How to import Android phone contacts to Gmail contacts

If you set up your Google account using your Android phone, or you added contacts to your phone but didn’t set them as Google account contacts, you will find they’re not synced to your Google account. This means that they’re not available as contacts when composing messages, and worse, you’re not using your Google account as a backup in case your phone is lost or damaged, or you swap phones.

You can easily fix this by doing the following steps from your Android phone:

  • Open Contacts
  • Hit menu > Import/Export
  • Export to SD card, then hit OK to confirm.

After a few moments, your data will be exported.

Next, we delete all contacts, to prevent confusion

  • In Contacts, hit menu > delete > Select All > delete

If you don’t have this option, try Delete All Contacts from Android Market.

(If you’re concerned about deleting your contacts before re-importing them, you can always import them, then resolve the duplicates manually, but you will have stale contacts in your phone. Deleting your contacts then re-importing them a second time will take care of that.)

Lastly, re-import all the contacts to your Google account

  • Hit Import/Export again
  • Select Import from SD Card
  • Select Save contact to… (your Google account) NOT phone

After a few moments, your data will be re-imported, and synced with your Google account online. Note that it may take up to a few minutes for the contacts to start appearing in your Google account.

If you mistakenly import multiple times, you may end up with duplicates in your online Google account. To fix this, simply open more > Find and Merge duplicates from your Contact manager as shown below:

Yes, I really do have 329 contacts.

Note: It is not possible to preserve group information during an export/import. It’s not supported by Google.

Questions and comments are welcome below, thank you!

82 thoughts on “How to import Android phone contacts to Gmail contacts”

  1. I am using samsung galaxy ace plus..i have merged all the contacts to my google account now it shows small (g) symbol in every contact… Now i want to unmerge contact but there is no option to unmerge the contact…though there was a option to merge which i had use to merging contact,…..plz help me how to unmerge contact from google account?

    1. i did the same like you .. and i also failed to return them back by direct method
      so i inport them to sd card then transfer to phone

  2. As a fellow droid user [Motorola Bionic], I can understand your pain.

    Do you want to not see the contact while looking at your Gmail list of accounts? or do you want to remove your Gmail contacts from your phone?

    For the latter, try [on your phone]
    Contacts > Menu > Settings > Contacts Account
    Uncheck “Google – Show Gmail Contacts”

    You can also uncheck “Facebook – Display Facebook Contacts”.

    You can also check “Show Contacts With Phone Numbers Only”. — This is handy if you happen to want some of your Gmail contacts that have ph# to show in your phone contact list.

    I or someone else will need to get back to you in regards to doing this from your Gmail account on a PC.

  3. Thanks for posting this.

    Works with most versions of Android. I last did it on Android 3, but it also works perfectly well with Android 4.

    Thought I’d help with keywords that I searched on Google which were … Android 4 move contacts phone gmail, though Move contacts from phone to gmail on Android 4 might be more appropriate!

  4. works great. Thanks. Further if we set “add new contact” to “gmail”, this should work perfectly as a cloud contact list.

  5. Thank you, this is helpful.
    I was a bit concerned about having to delete all contacts BEFORE the import, I preferred to first see that all indeed syncs. So I just exported to SD card and then imported to Google creating duplicate entries and then merged them later through the contacts manager in Google. Thanks a lot for this helpful post!

  6. Thanks a lot!
    Very Helpful, such a simple solution it should have been obvious. However, this solution never occurred to me.

  7. First, this application was very helpful. Thank you.

    However, I had made extensive use of Groups within my Contact list, all of which was lost when I imported my 551 contacts back into my phone.

    Is there a method of preserving the Group information? E.g., had I created the same groups in my gmail account, would the contact-group associations been preserved.

  8. I am not techie :) I have andriod HTC Inspire.
    I followed the above instructions as follows:
    —————————————
    •Open Contacts
    •Hit menu > Import/Export
    •Export to SD card, then hit OK to confirm.

    After a few moments, your data will be exported.

    Next, we delete all contacts, to prevent confusion
    •In Contacts, hit menu > delete > Select All > delete

    If you don’t have this option, try Delete All Contacts from Android Market.

    Lastly, re-import all the contacts to your Google account
    •Hit Import/Export again
    •Select Import from SD Card
    •Select Save contact to… (your Google account) NOT phone
    ——————————————————————————
    Where can I see phone numbers of all the contacts that I sent to Google account?
    Also, Where can I see the phone of all my contacts on my phone since I deleted as listed above in the step 2?

    The Vcard file size is only 1KB on the card. Please help.
    Thanks,Ram

    1. I’m facing the same problem.
      The contacts have been transferred, i.e, fields related to name and email-id, however, no phone number has been transferred to google.
      Plus I have waited for more that 12 hours for them to appear on my gmail account. Can any1 plz help me out with this?

