One of the most annoying aspects of changing phones is making sure all of your contacts are transferred to the new device. In the olden days, this meant manually typing in countless names and phone numbers, but our smartphones can now do most of the work for us. This guide will focus on moving contacts from iPhone to Android, but the main principles of this guide will help out with other platforms.
The first thing you will need to do is to make sure you have a Gmail account, which will make moving contacts to any platform very easy. If you don’t have one, sign up here. Before you even touch your new Android phone, you will want to plug your old iPhone into your computer and open iTunes. Once plugged in, use the menu bar at the top of the window to navigate to the Info tab. Here you will see a list of syncing options, the first of which should be your contacts syncing options. In the drop-down menu next to the “Sync Contacts With” box, you want to select Google Contacts, and then type in your Gmail account information in the window that appears. This allows Gmail and Apple to update your contacts so that all of the names, numbers, and emails from your phone’s contacts are now in Google.
*For those of you switching from Android to iPhone, simply plug in your primary phone, navigate to the Contacts page, click the Menu button, and select “Merge with Google”. Now all of your phone contacts will be ported over to your Gmail account.
We suggest that you then login to Gmail to modify those contacts before syncing them with your new phone. If you had a Gmail account prior to this process, you will notice that your contacts list is now much larger, and most likely will have several duplicates. If you have duplicate contacts, you can go through them one by one and modify or delete extra contacts. Google also has a “merge contacts” tool that can attempt to do the same thing. To remove duplicates this way, you will want to click the “more” button with the downward arrow (near the upper-left portion of the window) while on your Gmail contacts page, a drop-down menu will give you the option to “find and merge duplicates.” Selecting this option will have Google automatically search your contacts for duplicate contacts so you don’t have to.
Now that you have your contacts in Gmail all organized exactly how you want them, it’s time to put them on your phone. If you haven’t started up your new phone yet, this process is easy. If you have, it’s still easy, but with an extra step.
When you first boot up your new phone, it will ask you if you want to sync your phone to a Google account. Enter in your Gmail info, and you will be all set. Your phone will automatically import all the contacts from your Gmail.
If you couldn’t wait, and turned on your phone prior to this point, you will want to go to your settings menu. There, you will want to select the “Accounts & Sync” option, which will show you every account synced with your phone. At the bottom of the page you will see a button labeled “Add Account,” where you will want to enter your Gmail login. Once you have selected your Google account to sync with your phone it will not only sync all your contacts to your phone, but it will also automatically set up your email to be sent to your phone.
*For those switching from Android to iPhone, just hop on your new phone, enter the Settings menu, select the Mail, Contacts, Calendars tab, and then click Gmail. Enter in your Gmail login info, and your iPhone will sync with all those contacts you just moved into your Gmail account.
Wasn’t that easy?
With the popularity of Google’s services, namely Gmail, moving your contacts from phone to phone super easy. You can use your Gmail account to not only sync your contacts in Android, but also on Windows Phone 7 Devices, too. We review phones all the time, and without Gmail, the process would be insanely painful. There might be other one-time-use options that will also get the job done, but if you are able to keep your Gmail contacts up to date, switching smartphones is a breeze.
This guide to transferring your contacts between iPhone and Android has been updated since its original publication to reflect software updates and other changes. Multiple members of the Digital Trends staff contributed to this guide.