Back up & sync device contacts

Some contacts on your phone or tablet may not be saved as Google contacts. For example, some apps save contacts in device storage, which means they can only be managed on that device. Changes you make to these contacts don’t sync across Google services or to other signed-in devices. If the device is ever lost or damaged, these contacts may be lost. 

To keep your contacts backed up and synced to all your devices, you can automatically save device contacts as Google contacts. Google contacts are available across Google services and can be managed on any signed-in device. If the original device is lost or damaged, the contacts can automatically sync to a new device when you sign in.

These steps work only on Android.

Back up & sync device contacts

Back up & sync device contacts by saving them as Google contacts:

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the "Settings" app.

  2. Tap Google and then Account services and then Google Contacts sync and then Also sync device contacts and then Automatically back up & sync device contacts.

  3. Turn on Automatically back up & sync device contacts.

  4. Pick the account you’d like your contacts to be saved in. Your contacts can only be automatically saved to one Google Account. 

Tip: You can’t back up contacts to a child’s account or a G Suite account (one you use for work or school).

Your existing device contacts and any future device contacts you add will be automatically saved as Google contacts and sync to your Google Account.

When you sign out of a phone or tablet, all your Google contacts will be removed from that device to prevent other people who use that device from accessing them. Your Google contacts will remain in your Google Account and sync to a new device when you sign in.

Tip: Depending on your device make and model you may not be able to automatically back up and sync device contacts.

What about SIM contacts and contacts that sync with other cloud services?

SIM contacts and contacts syncing with other cloud services (like Exchange, Yahoo, or others) cannot be automatically saved as Google contacts. Learn how to import contacts.

Tip: To use device contacts across Google services without saving them as Google contacts, turn on Save contact info from your devices. That setting includes SIM contacts and contacts syncing with other cloud services, but you can only manage them on the original device. To back up device contacts without saving them as Google contacts, learn how to back up data on your Android device.

Stop saving device contacts as Google contacts and move contacts out of your Google Account

To stop automatically saving device contacts as Google contacts:

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the "Settings" app.

  2. Tap Google and then Account services and then Google Contacts sync and then  Also sync device contacts and then Automatically back up & sync device contacts.

  3. Turn off Automatically back up & sync device contacts

Contacts that have already been saved as Google contacts will remain in your account unless you manually remove them.

Learn how to move Google contacts to another account using the Contacts app.

Learn how to export Google contacts to another account on the web. Exported contacts won’t be removed from your account unless you delete them.

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?