How to find out where your Android contacts are stored

How to find out where your Android contacts are stored

Many owners of mobile devices with Android operating system wonder where their contacts are stored. It may be necessary to view all saved data or, for example, make a backup copy of it. Each user may have their own reasons, but in this article we will tell you where the address book information is stored.

Where to store contacts on Android

Smartphone phonebook data can be stored in two places and are of two completely different types. The first is the records in the accounts of the application that have an address book or its counterpart. The second is an electronic document stored in the internal memory of the phone, which contains absolutely all the contacts available on the device and on the accounts connected to it. Users are more often interested in it, but we will talk about each of the available options.

Option 1: App accounts

On a smartphone with a relatively recent version of the Android operating system, the contacts can be stored in the internal memory or in one of the accounts. The latter, in most cases, is a Google account used on the device to access the search giant's services. Other additional options are possible: "manufacturer" accounts. Thus, Samsung, ASUS, Xiaomi, Meizu and many others allow to save important user information, including the calendar, in their own storage, acting as a kind of analog of a Google profile. This account is created when the device is set up for the first time, and it can also be used as the default location for saving contacts.

Read also: How to save contacts in your Google account

Note: In older smartphones, phone numbers could be stored not only in the device memory or main account, but also on the SIM card. Now you can only view, extract and save the contacts from the SIM card in another location.

In the case described, the standard application is used to access the data contained in the address book "Contacts".. But in addition to it, there may be other applications installed on the mobile device that have their own address book, in one way or another. These include messengers (Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp, etc.), email, and social media clients (for example, Facebook and its Messenger) - each of them has a tab or menu item "Contacts".. The information that appears in them can be extracted from the main calendar of the standard application or saved there manually.

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Summarizing the above, a logical, if very trivial conclusion can be drawn: the contacts are stored in the selected account or on the device itself. It all depends on where you have chosen yourself as the main location or what has been specified in the device settings from the beginning. As for the address books of third-party applications, we can say that rather they serve as a kind of aggregators of existing contacts, although they offer the possibility of adding new entries.

Search and sync contacts
Once the theory is finished, let's move on to practice. We will tell you where and how to see the list of accounts connected to your Android smartphone or tablet and activate their synchronization, if it has been deactivated.

    1. From the application menu or the home screen of your mobile device, launch the application "Contacts"..

    1. There, using the side menu (accessed by swiping from left to right or by pressing the three horizontal bars in the upper left corner), navigate to "Settings"..
    2. Click on the item. "Accounts".to access the list of all accounts linked to the unit.

Note: A similar section is found in "Settings". of the device, all you have to do is open «Users and accounts». The information that appears in this section will be more detailed, which in our particular case is not important.

    1. From the list of accounts provided, select the one for which you want to activate data synchronization.
    2. Most messengers allow only contacts to be synchronized, which in our case is the main task. To go to the desired section, select the item "Synchronize accounts"., and then simply move the rocker switch to the active position.

From now on, the information entered or modified for each of the calendar items will be sent in real time to the servers or cloud storage of the selected application and will be saved there.

Also read: How to synchronize contacts with your Google account

You do not need to back up this information additionally. In addition, they will be available even after reinstalling the application, and even if you use a new mobile device. All you have to do to see them is connect to the application.

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Change where your contacts are stored
In the same case, if you want to change the storage location of the contacts by default, you have to do the following:

    1. Repeat steps 1-2 from the previous instruction.
    2. Low. "Change of contacts." click on the item. "Default account for new contacts".
    3. In the box that appears, select one of the suggested options: available accounts or mobile device memory.

Changes made will be applied automatically. From now on, all new contacts will be saved to the location you specified.

Option 2: Data file

In addition to the information in the address books of standard and third-party applications that developers store on their own servers or in the cloud, there is a shared file for all data that can be viewed, copied, and modified. Is named contacts.db o contacts2.db.It depends on the version of the operating system or the manufacturer's shell, or the firmware installed. However, it is not easy to find and open it - to get to its real location you need root rights, and to view the content (on a mobile device or computer) - SQLite-manager.

Read also: How to get root rights on Android

The contact database is exactly the file that users search most often. It can be used as an address book backup or in a situation where you need to restore all your saved contacts. The latter is especially relevant in cases where the screen of a smartphone or tablet is broken, or when the device is completely inoperative and there is no access to the account that contains the address book. In this way, when you have the file in hand, you can open it to view it or move it to another device, thus accessing all your saved contacts.

Also read: How to Transfer Contacts from Android to Android

So if you have root rights on your mobile device and you have a file manager installed that supports them, do the following to get the contacts.db or contacts2.db file:

Note: Our example uses ES Explorer, so in case you are using another browser application, some steps may be slightly different, but not critically. Also, if your file manager already has root access, the first four steps in the following instructions can be skipped.

Read also: How to check root rights on Android

    1. Start the file manager and if this is the first time you are using it, read the information provided and press "Ahead"..
    2. Open the main menu of the application: it is done by sliding from left to right or by touching the vertical bars in the upper left corner.
    3. Activate the Root Guide function by moving the toggle switch in front of the item of the same name to the active position.
    4. Then press "Allow". in the pop-up window and make sure the app has the necessary rights.

Note: Sometimes after granting root rights to the file manager, it is necessary to forcibly terminate it (via the multitasking menu) and then restart it. Otherwise, the application may not display the contents of the folder of interest.

    1. Reopen the file manager menu, scroll down and select from "Local storage". article "Device"..
    2. In the list of directories that opens, go through the folders with the same names one by one - "data".
    3. If necessary, change the folder display style to a list, then scroll down a bit and open the directory "".
    4. In it, navigate to the folder "databases". Inside it will be located the file contacts.db o contacts2.db. (remember, the name depends on the firmware).
    5. The file can be opened to view it as text, but this will require a special SQLite manager. For example, the developers of Root Explorer have such an application, and they offer to install it from the Play Market. However, this tool to view the content of the databases is distributed on a paid basis.
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Now that you know the actual location of the contacts on your Android device, or rather, where the file that contains them is stored, you can copy it and save it in a safe place. As mentioned above, you can open and edit the file using a special application. If you need to transfer the contacts from one smartphone to another, simply place the file in the following path:


After that, all your contacts will be available to view and use on the new device.

Read also: How to Transfer Contacts from Android to Computer


In this article, we have talked about where contacts are stored on Android. The first of the options described allows you to view the address book entries, find out where all of them are stored by default and, if necessary, change this location. The second allows direct access to the database file that can be saved as a backup or simply transferred to another device where it will perform its main function. We hope this material has been useful to you.

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