How to transfer contacts between iPhone and Android devices

Changing phones causes enough anxiety without having to worry about preserving your contacts. One of the most important aspects of switching both phones and platforms is making sure that all contacts get properly transferred to your new device. Our smartphones are designed to do most of the heavy lifting. Here, we show you how to move contacts from iOS to Android and back, so you can easily switch back and forth between platforms at will. The best way to accomplish this is via Apple iCloud and Google Contacts. Let’s get started.

Export contacts from iCloud

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

  • Sign into iCloud on your computer and click Contacts. 
  • On the next screen, select All Contacts in the top-left corner and hit Command+A or CTRL+A to select all of them.
  • If you get an alert asking Do you want to allow downloads on www.iCloud.com, click Allow.
  • Click the gear icon at the bottom of the page and click Export vCard.
  • Once the 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 a save location.

Your contacts will download to your computer as a VCF file that you can email to yourself or directly import to Google. Once you activate your new Android phone, set up your email account and import that vCard from your email to upload your contacts. It’s a good idea to save the email with the attached vCard. That allows it to serve as a handy backup of all your contacts. You might also save them somewhere in your system for safekeeping.

Transfer with Google Contacts

Having a Google account will simplify moving contacts between platforms. If you don’t yet have a Google account, sign up for one for free with Google. You will need it for your Android smartphone, regardless. Before you touch your new Android phone, do the following.

  • Log into Google Contacts in your browser.
  • Down on the left-hand side, you should see an Import option. Click on it, then click Choose file, navigate to the vCard that you saved from iCloud, and click Import.
  • If you already had a Google account, 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 eliminate duplicates manually. Google does offer a Look for Duplicates tool, designed to do the same thing, but it’s not especially accurate.
  • Try it out by clicking the Merge & fix button at the left column of the contacts page, which gives you the option to Merge duplicates.

Transfer contacts to your Android phone

When 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. Enter in your account information and your phone will automatically import all the contacts from your Google account.

If you already turned on your Android phone and didn’t sync it with a Google account, do the following.

  • Go to Settings > Accounts or Accounts & Sync to see every account synced with your phone.
  • At the bottom, you will see a button labeled Add account, where you can enter your Google login.
  • Select your Google account, and 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, go to Settings > Mail > Add Account > Google.
  • Enter your Google login info and your iPhone will automatically sync the contacts within your Google account.
  • If you want it to stay synced and include new contacts you add, then go to Settings > Mail > Default Account and select your Gmail account.

Use an app

If you’re in a pinch and need to transfer your contacts quickly, here are two mobile apps designed to make the transfer easy.

MCBackup

My Contacts Backup — MCBackup for short — helps you back up and restore contacts from your phone without using a computer-based or sync method. Back up with a single tap and email yourself a .vcf attachment. The app also features offline backup, easy restore, easy transfer between iOS and Android via email, reminders to back up regularly, and VCF cards.

Google Play  App Store

Move to iOS

This unusual app is an Apple product built for Android. It connects your Android and Apple device together via Wi-Fi to transfer all your data, though it’s limited to iPhones or iPads running iOS 9 or higher and devices with Android 10. It transfers contacts as well as message history, photos and videos, browser bookmarks, mail accounts, and calendars to your new iPhone.

Google Play

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