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Google Contacts recovery and backup

Table of Contents

What is Google Contacts

Google Contacts is a service that allows you to store contact data in a handy Google cloud storage. You can add to your address book all the necessary information such as e-mail addresses, phone numbers, contact photos, additional data (which will be visible only to you) and etc. Since the data is stored on Google servers, it can be accessed from any corner of the world where there is internet connection.

As via any other Google service (Drive, Calendar, Mail and etc.) via Contacts you can:

  • create a backup copy of your entire address book,
  • import and export data,
  • sync it with your smartphone.

The close connection between the service and Gmail allows you to add information to Contacts directly from your mail, in order to make it easier in the future to find the right person and send him/her a message in any convenient way.

Android smartphone owners can find and automatically download the contacts they've just created to the address books of their devices, as well as transfer data about new records to the cloud storage. Google Suite standard kit is pre-installed in almost all smartphones running under Android, as well as Google Contacts, so you don't have to do basically anything in order to find and install the required app.

How to restore contacts from Google Contacts

After another update of your smartphone or installation of any app (which has access to the address book), the contacts stored in Google Contacts can simply disappear. Fortunately, this can be easily fixed.

Make sure that your contacts were actually deleted and not hidden

First of all, you should check whether the settings of the app in charge of your address book have been changed. 

How to find old Google contacts:

  1. Open the app that you use to manage your contacts.

  2. Find its menu (usually it looks like three vertical dots) or settings. This can be done via Finder by typing the word “Contacts”

  3. Check whether there is "Contacts for display", "Display contacts", "All contacts" or something like that.

  4. If there is such option, make sure that all possible contacts (not only from WhatsApp or Skype) are displayed in the app.

  5. If you don't manage to find anything similar in the settings, start restoring contacts via Google services (the next chapter).

Restoring the deleted items from Google Contacts

Since Google Contacts is a cloud storage, it has a feature of restoring previously deleted data. Nevertheless, there is a limitation: only the contacts that were deleted from your address book less than 30 days ago are stored in the Recycle Bin.

In the case of an accidental deletion, for example, an app did it after it has been installed, or it happened due to the wrong syncing settings), this time span is quite enough.

The sequence of actions when restoring deleted contacts:

  1. Go to your Gmail Inbox.

  2. Click on the dots in the top right corner next to your profile pic.

  3. Select "Contacts". The service will open in a new tab.

  4. In the menu on the left find "Undo changes". It might be hidden by default so press "More" and the list with import, export, print and restore features will open.

  5. To restore Google contacts press "Undo changes" and choose for how many days or hours ago you want to roll back the state of your address book. If none of the options satisfies you, just select "Custom" and specify the required number of days (but no more than 30).

  6. Confirm the changes and check whether the contacts are restored.

You can recover your lost Gmail contacts in the same way since all Google services are interconnected, Google Contacts recovery will also include your email.

How to retrieve deleted contacts from your phone

When buying a new smartphone running under Android or after an accidental damage of your device address book, restoring Google Contacts will be much easier, if:

  1. Go to your smartphone settings and find "Account" or "Accounts" (depends on the version of your Android).

  2. Select the linked Google account or add it, if you have a new phone.

  3. Mark what you would like to sync: update data from all the available services or only contacts.

  4. Click on the three vertical dots in the top right corner of the screen and select "Sync".

  5. Then the process of updating the information in your phone will start, as a result of which all addresses from Google Contacts will appear in the address book of your device.

The other method of recovering phone contacts is via a backup copy. If you know in advance, that your address book will be cleared, you can create a file with all the necessary information:

  1. Launch "Contacts" app on your device.

  2. Find "Manage contacts" in the menu.

  3. In the opened menu go to "Import/export contacts" - "Export".

  4. Specify the account you want to back up.

  5. Save it locally by clicking "SD card" or "Internal storage".

  6. Tap an "Export" button. 

A tip: you can make things easier by enabling automatic mode for saving address book backups to Google Drive. In order to do this

  1. Go to your smartphone settings,
  2. Find "System" section,
  3. Select "Backup",
  4. Toggle on "Upload to Google Drive".

Now your backups will be automatically stored in the cloud storage.

Accordingly, you can recover Google contacts from a saved VCF file as follows:

  1. Go to the settings and select "Google".
  2. Open "Tools" section and find "Contact Recovery".
  3. Now you have to select the account and file from which you want to copy the contacts.
  4. Start the process by clicking "Restore" and wait for the notification from the system stating that the operation was successfully completed.

How to find old contacts in Google Contacts

If recovery was successfully completed, but the desired contact didn't appear in the list, open Google Contacts and select "Other contacts" in the left menu. The system automatically stores there the data of people with whom you have ever interacted within Google services. These contacts aren't shown in the main list.

Questions - Answers

[Lost all contacts and Google account]

I lost all contacts on Android due to reset. I remember my old google account id but I forget my account password. I could give you a proof that old account is mine. But google does not accept it. Please help in restoring all my apps , contacts, images..etc.

[Recover deleted contacts]

I deleted contacts on my android phone which was linked to my gmail account though I wasn't using it only to find out on my iphone they got deleted too how will I recover them am really stressed

Vlad Brown, USA, Buffalo, WY

Vlad is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in data recovery with 15 years of experience. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions and answer them. 

His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions and provide answers to them, write proven manuals, be the website technical support and also run a Youtube channel.

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