      Or give me an alternate way to transfer my contacts from android to iphone

      1. I wish someone would answer your question because I did everything (except for deleting my contacts). But when I login to my gmail account and go to contacts they are not there! Did you ever find the answer? Or did it take 6 days to show up like someone else’s did? Thanks.

  9. I had to get a replacement phone and this is not the first time but my contacts numbers have just disapeered from my gmail acct. I’ve tried everything. I really would like my numbers. Can you help?

    1. You say that your contacts’s numbers have “disappeared” from your gmail account (I assume that you are checking your gmail contacts on the actual website)

      Can you confirm that they were ever there in the first place? Maybe your contacts with numbers were stored solely on the phone?

      If you’ve still got your old phone, you can try the tip I’ve posted below.

    1. First, did you try a reboot of the device? That can often fix random issues like yours.

      If that doesn’t work, you can import your contacts file (which was generated by the export process) directly into Gmail.

      1. Get the backed up contacts file (.vcard or .vcf, etc) which should be in the root directory of your phone onto your computer. Several ways to transfer files from phone to computer: connecting phone to computer and accessing it as if it was a hard drive, using a service like Dropbox, Bluetooth file transfer, etc.
      2. Goto http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=183711 and follow steps 3-7.

      Now, as long as your phone is synced with your Gmail account, those contacts should be available to you on your phone.

  10. Don’t know which Android versions this article applies to, but on Android 2.1, there is a better way:

    1. Contacts -> Menu Button -> Manage Contacts -> Backup to SD card (just a backup in case soemthing goes wrong like for Jeff above me).
    2. In the Manage Contacts menu again, select “Copy Contacts”
    3. For “Copy contacts from” choose phone
    4. Hit select all
    5. Hit copy to
    6. Choose your gmail account
    7. Done

    If you’re on a Samsung phone (tested on Galaxy Note), the transfer might be even easier. You might see a “Merge with Google” option in Contacts -> Menu

    To Jeff, are you sure you’ve got your gmail account selected under Contacts -> Menu -> Display options

  11. the problem was that i used the facebook contact sync app to get profile pictures and birthdays from my friends, so my backup file got about 21mb. I made another backup without it and the file were about 900kb, that solved the problem!

  12. My HTC Desire S has a “Move contacts” menu option where I can choose which type of contacts to move and where to. Very simple, but in fact they are not moved, but copied. So afterwards there is both a phone contact and a Google contact and the two are linked. If you then show only phone contacts and delete them, the linked Google contact is also deleted! I believe the same problem applies to the solution by Musharraf above. The only solution I found was to first manually go through all linked contacts and unlink them and then delete the phone contacts.

  13. I have a funnier problem. I downloaded and installed the Gmail app; before I knew what was going on, all my Gmail contacts got “synch’ed” with the phone, and the Contacts list of the phone got stuffed with contacts that have no phone numbers at all, only email. OK, I can live with it. But now I’d like to switch the provider, so I need to back up my contacts. Where better than in Gmail, right? Wrong.

    I tried the method listed at the start of this thread. All works fine (but I did not delete all the contacts from the phone memory) except for the last part: Gmail does not appear in the list of “Copy to” options. :( So I have all the phones and contacts backed up to SD card – and?

    Any ideas how to handle the situation?

    Thanks in advance!

  14. Much appreciated!!! I almost fell over when I saw everything being deleted from my phone, I thought I had more contacts that what I actually did! #ego….lol, but they were all imported using your method! Thank you, thank you!!!

  15. hi, i have followed all the steps u gave but to only one thing.. i dont have to ooption of copy to “email account” such as google.. i have already sync my fone to my gmail acct but there is still no option for me to copy it there.. only to phone.. what am i missing? :(

  16. I was struggling with this earlier – the menu didn’t show all the Import/Export etc options, but then I realised I was accessing the contacts through the phone dialer, not through the contacts (aka ‘People’ on my HTC/Optus phone) app.

    Final step for uber-phonelist-tidiness was to delete all the contacts from the SIM card so they don’t show up on the phone dialer list. [ jeezus SIM read/write speed is sloooooow, especially deleting 495 contacts :]

    Thanks Mike for the gentle nudge in the right direction.

  17. Hi, I have a question about this. Is there a way to do it backwards? My Samsung Captivates screen in busted. I cant access anything. Unfortunately, I didn’t save anything to my gmail account before this happened. Is there a way to get on my gmail acccount on my PC & get my contacts from my phone that way? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  18. Wonderful!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! Awesomely easiest way to do this I found on the net. No programs to dl…simple!! Thanks again!!

  19. I am having similar problems as described above. I was using Dejaoffice. It is a Microsoft Outlook lookalike for android. All was well until its database was accidentally deleted. Unfortunately I had not backed up in some time so I lost my calendar, notes, and contacts added since February. Luckily, contacts from deja are merged down to the phone. In order to try to capture the recently added phone numbers,

    I use a TMobile MyTouch 4G running Android 2.3.4, HTC Sense version 2.1, Software number 2.32.531.1. I have a huge contact database (4200+) and am a heavy user of groups.

