Empty address books are a horror

Changing phones is already a strenuous time, getting all of your apps set up the way you had them, getting your services — and more importantly your game progress — synced up, and getting all of your text messages copied over from your old phone. While transfer software can get most of your data backed up and restored no sweat, it doesn't seem to always work for getting 100% of your contacts moved over.

Never fear! It's easy to manually export your contacts, and it doesn't take any special apps.

Note: These instructions have been written using a Google Pixel with the Contacts app and Downloads app, but the basic steps should work on most Android phones. If these exact steps do not match your device, look for the Export option in your Contacts/People/Phone app.

How to export all contacts

  1. Open the Contacts app. On some phones, this app may go by People, Address Book, or Phone Book.
  2. Tap the three-line menu icon in the top left corner.
  3. Tap Settings.

    ContactsMenuSettings

  4. Tap Export under Manage Contacts.
  5. Select every account to ensure you export every contact on your phone.
  6. Tap Export to VCF file.
  7. Rename the name if you want, then tap Save.

    ExportExportSave

  8. Open your Downloads folder on your phone.
  9. Long-press the exported VCF file.
  10. Tap Share (the three connected dots icon).
  11. Tap and option: save to Google Drive or email it to yourself.

    Long pressShareShare as desired

Once you've uploaded the VCF file to Google Drive or emailed it to yourself, you need only open the app on your new phone. The file will be opened and you will be asked which account you'd like to save the contacts to on your new phone.

How to export a single contact

  1. Open the Contacts app. On some phones, this app may go by People, Address Book or Phone Book.
  2. Tap the contact you wish to export.
  3. Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner.

    ContactsPick your contactMenu

  4. Tap Share (the three connected dot icon).
  5. Tap an option: save to Google Drive or email it to yourself.

    ShareDrive or emailSave to Drive

Exporting individual contacts is also a great way to share your number/email with people, sharing a VCF file with your own contact information to friends, family, and co-workers so all they have to do is open it to add it to their phone book.

How to import contacts from a VCF file

Importing your exported contacts is even easier than exporting it:

  1. Open your exported VCF file on your new phone from the email or Google Drive you saved it to.
  2. Tap Just Once to open with the Contacts app. On some phones, this app may go by People, Address Book, or Phone Book.
  3. Select the account you want the contacts connected to if you have more than one Google account on your phone.

    OpenJust onceaccount

Backing up and restoring your contacts is easy - so long as you have your old phone. Since you never know when yours might go belly up, consider now a prime opportunity to back up your contacts so that if your phone takes a dip in the pool, you won't have to spend days figuring out how many contacts you've lost forever.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below!