One of the best aspects about Android is its integration with the cloud. When setting up a new Android device, all you need is a Gmail address and your Contacts, Gmail, texts (if you use Google Voice), Calendar and Docs will automatically be available to you without having to plug the device in first. It also comes in handy if for some reason your phone fails as your data will be safe and secure on Google’s servers. No matter what happens with your device, you will always be able to access, manage and move your contacts at Google.com/Contacts.
If you’re using a pure Android device like the Nexus One or Nexus S, this tip won’t apply because all of the contacts that you save automatically sync to Google. However, many of the skinned phones save contacts to the device by default, which means that they’re not syncing up with Google’s servers. We’ll go through the three main skins: Sense, Touchwiz and Motoblur and point out how to save contacts to Google rather than on the device.
What’s the benefit of saving to your Google account rather than your device? Your device will show you all of your Google Contacts as long as your Google account is synced. But if your contacts are saved to your device, they will not show up in Google.com/Contacts. As mentioned above, it really saves a lot of time and effort when you eventually get a new device or are forced to if something happened to your old one.
Samsung’s Touchwiz (pictured above): Samsung’s contact application is simply called Contacts and has an orange icon. When you go into the application and click the plus sign to add a new contact, normally by default you will receive a pop up asking you if you would like to save to the phone or to your Google account. Touchwiz also allows you to remember this choice so you don’t need to do it everytime. If you ever want to change the settings, you can go into the Contacts -> Menu -> More -> Settings, which will allow you to change the Contact settings.
HTC Sense: Unlike Touchwiz, Motoblur or stock Android, HTC’s contact application is called People. When you go into the application and select new contact, the default is set to save to the phone. You’ll have to click on the Contact Type and switch to save to your Google account. I have yet to find a way to change the default to save to Google, so unfortunately you’ll have to do this everytime.
Motoblur: On Motorola’s phones, like Samsung’s, there’s an easy way to ensure that new contacts are always saved to Google. When you go into the Contacts application, go to Menu -> Settings and it'll provide you with your various options to save the contacts to, Google being one of them.
If you have questions or tips related to saving and managing contacts, come to our General Help Forum.