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!


, ,

  1. #1 by Erin on April 7, 2013 - 2:40 pm

    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?

    • #2 by Mike on April 18, 2013 - 8:17 pm

      It should sync automatically.

  2. #3 by Julian on April 12, 2013 - 7:04 am

    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.

  3. #4 by viral on May 1, 2013 - 3:01 am

    thanks bosss….

  4. #5 by Anne on May 12, 2013 - 9:13 am

    worked perfectly thanks (although it was a bit like horse and stable door having lost everything on Fri!!)

  5. #6 by wimadrid on May 12, 2013 - 10:22 am

    Thanks Mike!

    You made my day :-)

  6. #7 by Softech Microsystems on May 18, 2013 - 2:07 am

    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?

  7. #8 by Rahat on June 6, 2013 - 9:00 am

    Worked Well.

  8. #9 by Louise on June 11, 2013 - 5:28 pm

    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 =(

  9. #10 by Richard on June 13, 2013 - 11:10 am

    Thank God for you.

  10. #11 by Anu on July 21, 2013 - 5:17 am

    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

  11. #12 by AJ on September 22, 2013 - 2:26 pm

    Thanks for the help

  12. #13 by Triv on September 29, 2013 - 11:36 am

    There doesn’t seem to be an import/ export option on the Samsung Galaxy S4.

    Any ideas?

  13. #14 by Ken on January 9, 2014 - 6:09 pm

    Your instructions works great and wonderful on sony expedia phone.