Protecting & Saving Your Personal Contacts on Mobile Devices

Mobile phones are an amazing piece of technology. They have become an inseparable part of how we stay in contact with each other. They’re our lifeline of data; a mini computer at our fingertips. From phone numbers, to addresses, to birthdays – almost every important piece of information we know about each other is kept on our mobile phones. However, now-a-days we are also using and accessing our personal phone for business needs, and have those contacts and data points integrated on our phone as well.

But where is all this personal and business contact information kept? And more importantly; who owns it?

Most people would say “I keep all my contact information on my personal phone. Thus, the data is stored on my phone. So (in theory), since it’s my phone, it’s my data…right?” Surprisingly to most, this is not always true.

Contact information stored on our phones is unique because there are situations where that data is not necessarily ours. Contacts that are associated with our work, and specifically our work email account, are technically the intellectual property of our employer. Many times this will lead to us unexpectedly losing contact information from our phone if we change our employer. When your work email account is disabled, any contacts, that are associated with this email account are removed. 

Again, we want to emphasize, if ALL your contact data is associated with your work email account, you could accidentally lose even personal contacts when removing a former employer’s email account from your device.

Case study: Howard Tech most recently had this situation happen to a client which prompted this article. The client employee had all her personal contacts, e.g., her mom, veterinarian, plumber, friends, mixed in with her business email address book and contacts on her personal phone. This is totally fine when you are at said employer and integrating work and life as we all do daily.

However, when the employee eventually left the company, her business email address, thus her entire email account, was disabled. This is standard policy when an employee leaves a company. She lost all her contacts – both business AND personal – since all the data was associated with her former work email account. There was nothing we could do to assist her and retrieve the contacts retro-actively. 

At this point your probably thinking “OMG, how can I protect myself and my contact data?”

The most important thing we can do to protect against an accidental loss of personal contacts is to properly set our default contact account on our device. Follow the steps below for Apple or Android devices to set a default email account and be sure your default is set to a personal account.

Apple Users:*

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Contact.
  3. Scroll down and tap Default Account.
  4. Tap the account you would like to use as your default mail account. 

* If you have only one email account on your iPhone OR you have chosen not to sync contacts when initially setting an email account up you may not see this option.

Android Users:

  1. Go to Contacts. You can access it from the phone’s bottom drawer or from the app drawer.
  2. Press the Menu key on your phone. When the Contact’s menu appears, choose More to show more settings.
  3. Go to Settings.
  4. Find the Save new contacts to option. By default, this option is set to ‘Always’ ask. Tap on it to change.
  5. When the Save contact to window pops up, you can choose the default location to save contacts to. Available options are: Phone, SIM,and your Google account.
  6. Later, if you want to change the save location, just repeat the steps above.


This is just a simple way to protect your contacts from being deleted should you change jobs or email addresses. Our team wants to make sure you don’t lose your valuable contacts (both personal and business) BEFORE it happens. As always, if you have questions or need additional guidance, please contact our support team to help you.


At Howard Tech Advisors, we manage your IT infrastructure so that you don’t have to. Whether you need assistance creating a disaster recovery plan or you’d like to outsource your IT needs, we can help! Keep up with our weekly blog to stay up-to-date on the latest tech trends, security information you need to know to stay safe online, and tips and tricks to effectively navigating an increasingly mobile world.

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