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How to transfer contacts from one smartphone to another

At some point you’re going to have to change phones and with it, transfer your contacts list. Here’s how.

Image: Shutterstock

WHILE GETTING A new phone is always fun, just to play around with nay new features and see how much faster it is, it also brings its own fair share of grievances.

One of which is having to transfer contacts, which can be a pain at the best of times. For the most part, however, you can avoid this through a number of ways. It just depends on what phone you have and where you’re transferring your numbers from.

Before you start

To make things as easy as possible, it’s best to save all your contacts on the cloud storage account of your old device. That means saving them onto iCloud, Gmail or Outlook. While not all transfers will be straightforward, this will at least make the process easier.

iOS

Probably the most straightforward of the three, transferring contacts from Android or Windows Phone is a matter of connecting these accounts together. All you have to do is go into settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and select Add Account.

Then it’s just a matter of selecting either Google/Gmail or Outlook, entering in your account details and turning on contacts.

iPhone transfer contacts

Android 

Provided you have a Google/Gmail account, it’s a matter of syncing your old iPhone with your Google account. If your contacts list is massive, this may take a while, but you can check Contacts.Google.com to see if you have the entire list.

Once that’s done, it’s a matter of connecting your Android device to your Gmail account and it will sync automatically.

Importing Windows Phone contacts is a little different since you will have to do it from the desktop and not your phone. Log into Hotmail/Outlook and click on the drop-down button next to the Outlook logo at the top-left.

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft people The pop-down menu in Outlook.

Select people and click on manage. Select Export and save the list onto your computer. Once that’s done, log into Gmail, click on the drop-down menu located above the ‘compose’ button and select contacts.

Gmail

When you’re in the contacts page, click on the more button and select import. Upload your contacts file and when it’s finished, sync your Android phone with your Gmail account.

Windows Phone

Transferring your contacts from iPhone to Windows Phone is the least straightforward of the three since iCloud doesn’t allow you to download your contacts as a CSV (Excel) file.

Instead, what you need is an app that will turn your contact list into one. A good example would be My Contacts Backup which allows you to turn it into a CSV file.

Once you’ve done that, it’s a matter of importing them into Outlook.

As for Android, you can connect it up directly to your Google account, or follow the same instructions for transferring from Windows Phone to Android. The only difference is when you’re in Outlook People, you have to click on the manage button and select ‘Export for Outlook.com and other services.’

Feature phone to smartphone

While the very thought brings up images of having to type out each contact one by one, there are some methods that will make it easier.

The easiest way is to pair both devices via bluetooth, provided your old phone has it. You have to go into settings for each phone to pair them up but once you do, go into contacts on your feature phone and you should have the option to share them via Bluetooth.

The other is to connect up your phone to your computer and download your contacts file. Most feature phones come with third-party software (e.g.: Nokia Suite) which lets you do this so you can download it as a CSV file and transfer it through iCloud, Outlook or Gmail depending on what you use.

The other is to use a third-party service and transfer them that way. Some providers like Vodafone offer a contacts service which you can sign up to which is useful if you were say using webtexts and have some of your contacts saved there already.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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