Move Android phone contacts
Marie Brewis explains how to move your contacts to a new phone, even if you are using a new SIM
Back up contacts to Google
If you are moving from one Android phone to another, backing up your contacts to Google is the easiest method for transferring them to a new device. Plus it has the added benefits of making those contacts available on any device you later upgrade to, and saving them to Google’s servers in the event that you lose your phone.
Note that the various custom interfaces for Android phones means the instructions will vary slightly by model, but all will be roughly the same as is outlined below. • Open the Contacts or People app on your phone • Look for a Settings menu, which may be under the heading More • Choose Import/Export, which will likely be under Manage contacts • Select Export, then select to export your contacts to the device storage • The contacts will be stored as a vCard file, which you can either send to the new phone (over Bluetooth or email) and follow the same process but import the vCard rather than export it, or you can upload it to your Google account online. We’ll deal with the latter • You will need to transfer that vCard file to a PC or laptop, whichever way works best. You could email it or transfer it over Bluetooth, upload it to (and then download it from) Google Drive, or simply plug the phone into the PC using a USB cable and drag-and-drop the file • Head to google.com/contacts and choose Import Contacts • Click Choose file to browse to the vCard now stored on your PC • Click Import • These contacts will now be saved on your Google account and immediately accessible on any device on which you are signed into that account
If you are moving from iPhone to Android, you will need to sync your contacts to iCloud in the Settings and export a vCard from there, or use a third-party app to manage the transfer.
Back up contacts to SIM
• As above, open the Contacts or People app on your phone • Look for a Settings menu, which may be under the heading More • Choose Import/Export, which will likely be under Manage contacts • Select Export, then set it to export your contacts to the SIM card • Take out your SIM and pop it into the new phone, provided that it is the same size slot as the one you are removing it from • You may be prompted to choose whether or not you want to use SIM contacts; if so state yes
Use a third-party app to move from Android to Android or iPhone to Android
We’ve explained how to transfer contacts directly to a new phone or to your Google account using a vCard. Third-party apps do the same thing, but they simplify the process. One we’ve used in the past, and is ideal for transferring contacts from Android to Android and from iPhone to Android, is MCBackup – My Contacts Backup. This is a free app, available for both iPhone and Android. • Launch the App Store or Google Play • Search for and install My Contacts Backup • Open the app and give it permission to access your contacts when prompted • Tap the big green Backup button • Tap the big blue Send button • Select an option to send the file to your new device. This will largely depend on what apps you have on your old phone, but as a guide we were offered Gmail, WhatsApp, Messages, Dropbox, Google Drive, Skype, OneNote, Android Beam, Bluetooth and OneDrive • When you receive the vCard file on your new phone, tap it to open it and choose Save. Alternatively, import the vCard file via Contacts/People, Settings, Manage contacts, Import. You will not need to have MCBackup installed on your new phone to import the contacts
Use software preinstalled on the new phone
Some Android phones have software preinstalled that simplifies the process of extracting data, such as contacts, from your old phone. For example, Motorola offers Moto Migrate, which can transfer your contacts and other data from your old phone in just a few steps.
This will form part of the setup process on the new phone, and all you’ll need to do is follow the prompts. The phones will be connected via Bluetooth, perhaps using NFC to facilitate that pairing, then your photos, videos, text history, call history and SIM contacts will be copied from one to the other. The older phone doesn’t need to be an Android phone or a smartphone, but it does need to support Bluetooth.