If you’re thinking about getting a new phone, you’re probably wondering about the best way to transfer your personal data such as photos, videos, messages, and contacts from one phone to another. We will explain in detail how to do that whether you’re making the jump from Android to Android, iPhone to iPhone, iPhone to Android, and vice versa.
Transfer Contacts From Android to Android
There are two ways to transfer contacts from an Android to another Android phone.
1. Google Sync
Syncing contacts to your Google account is one of the easiest ways to transfer contacts between Android phones. For the unaware, when you sync contacts, any change that you make on one device will automatically reflect on other devices. This includes adding, editing, or deleting contacts.
This method to transfer contacts proves extremely practical if you want to keep contacts on both phones. However, you can also use it to transfer contacts.
- Open Settings on your first Android phone.
- Go to “Passwords & Accounts”.
- Select your Google account.
- Tap on “Account sync”.
- Enable the toggle next to Contacts.
Tip: On Samsung Galaxy phones, go to “Settings→ Accounts & backup→ Manage accounts→ [Your Google account]→ Sync account→ Contacts”.
- Now, let the contacts sync for a while.
- On your second phone, log in with the same Google account and repeat the above steps to port the contacts to it. Your contacts will automatically appear on the second phone.
- If your second or new phone isn’t with you yet, go to contacts.google.com and log in with the same Google account.
- Check and verify that all contacts have synced properly. Now, whenever you get your new Android phone, follow steps #1 to #4 to sync the contacts.
- If you want to give away the first phone, make sure not to delete the synced contacts from the first phone manually. That’s because those contacts are still syncing to your Google account. If you delete them from the first phone, they will get deleted from the second phone aswell. You should either format the first phone or turn off contact sync on the first phone. For that, repeat steps #1 to #3 and turn off the toggle next to Contacts. Then, delete the contacts.
2. Import and Export Contacts
The idea behind this method is to create a CSV file from your contacts and send it to the new phone. Then, add the contacts using the CSV file on the new phone. Here’s how to do so using the Google Contacts app.
- Open the app on your first phone.
- Tap on “Fix & manage” tab at the bottom.
- Next, select “Export to file.”
Tip: On some Android phones, you might need to tap on the profile picture icon at the top and select Contacts app settings followed by Export.
- A .CSV file will be created. Tap on Save to download the CSV file on your phone.
- Now, you need to send this file to the new phone. You can e-mail it, send it via chat apps, transfer it using a USB cable, or any other sharing method that you like. Once sent, download the CSV file on the second phone.
Pro Tip: You should also back up this file to Google Drive or any other cloud storage service to be on the safer side.
- On your second Android phone, open the Google Contacts app. You can be logged into any Gmail account as this method works independently of your Gmail account.
- Tap on “Fix & manage”.
- This time around choose “Import from file”.
- You might need to select the destination where you want to save the contacts to. Choose a Google account if you want contacts to sync to your Google account. This is a better option. Or, tap on Device if you want contacts to store locally on your new phone.
- Select the CSV file that you downloaded in step #4. The contacts in the CSV file will be added to your Android phone.
Tip: On Samsung Galaxy phones, open the Samsung Contacts app and tap on the three-bar icon followed by “Manage contacts”. Then, tap on Export or Import depending on the step.
We also have a guide which explains how to export and import contacts between Androids using the native import and export features in the Contacts app on OnePlus phones.
If you’re making the switch from an Android device to iOS, you also have several methods at your disposal.
1. Using Move to iOS App
Interestingly, Apple offers an Android app called Move to iOS that lets users transfer data including contacts from Android to a new iPhone. The only drawback of this method is that you need to use it when you are setting up the iPhone for the first time. Check our earlier post where we detail the steps on how to use the Move to iOS app to transfer contacts from Android to iPhone.
2. Sync Google Contacts to iPhone
On iPhone, you can sync and add contacts from services like Google, which is very helpful in transferring contacts. In this method, you will first need to sync your Android contacts to your Google account and then add the same account on your iPhone.
- On your Android phone, follow steps #1 to #4 mentioned in the Google sync method above. Then, follow steps #6 to #7 from the same method.
- Then, on your iPhone, go to “Settings→ Contacts→ Accounts”.
- Tap on “Add Account” and select Google. Add the Google account that you used in step #1 to sync the contacts.
- Once the account has been added, go back to “Settings→ Contacts→ Accounts”.
- Tap on Gmail and enable the toggle next to Contacts. Wait a bit in order to allow all contacts sync.
- Open the “Apple Contacts” app and you should now see your Google contacts in it.
- If you don’t spot the Google contacts, tap on Groups at the top and enable the toggle next to “All Gmail”.
Note: Since we’ve synced the contacts in this method, any change that you make to the contacts on your iPhone or Android will reflect on the other device as well.
3. Export Contacts From Android and Import to iPhone
This method involves exporting contacts from an Android phone as a CSV file and importing them to the iPhone. Once the contacts are imported to iPhone, they will have nothing to do with the contacts on your Android phone. You can edit or delete them on Android and it will not affect the iPhone contacts.
- On your Android phone, follow steps #1-4 mentioned under the “Import and Export” Android section to export your contacts.
