I am trying to put some order in my contact list. The situation is as follows: I have first imported my contacts from Gmail and enabled sync, but I have set the phone as the default contact repository (until now), so that new contacts were saved on the phone.

The result is as follows. I have some contacts on phone only, some merged between phone and Gmail, some Gmail only. I would like to have all contacts Gmail only, wihtout duplicates, except for some occasional contacts I want to keep on the phone (say, the plumber).

It is easy, though tedious and error prone, to go through the contacts that live only on the phone, since they do not show the Gmail icon in the address list. I can then manually import them in Gmail and remove the contact on the phone.

My problem is that I don't know how to find out which contacts have some information on the phone and some in Gmail, since they appear as Gmail only in the list. I have to actually open each one to find out. Moreover, once I find out, I would like to be able to copy the information that is on the phone to the Gmail account, so that I can sort the mess in Gmail and remove the contact on the phone.

What is the simplest way to reorganize the contacts so as to move all the information on Gmail?

If it is relevant, I am on Android 2.2


2 Answers 2


I'm working from memory here as I'm now running ICS on my phone so I may be a bit off here. If you go into your phonebook settings, you should be able to stop it showing your gmail contacts.

Now, to get them into gmail contacts just do the following. Go to your phonebook, this will now just be showing you the contacts stored on your phone. You should be able to export this as a VCF file. Copy this file to your computer. Now just log into your gmail account, go to contacts and then import the VCF from there. Then delete all the phone contacts and re-sync your phone to gmail.

You may still have to do a bit of merging if you have part of a contact saved in gmail and saved in the phone memory but this will take most of the hassle out of getting them into gmail.

  • Unfortunately, this does not preserve the pictures. Still, I think this is the best way for now
    – Andrea
    Jul 2, 2012 at 6:48

Thanks, it actually helped!

HOW TO CLEAN THE MESS IN GINGERBREAD CONTACTS. THE PROBLEM: some contacts were from google, some from phone only, some from skype and some from facebook. So the main problem was that there were contacts which were on the phone but not on google. More over it merged contacts from different services and sometimes incorrectly. I just wanted a universal set google contacts and nothing else.


backup the contacts. In contacts screen > menu> export > sd card.

Unsynk from google and all other services(Skype, facebook): settings> accounts> click account> unsynk contacts only.

delete all contacts: contacts> menu> delete> select all> delete.

turn the sync back on.

Get an error message - sync has problems.

Find this message in the slide down are (how do you name it?) - you grab the top of the screen, slide it down - there are messages.

Click on the error message.

It says "too many deletes."

Pick to undelete google contacts.


RESULT: only google contacts are shown.

Also, in settings, somewhere, there is a setting to save all new contacts to your google account (not phone), do that. Now all contacts are unified and under control.

Also restore the contacts from SD card (contacts>menu> import> pick the file you saved, it has 0001 in it)> this will create duplicates.

(Give the sync few minutes to upload all restored contacts to Gmail)

Go to Gmail, contact> remove duplicates, run it few times until all dups are gone.

Now it is perfect.

  • Please try to summarize what you are saying and try to be specific a little
    – Sid
    Dec 31, 2012 at 15:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .