Thanks to the deeper integration of Android with Google’s services, exchanging data between different Android devices is definitely not the nightmare that it used to be. In the old days, you would have to locally back up your contacts, messages, app data, and who knows what else, and then restore them into the new device. While that is still necessary at times, depending on the version of Android that you’re running, for the most part, your Google account keeps it all in one place. Well, that’s fine and dandy if you’re migrating to another device, but what if you want to keep a backed up list of the contacts on your phone, to physically print them or keep them around in case you lose your device or account? That’s what we’ll show you how to do today, and it’s much easier than it sounds!
As we mentioned, most Google services are maintained through your Google account, in a centralized place. Your contacts are no exception. Google has their own Contacts app that ships with most devices, and that’s something that you should be using, since it offers free syncing and backup of your data to your Google account. However, some manufacturers replace the Google Contacts app with their own, so just to make sure that you’re using it, go ahead and download the Contacts app from the Play Store.
Once installed, go through the motions and link it to your account. The app should recognize your contacts, displaying them on a list:
Now, you should head over to your device Settings, then “Accounts”, and select your Google account:
Make sure that “Contacts” is enabled, and press the three-dotted menu to sync it now:
If it all syncs without an error, your contacts should be backed up to your Google account. This means that you can access and browse them online at any time, using the dedicated Contacts service, on your computer’s browser. To access it, head over to the Google Contacts website by clicking this link. You should see something like this:
From here, you can browse your contacts at will, including searching, organizing, deleting and filling out individual information. While that is all fine and dandy, we’re here so that we can back up and check out these contacts on our PC, keeping a local copy and possibly printing them out so that we have a physical copy. This is what we’re going to do now. Simply click the “More” button at the top, and then select “Export”:
The website will ask you what format do you want to export your contacts as:
Pick the second option, “Outlook CSV”. This format is compatible with most applications, and in our case, we’re going to use Excel to browse our contacts. The file should begin downloading once you click the “Export” button. The next step is fairly simple – open the file on your computer using something like Excel, and you should see a spreadsheet with all of your contacts. Now, you have a local copy of all of your contacts that you can search, print out and organize at any time. If you don’t have Microsoft Office on your computer, or your copy of Excel is having trouble with the format, you can use Google Docs to upload and then preview the file:
That’s about it for today’s lesson. Luckily for us, Google made it pretty simple to do this, and it has been moving towards deeper integration of your data with all of its services. While this adds a lot of convenience in terms of every app having that data available, the best part is that your data will be kept on the cloud virtually forever. That certainly is better than keeping it on a single device, but you never know what could happen. If you get locked out of your Google account, for example, all of that data could be gone, either temporarily or forever. But if you export your contacts using the method above once in a while, you can be sure that your data is safe and sound, stored on your computer. Any questions or doubts? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below!