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Sync existing phone contacts with google contacts

Hello, I'm trying to help my aunt who's bought a new Samsung Ace to sync her existing contacts (some on sim card, some on phone memory) to her new google account. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to be unable to change the contact group (sim, phone or google.com account) once the contact exists, just right when creating the contact. Using Samsung Kies on her laptop, I saved her contacts to a CSV file that I tried to import to google contacts online. Google doesn't seem to recognize the contacts, as it creates many empty contacts named "unknown" instead of the names, numbers and addresses in the CSV file. So here's my question: Is it possible to copy/move/merge all her contacts saved on the phone to her google account, so that she'll have a full and up-to-date backup of all her contacts? Is there an app that could accomplish this task? If not and as exporting/importing (CSV) doesn't seem to work well for us, the only way seems to be to copy down each and every contact by hand and to create them anew, just saving them to google.com right away instead of the sim card or the phone memory? Also, contacts.google.com doesn't seem to be very intuitive when it comes to delete 400+ empty contacts named "unknown" - any suggestions here? Thanks a lot for any advice! Regards, Alex



#1 alexhager, Oct 21, 2012
Android syncs contacts automatically. Does she have those contacts in the phonebook or its just a file somewhere in the phone storage?
#2 Skyroket, Oct 21, 2012
Thanks for your answer! Androids syncs Google-contacts automatically, yes. But as far as I know (I'm used to save my contacts as google contacts right away and it works just fine in my case), when creating/saving a new contact, you get to choose whether to save it a. on sim card b. on the phone storage or c. as a google contact (that gets synced automatically). In my aunt's case, her many contacts got mostly saved to phone or sim up to now so she has many contacts but they won't get synced as they are not "google contacts". She can choose to show all contacts (phone, sim, google) or to hide some of them, but as far as I can see, there's no way to *change* a contact saved on sim or phone to become a google contact (stored locally AND synced to google). At least no way provided by Android itself. Maybe there is some app or some other workaround to get existing SIM/PHONE contacts saved as google contacts? As for the file I mentioned, it is an exported backup file (CSV) of all of her contacts that for some reason Google.com won't interprete correctly (resulting in many empty "unknown" contacts). I would be happy with ANY workaround, be it a software better than KIES to export contacts to a file readable online by contacts.google.com or some app that reads all the sim/phone contacts to sync them to ones google account. I hope that I've made clear what the problem is and what's (in my understanding) the difference between sim/phone/google contacts. If you save a new contact to your phone and haven't set a default, you should get prompted whether to save it to sim card, to phone or to your google account. Now imagine you've saved hundreds of contacts to your sim or to your phone and find out about syncing contacts to google. Can you find a way to edit your sim/phone contacts so that they become contacts that will get synced with your google account? So far, I couldn't :( Any help is very much appreciated!
#3 alexhager, Oct 21, 2012
To answer your question in more concise terms: she has her contacts in her phonebook, just not saved as google contacts, but as contacts on her sim card and phone memory. The phonebook will display all three groups. Nevertheless, only contacts saved as google contacts will get synced (at least, it's the way I've been used to it with my own Ace).
#4 alexhager, Oct 21, 2012
Well first off, if there are no duplicate contacts, on her Galaxy Ace simply go to Contacts>Menu>Export/Import>Export to SD card. Then repeat the process, except this time select Import to <google account>. Double check on Gmail to see if the contacts have imported (make sure you wait around 20min with background sync and autosync enabled on the phone while it is connected to internet).

You can delete the phone and SIM contacts, or just disable their display by going to Contacts>Menu>More>Display Options>uncheck phone and sim.
#5 chanchan05, Oct 21, 2012
There should be an option to merge sim and phone contacts with google contacts. Ive done it before on galaxy s2 i had maybe 20-30 contacts on my phone memory and i was able to merge them with google. Try to click menu in contact application see what it says
#6 Skyroket, Oct 21, 2012
Have you tried a back-up app? Might just be easier to back up all the apps onto titanium or whatever you choose, erase the contacts, then do a restore (saving all contacts as google contacts)

Might want to double check the sync settings as well (menu-settings-accounts and sync-gmail account)
#7 anthocar, Oct 22, 2012
Thank you all very much for your suggestions! I'm afraid the settings in the contact app menu won't let me sync/merge contacts that were not google contacts in first place, at least I can't find any option or setting (maybe there are a few more options on a SGS2). Thanks for the input! As for the backup app, this might be doable, I'd still have to check out Titanium (or other apps) to see whether they can be used to restore backed up contacts as google contacts. I guess it should be possible. The solution I'll give a shot in first place will be the one to export/import to/from SD card. I hadn't thought of that and I can imagine that this will be the solution to my problem. Thanks! Do you know if there's any limit to the number of contacts one can backup to sd card (restore from it) at one time? I'm asking because when deleting 400+ contacts, the phone tells me that this is more than it can handle. I'll give it a try next time I see my aunt, I'm actually really looking forward to see if we can get her contacts to be synced correctly to her google contacts. Again, thanks to all of you!
#8 alexhager, Oct 22, 2012
Haven't had trouble with limits, but considering the phone has less power than my own Galaxy S, it may just be that.
#9 chanchan05, Oct 22, 2012
Not sure if you already got the answer, but on my S3;

