Import all your contacts to Android

This is the second post of a series dedicated to explaining how I live my e-life with my Macbook Pro and Android smartphone.

I have merged all my contacts from different sources, my old dumbphone, various e-mail accounts as well as Facebook contacts into one Google Accounts contact list, which is then synchronised both to Mac Addressbook and Android contacts.

Import and clean

Roughly, this is what you have to do (assuming you also want one nicely organised & synchronised contact list):

  1. Copy contacts from the old dumbphone to SIM-card. Insert SIM-card into smartphone and copy them to your phone and Google Contacts. Export your Google Contacts in MS Outlook .csv format.
  2. In case you have other Google or other E-mail accounts, you might want to export their contacts as well in MS Outlook .csv format.
  3. Export you Mac Addressbook contacts as MS Outlook .csv format
  4. Import your Facebook contacts into Yahoo Address book with this instruction.
  5. Export yahoo address book in MS Outlook .csv format.
  6. Import all collected MS Outlook .csv files into your Google Account online, when done, export a backup of unsorted contacts in MS Outlook .csv format. At this point, I had 818 contacts.
  7. Find duplicates in (note that Google finds duplicates if there are “John, Smith” and “John Hillary Smith”, but does not find “Smith, John” as possible duplicate)
  8. Synchronise your Google Contacts on your Android smartphone, use Go Contacts app to find duplicates (finds “John, Smith” and “” if they have common telephone number)
  9. Go through all contacts letter by letter to fix the names (John, Smith), delete unwanted contacts and keep an eye for them duplicates. After this step I have a clean list of 475 unique contacts.
  10. Optional, but recommended step is to set your Android to show only contacts who have phone number.


DO not link contacts in Android! This will not completely remove duplicates, just hide them.

Final step is to set up synchronisation between Mac Addressbook and Google Contacts as well as Android and Google Contacts.
After this, all changes made in any of these three locations will propagate into other two as well. In case you encounter a problem later on, export a Outlook .csv and Google contact file from Google Contacs, then fix contacts in Google Contacts web interface. In severe cases you might want to clean Android and Addressbook contacts, then synchronise from Google Contacts.

You might want to separate your business and personal contacts to your business and personal gmail accounts. This way you can hide one or the other when searching.

Recommended reading

Lifehackers Guide to fixing Google Contacts

Go Contacts on Android market

posted: 11 November 27
under: Tech