Over the past few months I have seen several Facebook status message that say something like “I lost all of the contacts on my phone. Please message me your phone number if I should have it.” or something like that. I have also talked to a few people who have reported “I got a new phone so I lost all of my contacts.”
With technology being what it is today no one should be losing their smartphone contacts. No one! There are cloud based services in place that allow us to keep our email, contacts, calendars, and even photos and data backed up from several devices at all times. A couple of simple steps that usually involve just adding your account to the phone and checking the sync box and your smartphone contacts, calendar, email, and more can be backed up in whatever cloud you choose so that even if your phone is run over by a bus you will never lose your data.
Google Sync (Android & iOS)
Yes, here I am touting the praises of Google sync again. But it is for good reason. No matter what smartphone you use these days you can keep your contacts, calendar, and email backed up in real-time with a Google/Gmail account. In addition you can access files on Google Drive, and save your photos to Google Photos. If you are using an Android, you should definitely be using a Gmail account to get the full benefit. And if you are using one more than device, switching over is seamless. When you add a contact on your phone, it is instantly available to you on Gmail.com. You add an appointment, it is immediately uploaded to your online Google calendar. Check out the Google Sync website for instructions on how to set up syncing for your device. There are instructions available for iOS, Android, and other devices.
iCloud (iOS only)
If you use an iOS device, you can still use Google sync to keep your information backed up. Visit the Google Sync website for specific instructions. It works very well. The only thing that I do not like on iOS in terms of using Google/Gmail is the mail app. For this I use the Gmail app and not the built-in mail client.
If you are not a Gmail user, you might opt to use the Apple native cloud service, iCloud, to accomplish this task. When you setup your iOS device it may have asked you if you want to use iCloud to back up your data. To check the settings, from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, go to Settings–>iCloud. Here you will see several options for Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Notes, and Photos. Near the bottom is also an option for Storage & Backup. There you can see how much space you are using and change your storage plan. Once it is set up, your data will be duplicated on your other iOS devices. You can also then head over to iCloud.com from your Mac or PC to access your mail, contacts, calendar, notes, reminders, and iWork documents. You can also setup Find my iDevice which can track your iPhone, etc. if stolen.
As of this writing, there are several reports that as of January 31, 2013 Google has decided to drop support for Windows 8. If you have previously connected your Windows device to your Google account, you are safe. However Google is not allowing any new connections via Activesync. There are some reports that say new connections to the service will be allowed for Windows Phone users through July 31.
If you are one of the lucky ones that have already connected your account with your Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 tablet, or Windows RT Tablets like the Surface, your contacts are likely already being backed up via the People app. Open the People app and hit the Accounts button in the upper right hand corner. Here you can add a Microsoft, Facebook, Gmail, Skype, or Twitter account. It will instantly start syncing in the background and keep everything up to date.
UPDATE: OneDrive now allows Windows Phone users to sync their phones via their Microsoft Account.
Whether you use an Android Phone, iPhone, or Windows Phone 8 there is no reason for you to lose your contacts. Follow the steps above and start syncing now!