Transferring contacts from one Android phone to another

Looking for some different ways to get your contacts from one Android smartphone to another? Here is a list of many different ways to get your names and numbers moved over.


One of the best ways to save the contacts on your phone and move them to a different Android phone is to use your Gmail. If you have ever downloaded an application from the Play Store then you have a Gmail account already, all you need to do is go to it, check it, make sure your phone is backed up and then log into that Gmail account on the other phone. For some in-depth instructions I recommend you read Using Gmail to backup your Android smartphone.

SIM Card

Sorry, not all phones use SIM cards, it depends on the technology that your wireless provider uses to provide you with service. If your phone runs on the GSM technology like AT&T and T-Mobile then your phone should have a SIM card and that SIM should allow you to save your contacts to it (sorry contacts and contacts only).

The method to actually backup your contacts from your phone to your SIM is going to depend a lot upon your phones make and model and its Android OS (Operating System) version.

Typically to move contacts from your Android phone to its SIM card you:

Method 1

  • Go into your Contacts, (it might say People) there is usually a Contacts or People icon on your phones desktop (the main screen that you see when you first turn on your page or when you tap the home key).
  • Tap the Menu key, once you tap on the menu key some options should appear on the screen. The Menu key is usually on the bottom left corner of the phone under its display. It’s usually next to the Home key.
  • Tap More, once you tap on the Menu key one of the options is More, on newer Android OS More isn’t an option it simply shows the option in the next step, which is SIM Management.
  • Tap SIM Management.
  • Select Copy contacts to SIM.
  • Press OK, (some phones give you an option on which account you want to export to your SIM card. If presented with some options then select the Phone option, because you want to export contacts from your phone to the SIM).
  • Wait patiently, it should then show that it’s moving the contacts over, it might say something like processing.
  • Some information might be lost, if you get this message just press ok. The phone is letting you know that only names and phone numbers can be saved to the SIM card. So it can’t save email addresses, fax numbers, physical addresses, etc. just names and numbers.

Method 2

  • Go into your Contacts (or People)
  • Tap the Menu key
  • Select Import/Export
  • Tap Export to SIM card
  • Press Ok

Other things to consider when saving contacts to a SIM card

  • Importing from the SIM - Most phones will sync contacts saved to a SIM as soon as the phone boots up. If your phone doesn’t sync from the SIM after a reboot then go into the Contacts again, tap the Menu key, SIM Management, Copy Contacts from SIM, and press Ok
  • Pieces of information such as profile pictures, email addresses, physical addresses, etc. can be saved using other backup methods discussed in this article, but don’t get saved to your SIM card.
  • When it’s done it usually shows how many contacts moved over, just make sure it didn’t give you an error message. If it errors, then try it again.
  • SIM cards will usually only be able to hold up to 250 contacts.
  • Make sure your SIM card is in the phone or it won’t be able to save information to it! Something easily overlooked if trying to setup another phone and you’re using your original SIM card.
  • If you get a message that gives you the option of trundication then one of your names is too long and the phone wants to know if it can shorten it, if you want to save that contact then allow it to trundicate it.

Memory Card

One of the best ways to save and move your contacts is by using a memory card. If you don’t have a memory card for your android smartphone and it allows the use of a memory card then I recommend you get one. If you don’t have a memory card then you can read this article on what memory card might be best for you. If you have a memory card then you made a good investment you don’t want your phone to malfunction or break and you lose all your information. You can simply remove your memory card from the old phone, place it into your newer phone, and you’re good to go.

Here is how you can usually save your contacts to your android smartphones memory card.

  • Go into your Contacts (or People depending on the device)
  • Tap the Menu key
  • Select Import/Export
  • Tap Export to SD card (much like the SIM card backup you might get the option to choose which account you would like to save your contacts from onto your memory card. Go ahead and tap on the Phone option).
  • Press Ok

When it’s done, which is usually pretty quick, then the phone should take you back to your contact list (you might get a confirmation message but usually you won’t).

Note: if you are backing up more than your contacts you might be interested in reading about how to save information from an Android smartphone to an SD Card.

Bluetooth the information to the other device

When we think of Bluetooth we often think of our phone connecting to a headset or the Bluetooth in our car but Bluetooth can be used to transfer your information as well.

Many Android devices will give the option to transfer information from a previous phone when you’re going through an androids initial setup. If you skipped that step and don’t want to do a reset on your device then try and manually send your contacts through Bluetooth. This process is going to depend a lot on the make/model/android OS of the phones you are using.

Use the Transfer Data Option

  • From the home screen tap the launcher
  • Select Transfer Data
  • Tap Next
  • Select the manufacturer of the device you are going to be receiving contacts from.
  • Tap Next
  • Select the model (you can get this information in the Settings under About phone, if you’re not sure what it is).
  • Tap Next
  • Turn on the Bluetooth from the older phone (the device you want to Bluetooth information from).
  • Tap Next
  • Select the old phone. The phone should do a scan for your other device, when your old phone appears in the devices list then tap on it to select it.
  • Tap Next
  • Enter the passkey on your old phone. Your new phone will often give you a password to type into your old phone for security reasons.
  • Tap the information that you would like to transfer
  • Tap Next
  • Tap Done, and you will be good to go.

If you don’t have the “Transfer Data” option on your Android device then you might want to consider doing a search on the Play Store and use a 3rd party application, which should help streamline the process. There are many to choose from just read the review and description and you shouldn’t have any issues finding one to fulfill your requirements.


To wrap things up I recommend that after you have had the opportunity to transfer your contacts to your other android phone that you try to maintain at least 2 copies of your contacts just in case. The easiest and probably best backup is going to be with your Gmail. It’s automatic by default and online should you no longer have access to your device. Saving your contacts to your memory card on a regular basis as well isn’t a bad idea either. That way you have a copy in the cloud (online) and a physical copy on your SD card.

I hope you have enjoyed the article. If you have any additional tips or suggestions or would simply like to leave a comment then please feel free to do so below. Don’t forget to keep your new phone safe by investing in a good case or a good screen protector and don’t listen to music on your phone when taking a shower.

Enjoy and have plenty of long conversations with your Friends, Family and Contacts.



Excellent guide

Excellent guide. Thank you.

Transfer of Contacts

This is the best explanation l have read on the internet so far. Keep it up.

Transfering contacts

About a month ago, the lock screen on my old phone froze up and it won't unfreeze. I tried everything and it won't unfreeze, so I can't enter my password and cannot get into the phone. So I would like to know if there is a way to transfer my phone numbers to my new phone.

Trying to salvage your contacts

Hi Chris,

You will need to be able to unlock your phone in order to pull contacts from the phone… You won’t even be able to pull contacts off of the phone through a PC unless you can unlock it…

If you happened to save a copy of your contacts to an SD card before you got locked out of the phone then you can remove that SD card from your old phone place it in your new phone and then import the contacts that way but if you never saved a copy of your contacts to the card previously then this option won’t be available to you.

Your best bet is going to be to log into the primary Google account on your new phone that you had set up on your previous phone and hopefully your contacts will be stored on that Gmail account. If they are then this should allow you to re-sync your contacts to your current device.

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