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How Do I Save My Smartphone's Contacts?

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Support.com Tech Pro Team
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1 Introduction: Smartphone: Save Contacts

Your smartphone holds a lot of your digital life, including your contacts.

For the most part, your smartphone has back-ups already in place for your contacts; it saves them to the cloud, so when you switch phones you don't have to re-enter everything.

This guide will help you check that your contacts are being saved for you, and how to export them so you can save another copy on your computer.

Smartphone with Contact app icons.

2 Mobile: OS Choice

To continue, we need to know what Operating System your smartphone or tablet has.

There are 2 main Operating Systems for smartphones currently available, Android and iOS.

Android Smartphone iOS Smartphone
Android smartphones are produced by multiple companies, such as Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC, and OnePlus. Apple is the only company that makes iOS smartphones.
Example Android home screen. Example iOS home screen.

? What Operating System do you have on your smartphone?

  1. iOS
  2. Android

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Your smartphone holds a lot of your digital life, including your contacts.

For the most part, your smartphone has back-ups already in place for your contacts; it saves them to the cloud, so when you switch phones you don't have to re-enter everything.

This guide will help you check that your contacts are being saved for you, and how to export them so you can save another copy on your computer.

Smartphone with Contact app icons.

To continue, we need to know what Operating System your smartphone or tablet has.

There are 2 main Operating Systems for smartphones currently available, Android and iOS.

Android Smartphone iOS Smartphone
Android smartphones are produced by multiple companies, such as Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC, and OnePlus. Apple is the only company that makes iOS smartphones.
Example Android home screen. Example iOS home screen.

By default, your iOS device saves all your contacts to a free iCloud service that you can access from any computer with a web browser.

It's updated and backed-up automatically; meaning you do not have to worry about keeping your own copy.

Accessing Your Contacts

  1. Open your preferred web browser on your computer.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar at the top, type in icloud.com and press enter or return.
    Address bar with address entered.
  3. If prompted, sign in with the same iCloud account you use on your phone.
    iCloud Sign-in.
  4. Select Contacts.
    iCloud desktop page with Contacts highlighted.
  5. You'll see a list of your contacts here. You can edit, add, and delete them, and the changes will appear on your phone in a few moments.
    iCloud Contacts.

Your contact list is kept up-to-date automatically between your smartphone and the Google Contacts website.

A saved copy of your contacts will not automatically update. You will need to save a new copy periodically so you're not missing any.

Exporting Contacts from Google Contacts

  1. Open your preferred web browser on your computer.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar at the top, type in icloud.com and press enter or return.
    Address bar with address entered.
  3. If prompted, sign in with the same iCloud account you use on your phone.
    iCloud Sign-in.
  4. Select Contacts.
    iCloud desktop page with Contacts highlighted.
  5. On the left, select the Gear icon, then Export vCard.
    Export vCard.
    You will need to repeat this step for each contact, exporting each as its own separate vCard. iCloud has no facility to export your entire address book.

By default, your Android device saves all your contacts to a free Google service that you can access from any computer with a web browser.

It's updated and backed-up automatically; meaning you do not have to worry about keeping your own copy.

Accessing Your Contacts

  1. Open your preferred web browser on your computer.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar at the top, type in contacts.google.com and press enter or return.
    Address bar with address entered.
  3. If prompted, sign in with the same Google account you use on your phone.
    Google Sign-in prompt.
  4. You'll see a list of your contacts here. You can edit, add, and delete them, and the changes will appear on your phone in a few moments.
    Google Contacts.

Your contact list is kept up-to-date automatically between your smartphone and the Google Contacts website.

A saved copy of your contacts will not automatically update. You will need to save a new copy periodically so you're not missing any.

Exporting Contacts from Google Contacts

  1. Open your preferred web browser on your computer.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar at the top, type in contacts.google.com and press enter or return.
    Address bar with address entered.
  3. If prompted, sign in with the same Google account you use on your phone.
    Google Sign-in prompt.
  4. On the left, select More, then Export.
    Google Contacts menu with More and Export highlighted.
  5. Select the options you need, then select Export.
    Export contacts dialog with Export highlighted.
    • Selection

      • In most cases, the second option, Contacts, will export all of your contacts, rather than just a few you may have selected.
    • Export as

      • Google CSV
        • If you want a backup, or want to give your contact list to someone else to use, this is the best choice.
      • Outlook CSV
        • If you wish to import your contact list into Microsoft Outlook, select this option.
      • vCard (for iOS Contacts)
        • If you wish to import your contact list to your Mac or iPhone, select this option.

In most cases, most programs (such as Outlook and other Mail programs) and other systems (such as iOS, Mac, and Windows) can access Google Contacts directly, rather than having to import and export constantly.