How-To: Import contacts into your Android smartphone

Google Contacts

We’re continuing with our “back to basics” how-to series and this time we’ll take a moment to explain you how to import contacts to your Android smartphone. Some of the newer devices come with the built-in import functionality that allows you to move contacts from your old device via Bluetooth. If your phone doesn’t support this capability, here’s what you should do:

  1. First of all, you must have a GMail account (obviously).
  2. You need to connect your old phone to your computer and transfer contacts to Outlook or Outlook Express using some sort of PC suite software.
  3. In Outlook or Outlook Express export your contacts to a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file.
  4. Start Google Contacts and import the file. While here, you can also try to “find duplicates” to merge some of the contacts or delete the ones you don’t need. Similarly, you can create groups which will also be visible on your Android smartphone.

Now on your phone browse to “Contacts” -> “Settings” -> “Display options” -> Select “Only contacts with phones” and also Google -> “Select all groups.” And you’re done!

There’s also an alternative way to do this. If you don’t have that many contacts, you can simply move all of them to your SIM card and then when it [SIM card] is in your Android smartphone, import them to the Contacts list.

Once you’re done with this, you may also want to pull social contacts too. To do that, you’ll need to install the Facebook and Twitter apps and select to import data from all contacts…

  • Brucebanis

    Thank you very much for the post.

  • Jette D.

    Just got my Android phone, and this article one was very helpful. Thanks a lot. I’ll contribute with this…

    Since Google is not able to import mulitiple *.vcf files, I needed to combine all my files into one (using Linux/Unix):

    First, cd into the folder where your VCard files are located, then….

    $ cat ./* >> mycontacts.vcf
    $ sed -i ‘s/VCARDBEGIN/VCARDnnBEGIN/g’ mycontacts.vcfAfter that, just upload mycontacts.vcf to Google contacts.Maybe someone else knows how this is done on Windows…

  • Faisal

    Thank you, Outlook to CSV to google to Samsung Note worked great.

  • Jay

    Great App 🙂 

  • Prakash Tulsiani

    Thanks Dusan,
    It works !!!

  • Columbo

    Complete newbie here (don’t even have the phone just yet). So, just be clear, the contacts MUST come from a Google / GMail account; there’s no way to have contacts without a link to Google? In other words, Google has access to the contacts in my phone??

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