- Next, email the CSV file to the email added on your iPhone.
- On your iPhone, open the email or any other app where you sent the CSV file to.
- Tap on the CSV file to view the contacts in it. Then, hit the “Add All Contacts” button to import them to your iOS device. The contacts in the CSV file will be transferred to your iPhone.
Tip: In case tapping on the CSV file doesn’t open it, tap on it again and hit the Share button. Select the Contacts app and press the “Add All Contacts” option.
For those leaving the iOS ecosystem behind, here’s how you can safely port your contacts to your brand new Android device.
1. Export Contacts From iCloud and Import to Android
To export contacts from iPhone, you must first sync the contacts to iCloud. Then, use the iCloud web version to export contacts like we’re going to demonstrate below.
- Open Settings on your iPhone.
- Tap on your name at the top and hit the iCloud option.
- Scroll down and enable the toggle next to Contacts.
- Now, go to iCloud.com from a browser on your computer and log in with the same Apple ID that is registered on your iPhone.
- Click on Contacts.
- Click on the Settings gear icon at the bottom.
- Choose “Select All” from the menu to select all the contacts.
- Click the same Settings icon again.
- Click on “Export vCard” from the options available.
- Download the CSV file on your computer.
- Send the CSV file to your Android phone by e-mailing it or via any other method.
- Now, on your Android phone, tap on the CSV file that you received in step #9 to download it on your phone.
- Open the Google Contacts app.
- Tap on “Fix & manage” at the bottom.
- Press on “Import from file”.
- Select the CSV file from step #10 to add iPhone contacts to Android.
2. Backup iPhone Contacts to Google Contacts Using Google Drive
The Google Drive app offers a backup wizard on iPhone that lets you backup contacts, calendar events, and photos and videos. We will be using this feature to transfer contacts from iPhone to Android. Basically, those contacts will be added to Google Contacts that you have to then sync to your Android phone.
- Install the Google Drive app on your iPhone.
- Open the app and log in with the Google account that you intend to use on your Android phone as well.
- Tap on the three-bar icon at the top and select Settings from the menu.
- Tap on Backup.
- You will see three options – Contacts, Calendar events, and Photos & videos. Tap on Contacts.
- Now, enable the toggle next to “Back up to Google Contacts”.
- Go back and tap on “Calendar events” and “Photos & videos” and turn off the toggle next to them if you don’t want to back up them.
- Once done, press the “Start Backup” option. Wait for Google Drive to backup the contacts.
- Now, on your Android phone, follow steps #1 to #4 mentioned in the Google sync section above. That is, go to “Settings→ Accounts→ [Same Google account used in Google Drive]→ Account sync”.
- Turn on the toggle for Contacts.
- The contacts from your iPhone should show up on your Android phone. Please note that this is a one-way method. It will not keep your iPhone contacts in sync with those on Android in the future.
If you’re just upgrading to a new iOS device, you have two simple options at your disposal when it comes to porting your contacts.
1. Using iCloud Sync
Transferring contacts from iPhone to iPhone is quite easy. You just need to be logged into the same Apple IDs on both iPhones.
- Open Settings on your first iPhone.
- Tap on your name at the top and go to iCloud.
- Enable the toggle next to Contacts. This should sync your iPhone contacts to iCloud.
- Now, on your second iPhone, repeat steps #1 to #3. That should sync the contacts from the first iPhone to the new iPhone. Please make sure that you have added the same Apple ID on the second phone as well.
This method will keep the contacts in sync with each other. If you don’t want that to happen, then turn off the toggle next to Contacts in step #3 on the first phone after all the contacts show up on your second iPhone. Alternatively, you can use the next method.
2. Export Contacts From iPhone and Import on Another
If you want to transfer contacts between two iPhones that are using two different Apple IDs, you can do it by the export and import method.
- Follow steps #1 to #8 mentioned under the “Export From iCloud and Import to Android” section to create a CSV file from contacts on your first phone. Download it.
- Once you have the CSV file, open iCloud.com again in a browser on your computer and now login with the second Apple ID.
Tip: If you don’t have a computer, e-mail the CSV file to the second iPhone. Open the e-mail and tap on the CSV file. Then, tap on Add all contacts.
- Click on Contacts.
- Click on the Settings icon and select “Import vCard” from the menu.
- Select the CSV file that you downloaded in step #1.
- The contacts from one Apple ID will be transferred to the second. Now, add the second Apple ID to your second iPhone.
- Go to “Settings→ [Your name]→ iCloud” on your second iPhone.
- Enable the toggle next to Contacts to sync the contacts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between backup and sync?
Back up is a one-time and one-way process. When you back up contacts from your phone, those get stored in the cloud storage. Any change that you make to the contacts on your phone after creating a backup will not reflect in the backup. You will have to create a backup again if you want to incorporate the changes in the backup.
On the contrary, sync is a continuous and two-way process. When you sync contacts between phones, any change that you make on one phone will show up on the other phone as well.
Should you back up or sync contacts?
I would suggest both. You should occasionally back up your contacts. This is useful if you lose contacts due to an unintentional deletion. Simultaneously, you should also keep the contacts in sync.
What is meant by default account in contacts?
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