How to avoid losing all your contacts

3 min read
13 Aug 2017
3 min read
571 words
Our resident geek explains how you can backup your contact lists in the cloud and never lose your contacts

New phone, who dis?

I lost my phone recently, and all the contacts that I had collected throughout the years got lost with it. I bought a new phone, and right now I’m going around asking for everyone’s number. How do I avoid a similar situation in the future?
— Samriddhi Ghimire

Dear Samriddhi,
I occasionally see some of my Facebook friends posting statuses along the lines of “I lost all my phone contacts. Please message me your name and number.” Whenever I see statuses like these, the first thought that comes to my mind is, “Wow, why don’t people use one of the many cloud services to back up their contacts and seamlessly sync them across their devices?”. And there’s the answer to your question right there: back up your contacts; it’s really not that difficult. Depending on which phone you have, you can choose between a few backup services. If you have an iPhone, iCloud is the default, if you have an Android phone, just use Google Contacts and if you have a Windows Phone—“Wow, people still use a Windows Phone?”. 

Google Contacts is by far the best solution mostly because it works on both Android and iOS and on the web at This means that if you, an iOS user, buy an Android, you won’t have to go through the trouble of exporting contacts from iCloud and importing them into Google Contacts, since you can’t log in to iCloud on an Android. The desktop website is useful for easily managing contacts on a computer, instead of fumbling around on a tiny phone screen. Google Contacts also has a few good features like automatically detecting any duplicate contacts, options to merge contacts, and the usual grouping and labelling options, if you need them. On Android, go to the accounts setting page and log in with your Google account and turn on ‘Contacts’ in the sync options: all your contacts are automatically synced and any new ones are automatically backed up. One important thing to note on some Android phones is that when you create a new contact, it gives you an option of where to save it: make sure you choose ‘Google Account’, instead of saving the contact to the SIM card or on the phone itself. On iOS, go to Settings > Contacts > Accounts > Add Account and log in with your Google account and then turn on the “Contacts” option—and all your contacts will get synced just like on Android. At first, it might seem counterintuitive to use Google Contacts on an iOS device instead of the built in iCloud. But ultimately, both work exactly the same, and it’s really just a matter of cross-platform compatibility. If you’re invested in Apple’s ecosystem already and have no plans to buy an Android phone ever, then of course just use iCloud. In the event that you lose your phone again, relax, just buy a new one—your contacts are safe in the cloud.

(Photos by Nirnit Tandukar)