Contacts > Menu -> Contacts to display >

Select which ever contacts you want to display (SIM or Phone) and once you are looking just at the contacts you selected (assuming you already setup your Google/gMail account to sync contacts)

Menu > Merge with Google> Google account to merge the contacts with

Hope this works the same on Ace as well.
#10 bob1174, Oct 23, 2012
Hi Bob, Thanks a lot for your suggestion! I've just tested it on my own Ace (I will compare to my fathers SGS3 as soon as I see him again) - I can display a specific set of contacts, but unfortunately, I can't find any &quot;merge&quot; option in the contacts menu, even after choosing just one set of contacts (e.g. sim card contacts). My guess would be that this feature is indeed specific to the SGS, maybe even to the SGS3... Anyway, thank you very much for your input! Regards, Alex Edit: I've just noticed that this was your first post. You haven't signed up just to answer my question, have you? In any case, a big THANKS!
#11 alexhager, Oct 23, 2012
I think on the Ace, you have to merge one by one. Tap open a contact, then tap the icons on joined contacts part to merge.
#12 chanchan05, Oct 23, 2012
On the Ace, I see the joined contacts part for contacts that are already google contacts. When tapping open a sim card contact though, I don't see anything like joined contacts, just very few options here. It could very well be that I'm missing something, but I don't see a way to merge existing sim contacts to google on the Ace, not even one by one. I will stick to the export to sd method and hope that it'll work. If it doesn't, I'll tell my aunt to buy herself the SGS3 ;) What I don't understand is why a contact backup file in csv format created through KIES can't be read correctly by google contacts' online import site. Anyway, thanks for still trying to help me here, chanchan, I appreciate it! Regards Alex
#13 alexhager, Oct 24, 2012

After much ado, here's how I did it with my old HTC G1 running Cyanogenmod rom.

Make sure yo are connected via WiFi or data plan.

Go to your Contacts page. You should see all contacts saved on sim, and phone

Hit the menu button and select, "Import/Export"

In next window hit "Share visible contacts"

In next window hit "Gmail"

In next window, send the already attached VcardsXXXXXX.vcf file to your Gmail address. Make sure you fill in "To" with your Gmail address and put something in the "Subject" line and "Message box" then hit "Send" This will send the contacts list to your Gmail account.

Go to your Gmail account, log in and open the message you just sent.

When you open the message, you will see two options, "Import to contacts" and "Download". Click "Import to contacts".

Now it will take you to another screen which will tell you the contacts have been imported but not merged.

At the top of this screen, you will see an option to "find and merge contacts". Click on that option.

Now you will see a pop up windows of duplicate entries which you want to merge.

Click "Merge" and you should be done.

Let me know how this turns out for you.
#14 Craigpv2d, Feb 16, 2013
ok, so i was having the same problem as your Aunt. I figured it out on my Thunderbolt. Go to contacts hit menu, move, from phone, to XXX@gmail.com

I'm waiting for it to transfer all the data now (over 400 contacts) seems to be working, I will post again when its done and i can find my contacts in my gmail account

(yes, this is my first post. n00b here)

Update: Worked great. I can now pull up any contact I have on my Gmail account from any device.
#15 pie4foou, Feb 17, 2013
1) I opened my contact list (on my Ace) (the icon on the bottom of the homepage)
2) selected the *contacts* tab on the top.
3) opened the menu (button on the bottom left hext to the *home* button)
4) selected import/export
5) selected send namecard via
6) checked *select all*
7) hit send
8) completed action using gmail
9) emailed it to my gmail account
10) then added them to my contacts.
I'm editing the list now. (merging duplicates etc)
#16 Nepe, Feb 5, 2014
if you log in to your gmail from a pc and view your contacts there is an option to merge duplicates :)
#17 sdrawkcab25, Feb 5, 2014
thanks this worked for me on my Xperia z3 compact. and the merge function in "contacts" took the sting out of that part too...
#18 thisisoldhat, Mar 24, 2015
Have been looking everywhere for this, thank you!
#19 Droid Pile, Apr 1, 2015
Hello and thank you all in advance.

Im trying to do as you recommended, but for some reason after I choose the google account I want to syck to I get a notification (in finnish of cource, but Ill try to translate) "No transferrable device contact" "Or " No device contacts to transfer" depending on how you translate it... DOes anyone know what I should do?
Best regards
#20 Pepedelux, Jul 27, 2015
On my LG Optimus L70 (Metro PCS) running Android 4.4.2 -- I was able to get all my phone contacts into my Google Account Contacts by going to Contacts / Menu / Share / Select all / Share / Gmail / and I sent the vcard file created to myself. (I could have used Google Drive.) Then I signed into Gmail, downloaded the attached vcard file to my computer (nice to have a complete backup!), then went to Google Contacts and clicked on More and Import from a file, selected the vcard file, and in seconds the 1300 contacts were added!

This method preserves all the info stored for each contact, whereas Export to SIM or SD or Internal Storage warns you that some data could be lost if you backup there.
#21 Greg Kirkpatrick, Aug 15, 2015