    I have tried several things in an attempt to recover. I have turned on all the sync options on my phone and enabled contact and calendar sync with google.
    1) Unfortunately, just enabling sync did not force my contacts and calendar to sync up to google.
    2) I backed up my phone’s contacts using an app called Super Backup. I then emailed myself the backup that it created so I would not loose what I recovered..I, correctly, have about 4200 contacts
    3) I deleted all my phone contacts, rebooted, and then used the Super Backup Restore option. After running for a few hours and finishing…none of the restored contacts showed up in my contact list.
    4) I rebooted the phone then did an import to google of the vcf file (re backup) that created with Super Backup. Voila, all my contacts show up again in my phone, however all my groups are gone. Sync to Google still did not work. Nothing is showing up there.
    5) I exported my phone contacts to my SD Card. All my contacts were deleted by this step. I rebooted the phone. Next, I imported all contacts from the newly created vcf file on the SD Cards to my google account. The contacts showed up on my phone again, however groups were again lost. Even worse, sync did not work again. No contacts are showing up in my google contact list.

    Other things I’ve tried include turning off/on sync on my phone, several restarts, installing the vcf on google to try to pull the contacts down to the phone, and deleting/reinstalling my gmail account from the phone (not all of google…just gmail). I’m about at my wits end. I’d prefer not doing a factory reset but I’m quickly getting to a point where I think that may be my only answer.

    Any other ideas on how to goose the google sync to start? Also, any idea how to get my groups back?

    Thanks,

    Dan

      1. Mike,

        Thanks for the information. Bummer about my groups. They will take a lot to recreate.

        As to the bigger issue of getting sync to work on my device, well…I punted. I tried everything I could think of and then finally resorted to a system reset. It seems to be working now.

        1. Thanks for the update. I was going to recommend the reset as it sounded like other software might have been interefering with the sync. I’m glad you were able to get it working again.

  20. Oh, one other thing that I forgot to mention. The Google Sync Contacts icon on my cell phone doesn’t seem to stop running unless I uncheck it. It looks like it is stuck in an endless loop.

  21. Thank you for posting this. I was searching for the solution and found it here.
    It worked perfectly. Thank you very much, I didn’t know this can be so simple.

  22. Hi,
    I’m having an issue with this technic. When I save my contacts and import them again, the first names and last names are melted in the first name field, and are shortened to 14 characters.
    I guess it’s a limitation of the VCard format but it’s really a bug issue since I lose many of the last names..
    Is there a way to avoid that ? Do everybody have to fill the end of names again??

    Thanks !

  23. Oh dude you ROCK! After 3 friggin’ hours I stumbled on your site and this helped big time! Sony Ericsson to Nokia 808 was giving me headaches. Thanks!

  24. Exactly what I’ve been trying to find! It worked perfectly. I was sweating pretty good until everything started loading up and I didn’t loose a thing! Thanks Mike!

  25. Simple and easy way is to go to phone contacts and click menu>import/export tap next and then select the gmail account and tap next all phone contacts will be imported to your gmail account contacts.

  26. Hey Mike,

    Thanks very much…this worked like a charm. I feel like one of those Apple folks now with everything (PC, tablet and phone) finally in-sync.

    Very Nice!

  27. Hi there, i recently had to replace my LG Opitimus with the same model after it was stolen. Initially when the new phone was turned on, all of my contacts were transferred to it. After two days my contacts started disappearing and my 61 contacts went to 8. I freaked out. i couldn’t find my contacts they were not on the SD card or in my phone anywhere. After reading your resolution, i when to the google contact website, logged in and although the contact list only showed me what was currently on my phone, i saw the more button, clicked on it and there was the link to reinstate my contacts for up to the last 30 days. I am VERY VERY VERY HAPPY!!! THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!

  28. Thanks a ton! You’re an angel! Now, how do I enter a new contact into my phone and have it automatically sync with gmail?

  29. Do you have to do this every time you save a new contact. How do I make sure it synchronizes to gmail every time? I don’t have internet connection 24×7.

  30. Great info, My phone (LG Optimus V with Android 2.2) only allows you to edit the contacts that are gmail contacts. It will not allow edits to contacts that were imported from Yahoo mail. Any answers or can I only edit Yahoo contacts from Yahoo Mail?

  31. It didn’t work for me either. I just tried it 5 times and there’s nothing there………. I’m just glad I didn’t delete them. What a load of rubbish this is =(. I guess I will have to manually write down 141 phone numbers =(

  32. Hello Sir,
    please backup u r phone contact to ur sd card an please note where is the location of back up, connect ur phone via usb an open ur gmail account then import ur contact from ur backup file that u saved in memory card, the backup file like .vcf file in adroid, please make sure that ur usb connection is a mass storage

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