Blackberry contacts backup without BIS or app

Backing up the Contacts/Address book on black berry phone without Blackberry Internet Services or Desktop Software:

Desktop Software from Blackberry provides an option to sync contacts with the Windows contacts but I do not use Windows. It does not provide for backing up of the contacts as a stand alone file. Now with Gmail Sync gone dead. It may be a problem on some rainy day if the phone crashes. Searching for an app to sync or backup the contacts, I came across several apps in App Store, but none was working properly. For example:

JUMP Backup: works only on phones sold by Jump phones in USA. Wirefly had very poor review. Not a single user recommended it.  Phonebook For Ever is a browser-based contacts web site in which each contact has to be manually typed/added. (Some pre-cloud/CSI technology) Contact Backup by Droid Mobile does back up the contacts for free but it retains the xls file which can not be opened or sent in unpaid version. In fact it can not be known if this file would be readable in paid version as well. Hence I did not go beyond trying the unpaid version.

There are many paid apps but there is no way to know if any will work. Especially when few apps actually deliver what they promise. A Paid apps called Backup Contacts by Amaira Soft, creates numerous vcard or vcf files in a folder on media card. It charges a meager amount of Rs. 37/- for this service but it is not worth it. Why? Because there is a simple solution like this, without any app.


Backing up contacts

This solution backs up the entire phone book via bluetooth and no app or BIS or anything is required except another device with bluetooth. If properly setup, just one click is required. These are the steps for backing up:

1. Start Blue tooth on blackberry and the laptop and pair the device with the trusted status. It means that the laptop should accept the incoming file without asking for each file.

BlackBerry Contacts Backup2. Now on Blackberry goto Network & Connections, Select Bluetooth Connections and now select or highlight the laptop or other device to which contacts have to be sent. Now press option key and select Transfer Contacts and press the trackpad to execute. See picture on the left.

3. Once executed this will send each contact as a separate .vcf file. Earlier versions i.e. before OS 7.01 may send all contacts in one vcf file. But I am not sure. In Linux/Ubuntu these files shall be deposited in Download folder. In Microsoft, I will have to check up with Mr. Gates, about present policy of the company in this regard.

Making contacts usable

Now each contact in separate file is not a comfortable solution. Hence we shall combine all the contacts into one file. This one file can be imported into Gmail or Yahoo or Outlook or Thunderbird without any problem. BTW these separate contacts can give one wonderful opportunity to weed out the older/unusable ones. In Windows, Outlook support drag and drop of each file. In Windows 7 onwards, there is a Contact folder in User folder which keeps each contact in separate vcf file. These imported contacts can be transferred to that folder for immediate use in windows.

Creating one file

In windows:

First open Explorer and create a new folder in c: drive with the name ‘contacts’ and transfer all the above received vcf files to that folder.

Run cmd to open DOS terminal and run following command (type exactly as given below or copy paste):

copy /B c:\contacts\*.vcf  c:\contacts\all-contacts.vcf

The above command will create a new merged file with the name of “all-contacts.vcf” in the contacts folder. This file contains complete address book from the phone. “/B” switch ensures that thumbnails of photographs remain intact.

In Ubuntu/Linux:

Create a folder on Desktop with the name ‘contacts‘ and transfer all the received vcf files to this folder. Now open terminal (with Control+Alt+T) and type this command (type exactly as given below or copy paste):

cat ~/Desktop/contacts/*.vcf >~/Desktop/all-contacts.vcf

This will create a new file “all-contacts.vcf” on the Desktop. Now upload this file to any website or phonebook of any device or just date it and keep as back-up. BTW Thunderbird is not showing thumbnails from these files i.e. the individual one or the consolidated one.

All the best.

© Sandeep Bhalla

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1 thought on “Blackberry contacts backup without BIS or app

  1. Pingback: Blackberry OS 10: An admission of guilt and punishment to loyalty. | Sandeep Bhalla's Blog

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