Retrieve or backup Android (LineageOS) contacts with adb
I have a broken phone that doesn’t register touch events anymore.
I have a new phone now, but the old one has all the phone numbers.
I tried to find a way to get the contacts out of there using
For adb to work, adb debugging must be (or have been, in my case) enabled on the device. To enable developer settings, touch “Build number” in “About phone” 15 times. (See elsewhere for more information)
I needed root shell to access the
/data folder on the device.
$ adb root $ adb shell
Then in the root shell, I tried to find some files related to contacts
# find . -iname *contact* 2>/dev/null [...] ./data/data/com.android.providers.contacts/databases/contacts2.db [...]
Opening the .db file in a text editor showed that it was a sqlite3 database file.
I backed it up with
adb pull, then opened it up with
$ adb pull ./data/data/com.android.providers.contacts/databases ~/contacts $ sqlite3 -readonly ~/contacts/contacts2.db
In the sqlite shell, you can use
.tables to list all tables in the database,
.schema [name] to dump the schema.
The interesting tables (as far as I could find) were
I created a query to dump all the names and numers in the database.
SELECT DISTINCT c.display_name, n.normalized_number FROM raw_contacts AS c LEFT JOIN phone_lookup AS n ON c._id=n.raw_contact_id ORDER BY c.display_name;
This yielded a list of values similar to this:
Ola Nordmann|+4798765432 John Doe|+11800000000 Ola Nordmann|+4784422107
Some contacts are returned with multiple numbers, so I want to group them up and create vCard records for each of my contacts.
I wrote a script in Python to help me with this:
""" Prints a vCard collection from a file with list of names and numbers. Expects a CSV (or pipe-separated) file containing a name and a number for each record. Author: Stig Kolstad (firstname.lastname@example.org), Aug 2019 License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ ## Example input file contents: Ola Nordmann|+4798765432 John Doe|+11800000000 Ola Nordmann|+4784422107 ## Resulting output string: BEGIN:VCARD VERSION:2.1 N:;Ola Nordmann;;; TEL;CELL:+4798765432 TEL;CELL:+4784422107 END:VCARD BEGIN:VCARD VERSION:2.1 N:;John Doe;;; TEL;CELL:+11800000000 END:VCARD """ import argparse import os from collections import defaultdict def main(): parser = argparse.ArgumentParser() parser.add_argument('filename', help="Separated values file") parser.add_argument('-s', '--separator', help="Value separator (default |)", default='|') args = parser.parse_args() FILE = args.filename SEP = args.separator contacts = defaultdict(list) # Collect all numbers for each distinct name into lists with open(FILE, mode='r') as f: for line in f: name, number = line.strip().split(SEP) contacts[name].append(number) # Output VCF formatted records for each contact for name, numbers in contacts.items(): print(vcfstr(name, numbers)) def vcfstr(name=None, numbers=None): """Returns a VCF vCard 2.1 formatted string""" f = [ "BEGIN:VCARD", "VERSION:2.1", "N:;%s;;;" % name ] for n in numbers: f.append("TEL;CELL:%s" % n) f.append("END:VCARD") return os.linesep.join(f) if __name__ == "__main__": main()
Then I ran this script with the results returned from the sqlite query and saved it to a vcf file.
$ python vcf.py contacts.txt > old-contacts.vcf $ adb push old-contacts.vcf /data/Download/
Then imported it on my phone again, through the settings menu in the Contacts app
After a little second, the contacts were successfully imported!