When exporting contacts from the standard contacts application to the disk and importing them to Thunderbird - the pictures are missing.

I'd like to export all contacts with pictures though.

Is there a way to get a 100% backup of my contacts? Where are they stored and how can I back them up?

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    That's strange. When I use menu → Export from the contacts app, pictures are contained in the created 00001.vcf. Could you check the exported file for a string like PHOTO;ENCODING=BASE64;JPEG (one example from mine, followed by the base64 encoded pic)? Really nothing? What is the source of the pics (maybe merged in from Facebook or the like)? Also, what's your device?
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 10:52
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    @Izzy Thanks for the reply. Your hunch is correct, the 00001.vcf created during the export does contain the encoded photos with the same string that you mention. The source of the pics is mostly .jpg but could also contain some other formats. The device is a Nexus 4 running Cyanogenmod 10.2 . I guess the error has to be then how Thunderbird imports these contacts. Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 11:08
  • @Izzy I have now imported the contacts file by not using the default way that thunderbird offers, but by using the option that the Thunderbird add-on MoreFunctionsForAddressBook offers. Using its vcard import function I get all the pictures! Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 11:12
  • Glad it solved – and thanks for answering your question! Don't forget to accept your answer (you can do so in ~2 days) to show your problem has a solution ;)
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


User @Izzy explained that encoded pictures are actually included in the .vcf created from the export.

This led me to think that the issue is actually with Thunbird's contacts import and not with android's contacts export. As it turns out this is right.

Since the default way for Thunderbird to import vcards appears to be faulty, I used the add-on MoreFunctionsForAddressBook to import the address book. It worked fine and included all the pictures!

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