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June 9, 2011 1:02 PM   Subscribe

I have an Android phone. (Samsung Galaxy S, running 2.1 -- I have had trouble getting Kies to work to update.) I have a contacts list there. It is supposed to sync with google contacts. It does not seem to do so properly.

For many of my contacts I have 2 linked contacts, one on my phone and one on gmail/google contacts. The one on the phone -- generally the one with a phone number only -- does not sync to google. I do not know if the ones on google are ALSO saved to my sim card, though I have said to export all contacts from my phone to my sim card.

What I want is one list of contacts, so that if I am on gmail I can see all my contacts, including both their phone numbers and their email addresses but also saved onto my sim card so that if I get a new phone that is perhaps not an android phone I already have my phonebook.

Is this even possible? I will upgrade to a newer OS if that is the only solution.
posted by jeather to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If I rephrase what you want, is it a list of contacts in your phone that you also have a backup copy of?

Enter everything into google/gmail, and then on the web page for contacts select "export all" and save the file. There's your backup.

Your SIM card typically cannot hold a complex contact entry. It's often name + single phone number.
posted by devbrain at 1:21 PM on June 9, 2011

I think Devbrain has the most elegant solution here. What exactly is happening with your phone, though, where you think it is not syncing with your gmail account properly?

I have the same phone, the AT&T branded version (Samsung Captivate), although at this point I am running a custom ROM. Even back when I had the stock firmware installed, I never noticed an issue with my contacts not synchronizing. Generally within a few minutes of making a change on my PC, my phone would be updated with the new info/photo/whatever.
posted by Jinkeez at 2:11 PM on June 9, 2011

On my Galaxy S, when I add a new contact I get a choice:
Save to Phone or Save to Google.

On an existing contact, you should see a Google logo under the "joined contacts" bar.
posted by CathyG at 4:52 PM on June 9, 2011

Response by poster: For example, I am looking at my sister's contact. On the phone I see the little google logo. If I go into the contact, I see there are two linked contacts, one phone, one google, and she has one phone number and one email address. When I go on the web, only her email address appears. Clearly her phone number is linked to the phone contact and her email adderss is linked to the gmail contact. This is not intelligent, as phone contacts do not sync, and I can't figure out how to change all my phone contacts to google contacts. They are linked, but not for the purposes of syncing.

I do not want to manually enter in 50 phone numbers on the web when they are already there in my phone.

(I think that my carrier has suspended over the air updating, so I still have to figure out how to get Kies to work.)
posted by jeather at 6:25 AM on June 10, 2011

Best answer: OHHH I understand. Yeah, as far as I can tell, when you "join" or "link" a contact it doesn't really synchronize them or anything, it just groups it together on the phone, so that you have one "Bob Smith" listed in all of your contacts instead of two separate "Bob Smith" entries.

I'm working from memory a bit, so I apologize if you don't have this as an option, but I believe you can accomplish your goal by exporting the contacts stored on your phone. There should be an "import/export" option in the Contacts menu somewhere, which will allow you to export all of them to the SD card as a .vcf file.

That .vcf can be imported in Google, although you might need to have a look at all your Google contacts afterward to verify that duplicates haven't been created.

To get the exported contact list off the phone, you will probably need to connect it to a PC in mass storage mode and copy the file off (you'll need a USB cable), or connect via bluetooth and use something like (MyPhone Explorer), or maybe just email yourself the file if the Samsung email client supports sending attachments.

Afterward, you may also want to change the default Contacts setting so that new contacts are automatically created on Google instead of on your phone.

Sorry for being so wordy, I hope this all helps!
posted by Jinkeez at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2011

Also, I just remembered -- my Samsung Captivate did not come with an SD card, so if you don't have one you may have to grab one. They're really cheap though! :)
posted by Jinkeez at 9:03 AM on June 10, 2011

Response by poster: Excellent, Jinkeez. I exported to my SD card (I own one), uploaded to Dropbox, then imported to google contacts. It cleaned up a few duplicates, and now all the phone numbers appear in google contacts. Syncing it with my phone still leaves my sister's phone number in 2 places, on the phone and in google, but that's not a big deal. Weird, but not a big deal.

This is really, really terrible UI though.

I think the problem was that when I initially imported all the phone numbers from my old phone, it saved them to the phone automatically.
posted by jeather at 9:21 AM on June 10, 2011

Hey, that's great! It's odd that the number's showing up in two places, though. If joining the contacts didn't get rid of the duplicate, I think you also have the option to display contacts from only one source if you wish, so that might be another way to hide the extra entries... Check "Display Options" under the "More" menu in Contacts.

As Horselover Phattie mentioned, Gingerbread is allegedly in the works for the Galaxy S, so I wouldn't bother with Froyo unless you really need the updates. In fact, once I updated to Froyo I started hating Swype a lot, it seemed to add all my contacts' names into the Swype dictionary and keep them there--even after I would delete them--which made for very frustrating typing when "Guite" would come up instead of "How," and "Hime" would come up instead of "Home" :P Don't hold your breath on that Gingerbread update anytime soon, though, I think getting Froyo took a year longer than it was supposed to ;)
posted by Jinkeez at 9:54 AM on June 10, 2011

Response by poster: Canadians get all the updates last. My father has Froyo, and it's just so pretty, though I have to dig up a computer with XP or maybe Ubuntu to try Kies again.

The contacts show up once each, but when I look at (say) my sister, I see I have 2 linked contacts, and her phone number appears in both but her email address appears only in the google one. It's *weird*, but not so problematic.

I am a little wary of modding my phone, especially until I can get it properly backed up.
posted by jeather at 10:05 AM on June 10, 2011

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