it. Confirm this, and be sure to choose your Google account as the save destination. Now you can rest assured that you won’t lose them!


If you also use an iPhone or iPad, check out how to sync iOS contacts to your Gmail account 3 Methods to Sync Your iPhone Contacts to Gmail Need to sync your iPhone contacts to Gmail? Here are several methods to back up and sync all your contacts to a Google account. Read More as well.

Image Credit: igor.stevanovic via

Explore more about: Contact Management, Google Now.

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  1. Anonymous
    March 5, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    on Verizon SG5, when I click on 'export to device storage', I get 'your contacts will be exported to /storage/emulated/o/contacts.vcf'. Now what?

    • Ben Stegner
      March 5, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      That means you've saved your VCard file to that location. Now you need to browse to it (using the default Samsung file browser or an alternative free one like Astro) and click on it. You should then get the option to import.

      • Anonymous
        March 6, 2016 at 3:37 am

        It worked! Thank you! I was actually on the phone with Verizon a few weeks ago and the tech was going to talk me thru moving contacts to Google but we were on for so long with other issues that I had to cut the session short before we got to moving. So again, Thank You!

  2. Trinity
    March 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    thanks, Ben, i'll give that a go.

    • Ben Stegner
      March 5, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      I think that will work for you! Let me know if it doesn't.

  3. Trinity
    March 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    and for iPhones?

    • Ben Stegner
      March 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      It's a bit different on iOS, but still easy. If you're not already logged into your Google account on your iPhone, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars > Add Account and add Google. Then you can enable contact sync and send them all over.

      If you don't want to do that, you can also just export your contacts to a VCF and import it at

      This Stack Exchange post has more details: