How to transfer your contacts between iPhone and Android devices

One of the most annoying aspects of changing phones is ensuring all your contacts are transferred over to your new device. In the “olden days,” this meant manually typing in countless names and phone numbers. Today, our smartphones can do most of the work for us. This guide will show you how to move contacts from iOS to Android and vice versa, so you can alternate between platforms without the hassle. Your best bets? Google Contacts and Apple’s iCloud.

Exporting contacts from iCloud

iCloud

If you have enabled iCloud on your iPhone, backing up contacts is incredibly easy.

Sign into iCloud on your computer as you would normally and click Contacts. Once you get to the next screen, select All Contacts in the top-left corner and hit Command+A or CTRL+A to select all contacts. Now, click the gear icon at the bottom of the page and click Export vCard. Once the ensuing window opens, select all of your contacts again with Command+A and right-click on any contact. Choose Export vCard, name the vCard, and choose your desired save location.

Your contacts will download as a VCF file you can either email to yourself or directly import to Google. Once you activate your new phone — of any type — set up your email account and import the vCard from your email to upload all the contacts. We recommend saving the email containing the vCard, as it now serves as a cloud-based backup of all your contacts. It’s also a good idea to save them to your desktop, just in case your phone meets with an untimely accident.

Transferring with Google Contacts

Google Contacts

First, you’re going to need a Google account, which will simplify moving contacts between platforms. If you don’t have a Google account, quickly sign up for one with Google — you’re going to need one for your Android smartphone anyway. Before you even touch your new Android phone, log into Google Contacts in your browser. Down on the left-hand side, you should see an Import contacts … option. Click on it, then click Choose file and navigate to the vCard that you saved from iCloud.

If you had a Google account prior to this process, you will notice your contacts list is now much larger and likely has some duplicates. If you see duplicate contacts, you may need to spend some time deleting or modifying them. It’s best to do this manually, but Google does offer a Merge contacts tool that is designed to do the same thing. Beware that it’s not always the most accurate.

If you want to give it a try, go to the More button outfitted with the downward arrow that’s located near the upper-left portion of the window while viewing your contacts page. The drop-down menu gives you the option to Find & merge duplicates. Selecting this option tells Google to automatically search your contacts for duplicates.

Transferring contacts to your new phone

Now that you have your contacts in Google organized exactly how you want them, it’s time to put them on your phone. If you haven’t powered up your new phone yet, the transfer will be easy. When you first boot up your new phone, it asks if you want to sync your phone to a Google account. Simply enter in your account information and your phone will automatically import all the contacts from your Google account — no manual upload necessary.

However, if you already turned on your Android phone and didn’t sync it with a Google account, head to the Settings menu and find the Accounts or Accounts & Sync option that shows you every account synced with your phone. At the bottom of the page, you will see a button labeled Add account, where you can now enter your Google login. Once you select your Google account, it will sync all your contacts to your phone, along with Calendar, Chrome, Gmail, and whatever other components you choose to sync.

If you’re switching from Android to iPhone, just hop on your new phone, and go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account > Google. Enter your Google login info and your iPhone will automatically sync the contacts housed within your Google account. If you want it to stay synced and include any new contacts you add, then you’ll also need to go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Contacts > Default Account and select your Google account.

Wasn’t that easy?

Given the current popularity of Google’s services, it’s a breeze to transfer contacts to any new phone. Not only does your Google account sync your contacts in Android, it does so on Windows Phone devices, too. We review phones all the time, and without Google, the process would be insanely painful. There might be other one-time use options that will get the job done, but if you are able to keep your Google contacts up to date, switching smartphones is a walk in the park.

Get an App

If you are in a pinch and need to transfer your contacts fast, there are plenty of apps that help make the transfer easy.

My Contacts Backup

Our favorite of the bunch is My Contacts Backup for iOS and Android, an efficient and easy-to-use app. After downloading and installing the application, tap Backup to create a backup file of all your contacts. Once the backup completes, email the contact file to yourself. When you get your new phone, open the email and click on the VCF attachment, which allows your phone to import the contacts. Once you’re done, save the email in your inbox in case you decide to switch phones again. The app also gives you the ability to set up automatic backups of your contacts, which we recommend scheduling after the application downloads.

If you’re making the move from Android to iOS, then you might also consider Apple’s Move to iOS app. It’s designed to transfer contacts, message history, photos, videos, and more from an Android phone to a new iPhone during the setup process. Install it on your Android device, choose the data you want to transfer, and your new iPhone will create a private connection, protected by a security code, and start transferring the chosen data.

Mobile

Apple’s new iPads are hardly new at all. Don’t waste your money

It has taken Apple four years to get around to updating the iPad Mini line, but the new iPad Mini is virtually identical to its predecessor. It’s joined by a confusing iPad Air with no obvious target audience. Is Apple just trying to sell…
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Mobile

Saving for a vacation? Here are the best apps to help you manage your wealth

Looking to start managing your money, but don't care for intricate software or spreadsheets? Lucky for you, we made a list of the best budgeting apps designed to help you rein in your expenditures.
Mobile

Free yourself! How to unlock a phone from the icy hands of your wireless carrier

Do you want to know how to unlock a phone through your carrier or a third-party service like DoctorSIM? Regardless of which way you want to go, we've compiled a list of requirements and methods for doing so.
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? We have a simple guide right here that will help you to locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older model.
Mobile

iPad Air vs. iPad Mini: Which new tablet from Apple is best for you?

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models, including a new iPad Air and a new iPad Mini. Both devices have a lot to offer. But which iPad is right for your needs? We put the iPad Air and iPad Mini to the test to find out.
Mobile

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Mobile

The Black Shark 2’s Ludicrous Mode promises the smoothest mobile gaming

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark has a follow-up to last year's Black Shark gaming phone, complete with high specs and a low price. Here's everything we know about the Black Shark 2 gaming phone.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Deals

Amazon drops price on Apple Watch Series 4 with a rare deal

Since Apple first unveiled the Series 4, the price for one has pretty much held fast. This has finally started to change with a nice little $15 discount on Amazon. If you've been wanting the newest Apple Watch, now is a great time.
Mobile

Google's midrange Pixels might be called the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
Gaming

Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs brings 3D demolition into your living room

Angry Birds is releasing its next entry in the spring of 2019 - with a new spin. Bringing 3D environments and destruction, Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs uses augmented reality to add a new dimension to a classic series.
Mobile

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.