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Creating a backup copy of your contacts on Android

Submitted on 02/25/2019

What is a backup and why is it useful

First of all, backup copy is a safeguard of your data. This especially relates to contacts, i.e. names, phone numbers, email addresses and other useful information which can be lost after an update, untrusted software installation or a system failure. In order to avoid such unpleasant situation, we recommend to think about backing up and syncing in advance.

Manual backups usually takes some time and requires a lot of attention from the owner of a smartphone. Of course, it's not the most convenient method, but if for any reason you lose your contacts, you can easily restore them from a previously created backup. Therefore, we suggest regularly creating archives with all the data you find important and then save them in a cloud storage and the internal memory of your smartphone since keeping the same information in several different places increases the chance of successful recovery.

Here are the most popular methods of Android contacts backup.

How to backup contacts to Google account

This method is the easiest one since all Android smartphones are directly connected to Google services. You can set up an automatic synchronization of all the contacts added to your address book with your Google account via standard features.

1. Go to Chrome "Settings - Manage your Google Account";

2. Find "Google Account" section there (its name depends on the version of your Android);

3. Now choose your Google account;

4. Sync settings will open. You don't have to mark all the points as it's enough to check "People & sharing  - Contacts".

Note: this method is good due to the automation of the process, but it requires a permanent connection to the Internet and to the Google-account linked to your smartphone (the one you have access to).

Backing up via a VCF-file

If you don't want to rely on autosyncing and prefer creating backups manually, give a try to the standard export of data to a VCF-file.

1. Launch Google built-in app Contacts

2. Open the menu (press on three vertical dots or horizontal bars) and find "Settings - Manage contacts" there

3. A list of possible options for further actions will open and you have to find the item "Import / Export contacts"

4. Click on "Export - Sd card" and wait for the process to complete

Done! And the file is saved in the memory of your device. Now you can transfer it to any convenient location: a USB-drive, cloud storage, home computer and etc. You can also send it to your own mail. In fact, it's similar to a cloud storage, but in order to get access to the file there is no need to go, for example, to Google Drive.

Restoring contacts from a backup copy

  • Go to the main settings of your smartphone
  • Find "Google" section there
  • In the menu "Services" click on "Restore contacts"
  • Select the account from which you want to restore data
  • The system will also prompt syncing the contacts from your SIM-card, but you can disable this option, if recovery only from a previously saved file is required
  • After you specify the source of data, press "Restore" and wait till the end of the process.

The standard recovery procedure only affects the contacts that are missing in the selected account. If a contact is already there, the system will skip it.

Automatic backing up to Google Drive

If for any reason you don't want to create backups manually, you can enable automatic Google contacts backup:

  • Go to "Settings";
  • Select "System" and "Backup";
  • Find "Upload to Google Drive" and enable this function.

Note: if you need to restore contacts not from the standard Google app, but from a third-party one (for example, WhatsApp messenger or any mail program), no recovery methods via built-in tools will help since you have to reinstall the selected app.

Export contacts to a SIM-card

Backing up to a file or Google account isn't the best option for everyone, for example, for those who don't use the accounts linked to their smartphones. In such case, you can simply export  all your existing contacts to a SIM-card. This method also suits those who plan to change their phones, but want to preserve their numbers.

  • Open Contacts app;
  • Go to the menu and find "Import /export" or "Export" there;
  • Find "Copy contacts", "Export from a SIM" or anything like that (the wording depends on the version of your Android);
  • Then check all the contacts you want to copy to the selected SIM card and confirm your actions.

Backing up via Super Backup & Restore

Since the standard methods of creating a backup copy involve active participation of a user in the process, some errors might occur during the process of backing up. In order to avoid them, you can use Super Backup & Restore app.

How to backup Android phone contacts:

  • Install the app on your smartphone. You can download it for free from Google Play app store
  • Fire it up and go to "Contacts"
  • Your further actions depend on your needs. For example, you can save the backup copy of contacts to the internal memory of your phone or send a file with the backup to a cloud storage
  • The app allows you to configure the creation of backups on a schedule. This point will appear right before you're going to unload contacts

Super Backup & Restore also has the capability of deleting the file with contact data after it's uploaded to a cloud, it can automatically send the backup to your Google-mail, it downloads large files only when there is an active Wi-Fi connection and it's able to recover lost information from previously saved copies.

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