Moving your Android Contact List to a New Phone

This is a somewhat technical article and assumes knowledge of Android and Linux.

Just got a Nexus S, and had some issues moving my contact list from my old phone. So I decided to write this up.

You have two options:

* If you come from a ROM that allows export to SD, just use Import/Export to USB storage, copy the file over, then import it

* Option #2 would have been to use Titanium Backup. However, it doesn’t seem to work right for restoring on the Nexus S (yet).

* Otherwise, you can copy the contacts2.db file. Of course, you have to root your target phone first. Then copy the db file to the sdcard.

As root, do (assuming standard layout):

cd /data/data/
rm contacts2.db
cat /sdcard/contacts2.db > contacts2.db
chmod 660 contacts2.db
ls -l .. # see who owns this directory
chown contats2.db

You might have to restart your phone for the contacts to be re-read.

5 Responses to Moving your Android Contact List to a New Phone

  1. I use the same method, copy contacts2.db. From what I could see, contacts2.db also contains the call log.

  2. miron says:

    That’s a nice android resource list!

    Unfortunately, call log and mms restore didn’t work going from 2.2 to 2.3. Not a huge priority for me…

  3. hello there!

    I have my contacts2.db in my pc. How do i copy it back to the phone? Just put the file in the SD card and type the commands n the terminal?


  4. miron says:

    These commands would be typed in a terminal on the phone, as root. Yes, Android is based on linux, and you get a shell. However, you have to root your phone and use ‘adb shell’ to get a shell prompt, then type ‘su’ to get root. The tricky part is rooting your phone, which is beyond the scope of this article…

  5. Hrvoje says:

    Hi there!

    I did all this on my XPERIA X10. But I have a problem. Whenever I delete the old contacts2.db and replace it with the new one, I open the contacts app and the new one with all the numbers and stuff gets immediately replaced by the old one again which appears from nowhere. Funny thing is, if I tap on the call log I can see all the old calls with all the correct contact names. And then, one by one, the names get deleted and only call record show, and my phonebook is back to having none of the contacts from the file I just copied. What can I do?

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