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Issues with Google deleting contacts and their recovery [Xiaomi Mi A2] [Android 10]


May 14, 2023
Ok so on aforementioned Xiaomi Mi A2 (meaning "clean" Android, as in the same thing that's in Pixels) I have ran into an issue:

In an attempt to backup contacts and transfer them over to new phone, I have done 2 things:
  • Exported contact list as .vcf file
  • Created new google account
However, I've ran into problems,
  1. The .vcf file reads as having 0 B file size, can not be opened as well as imported.
  2. After logging in via the newly created Google accounts, all my contacts seem to be gone.
    Well, partially: I can see them in the "last called" (Phone) app but not in contacts and they do not show up when someone is trying to call the phone.
Any possible advice on what I should try? I'm desperate at this point.
I have tried:
  • Opening the .vcf file elsewhere
  • Using the option to "Revert 30 days back" in the contacts menu
  • Logging out of the Google account
I'm mainly trying to recover the contact data.
So the first question is whether they were written to the vcf file. You say you tried opening it elsewhere, what did you find? A vcf is a text file, so anything capable of reading plain text (and editor or word processing app) should let you look at the contents. Or any file browser should let you see what size it is. Is it really 0B (i.e. completely empty) or is there something in it?

And if it is empty, how about the copy on the old phone (the one you exported to)? Was that empty all along, or was it copying it off the phone that went wrong? If it's OK on the old phone then you need to try copying again. If it is empty on the old phone try exporting again (paying attention to any options, such as which contact groups it is exporting).

If you created a new Google account then of course it won't have any contacts: it's a new account. So I'm a little confused about that - maybe you don't mean quite what you wrote. But if your old contacts were synced with a Google account you could try logging into that account from a computer, going to "Contacts" and exporting them from there (which should create a new vcard file directly on the computer).
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