Aug 31
I was very frustrated to learn that any contacts I added to my phone were not syncing to either my gmail account or my exchange account (as it had done on my Blackberry).  This is because they are of type “Phone” and it is currently not possible to change that type once the contact has been saved.  So this is the procedure I used to “change” the type to Exchange.
    1. Export all contacts to your SD card.  You will have to export each category by individulally (phone, sim, google, and exchange, as well as any other accounts you have)
    2. When the export has completed, go into your accounts and make sure none of them are set to sync contacts for now.
    3. Open “People”  , navigate to view all and hit the menu button.
    4. Select “View”
    5. Select the accounts which contain contacts that you wish to change to “Exchange” or “Google” and Hit Done.
    6. Hit the Menu button again and select Delete.
    7. In the Delete screen, hit the menu button again and chose to Select All, and hit the delete option.
    8. Now all your contacts you want to convert are gone, we’ll re-import them under the correct account.
    9. In “People” hit the menu button again and select “Import/Export”, and “Import from SD Card”
    10. IMPORTANT: now you will be prompted as to which account to create the contacts under.  Select the account (Exchange or Google).
    11. Select one of the files you exported earlier and hit ok.  Repeat for all the files you exported (and deleted the contacts) from earlier.
    12. Check to make sure all your contacts were imported correctly, by going through steps 3-5 again and selecting the accounts you wish to see the contacts of.
    13. Now go back into your accounts and select to sync contacts again.
    14. Sync and you are done!

I had a bit of trouble getting my Thunderbolt to sync all those contacts after this process.  So I went into applications >manage applications and found the “Contacts Storage” and hit “Clear Data” (Warning, this will wipe your call log as well).  Then it was able to sync just fine.


16 Responses to “Android – Change all Contacts to Exchange ActiveSync or to Google”

  1. Dave Says:

    You don’t have to do this anymore. With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich there is a move menu option and you can move contacts from one account to another. For example if you have google and active sync/PHONE just select “Move” pick you PHONE acount and then another menu will come up and pick your “google” account and it will move all the contacts from one account to the other.

  2. Zen Says:

    Thanks, Dave. I’m glad to see that Google plugged this usability hole. My HTC Thunderbolt has not yet been updated to ICS (and I’m not holding my breath). But it is great to know that my next phone will be able to do this. I assume Jelly Bean keeps this functionality.

  3. picaboo Says:

    Hi Dave,

    I have samsung galaxy 2 with android 4.0.3. I can’t find the “Move” option you mention.

    i come to the home screen, press the orange icon “Contacts”. The screen now shows all contacts alphabetically. I touch the “Menu”, which is on the glass, just left of the square plastic button (home button) at the bottom center of the screen. A gray color menu comes up containing the following items.
    * Delete
    * Import/Export
    * Merge with Google
    * Accounts
    * Speed Dial settings
    * Send email
    * Send message
    * Contacts to Display
    * Settings

    I do not see any “Move” option.

    Now I touch a contact that is currently synched with exchange. The entry opens, showing all numbers and emails for this entry. I touch left of the “home” button, which brings up a menu. This menu has following items,

    * History
    * Delete
    * Join contact
    * Mark as default
    * Share Namecard via
    * add to reject list
    * Print namecard

    That’s all. No “move” option here too.

    I have lots of names in my contact that were previously synched with the exchange server at my work. This happened when I just started using this phone (my first android device) and hardly knew the android world. This setting must have happened when our sysad configured my phone to get work emails via exchange active sync.

    Now that I have left that company, I want to move all those names to google account. I am setup googl as my primary connection so that all new names I am saving are now syncing with google. But my pain is the 100s of names that were previously connected with exchange server and now not getting synced. Kind of quarrantined…if my phone breaks, I risk loosing all those contacts.

    I tried manually creating contact with google connection and then manually copying entry details from exchange to google. Horrible experience. It will take ages for me to manually transferring all contacts to google.

    Please help if the “move” option is to be found elsewhere or suggest a better way to move contacts to google.

  4. Kumanan Balasundaram Says:


    You sorted my Andro-pain just like that.
    Precise instruction.


  5. Edward Says:

    hi picaboo,

    got to the people app. from there hit menu and you should be able to see a “move contact” options. from there, you can choose to move contact from gmail to exchange and vice versa

  6. JardaCZ Says:

    In my Samsung Galaxy SIII with ICS there is no “move” option. Did you find a solution?


  7. Griff Says:

    I’m on 4.2.2 on my HTC One and found this. In the People app, tap the 3 dot menu button. There is an option to manage contacts that will allow you to copy from one directory to another. Problem is that then you will have duplicate contacts in 2 directories as it does just ‘copy’ rather than move. Here comes the real painful part….. you then have to de-duplicate and then merge from the same menu to clean up all your duplicates and have just one entry in one account. If you have a lot of contacts its a pain.

  8. marek Says:

    Hi, it´s definitely interesting. In the meantime I found app called “contacts+”. it´s free and you can manage, backup and restore ALL your contacts synced only on exchange account with google, etc…

    For me, this was the solution… I hope this helped.

  9. Sony Xperia c3 Says:

    when i try to add new contact pop up msg ” your new contact will not be backed up. add an account that backs up contacts on-line ?”
    and when i click on add account only “Exchange ActiveSync “Account is showing ,But i have Gmail account,and their is no option for add contact in gmail. why i cant add contact to my gmail account. Plz help

  10. Zen Says:

    Looks like it may be a Sony problem. Disabling Sim2 (Simply 2) seems to fix the issue (at least temporarily). See forum here:

  11. DZav Says:

    For some reason many of my contacts have multiple activesync links. Like as many as 8 for the same person. Of the eight 7 are identical and and 1 has the same name but may have additional information. How do I get ride of all these duplicate activesync listing and how did I get so many in the first place? I have a Samsung s5

  12. Sandy Says:

    so what if I DONT want my contacts in my phone on the exchange server? I put addresses in the phone and none of it shows up. I want ALL my contacts that I added to my phone to show up ON MY PHONE.

  13. Sandy Says:

    how do I get all my contacts that i added on my phone to show up ON MY PHONE. I added over 20 name and addresses i wanted on my phone and because of this stupid exchange server they dont show up and I never wanted it to begin with. NOW I dont know how to get rid of the damn thing.

  14. dumbblogger Says:

    when i try to add new contact pop up msg ” your new contact will not be backed up. add an account that backs up contacts on-line ?”
    and when i click on add account only “Exchange ActiveSync “Account is showing ,But i have Gmail account,and their is no option for add contact in gmail

  15. Zen Says:

    When you are adding a new contact, what “account” are you adding it under? You can add a new contact right in the gmail app if you want it to be gmail.

  16. Grabber Blue Says:

    This worked for me. Android 7.0 on Galaxy A5
    I had 45 contacts only on phone, 1 in Samsung account and the remaining 632 in Exchange ActiveSync. I wanted to move the phone contacts and the one in Samsung account to Exchange.

    Apps, Contacts, Menu, Manage Contacts, Import/Export Contacts, Export.
    This exports ALL contacts from phone, SIM, and all accounts to a VCF file which I directed to the SD card. Then I imported from SD card (Apps, Contacts, Menu, Manage Contacts, Import/Export Contacts, Import) and selected Exchange ActiveSync as destination. Then viewed only the contacts on Phone: Apps, Contacts, Menu, Settings, Contacts to display and selected Phone so only my 45 phone contacts display. Deleted all those and then did the same for my Samsung account.