How to: Transfer Contacts and SMS from your old phone to Nokia Lumia

Just upgraded to a brand new Nokia Lumia Windows Phone? The first thing you need to do is to successfully copy contacts and text messages from your old phone over to the Lumia. Contacts can be synced through various means such as Nokia Suite (if your phone is supported) or the Mail for Exchange app (if it comes with your phone) or an Outlook sync app, but none of these work for Text messages. Here’s how to transfer your text messages, contacts, pictures and music to a Nokia Lumia.

Transfer Contacts, SMS, Pictures and Music to Nokia Lumia

Nokia bundles a very nice app called ‘Transfer my Data’ which makes it super easy for you to transfer data from your old phone over to your Nokia Lumia. But text messages cannot be transferred from each and every phone. There is no list available, so you need to manually try and see if it works with your phone or not. Refer to the steps below to transfer your data.

  1. Swipe left from the start screen to open All Apps and scroll down to find ‘Transfer my Data’. Tap on it to open.
  2. Turn on the Bluetooth on your old phone and make sure it is visible. Then tap on continue on your Lumia.
    Transfer my Data Step 1
  3. On the Bluetooth screen, turn the status of Bluetooth to On and wait for your old phones Bluetooth to show up. Then tap on it to pair it with your Windows Phone.
  4. Once the paring is done, select your old phone in Transfer my Data. Be sure to accept all Bluetooth access alerts that your old phone shows up.
  5. After the Lumia finishes analyzing the available data on the target phone, it will present you with a screen to select what all to copy from it. Select the data that you want to and tap on start.

    Copy Selection transfer my data

    Select the data to copy

  6. Data transfer process will begin and the selected data will be copied from your old phone to the new one.

    Transfer my Data Copying Data

    Copying Text Messages

  7. Turn off the Bluetooth after the required data has finished copying.


  • Depending on your old phone, some of the items will be unavailable for copying if Transfer my Data couldn’t find a proper way to copy them.
  • It is recommend to start the process with one type of item at a time and not to select all at once.
  • Messages from your old phone won’t show the correct sent/received time. They’ll display the date on which they were copied.


29 Responses to How to: Transfer Contacts and SMS from your old phone to Nokia Lumia

  1. iji November 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    I’ve tried Transfer Data (contacts only) on Lumia 520 from a Samsung GT-S5230W and Lumia imports family name into first name field and imports the first name into family name field. It’s a mess. Any idea?

    • Narender Singh November 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

      Lumia will do that only as there is no way to define changes within the App.
      You may however try exporting contacts to your Microsoft account and if they reach there in the order that you want, they will be synced to Lumia in the same state.

    • Andrei Toma January 9, 2015 at 1:51 am #

      Try switching the format in the Windows phone: the options allow you to display either Firstname Lastname or Lastname Firstname.
      Probably the Android phone doesn’t read properly the field tags, and checks only the order.

    • ivanelm May 22, 2016 at 12:54 am #

      save all to sd card from old phone an insert in new one ,than start the Transfer my Data app and select instal from sd …

  2. Andrei Toma January 9, 2015 at 1:48 am #

    This app is almost useless. I tried to transfer my files between two phones, both on Windows 8.1 and the only thing it showed was the contacts, which are anyway synchronized via Windows Live mail. So good job for the developers of this app, great use of resources! NOT!!!!!!!!!!
    I will delete it from my phone and advise everybody not to use it.

    • Narender Singh January 9, 2015 at 11:07 am #

      Actually, the basic principle of it is to let you transfer data from other phones for users that are switching in to Windows Phone. Contacts and SMS are already connected to your Microsoft account and if you switch between Windows Phones, you’ll get they to the new phone easily. Rest is stored to the SD card (generally) and can be easily moved among different phones.
      Call the rest as Windows Phone’s limitation, not of the app. You can delete it if it doesn’t solve your purpose 🙂

  3. Garett February 12, 2015 at 5:31 am #

    Trying to stransfer the sms from my Lumia 52 to my Lumia 1020. On my 520 I was logged into a MS Account that I no longer have access to so I had to use a different one on my 1020 so I can no longer sync my sms to OneDrive and transfer them that way. So I tried this app and it will only sync contacts in between the two phones which sucks. Can’t seem to find any other way to do so. I have over 1000 of them that I need switched over, the rest I dont care about.

    • Narender Singh February 12, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

      Because the App was made to transfer data from other phones to Windows Phone and because 1020 does not support SD card, I think the most appropriate solution would be this:
      On the 520 (with an SD Memory Card card inserted), open Transfer my Data> Tap on the 3 dots at the bottom and tap on export to SD card. Then choose text messages and tap on start.
      Once they are copied, reset the phone and add the new Microsoft account to it (during first setup or you can do later, just as you like). Then import back your text messages from the SD (using Transfer my Data> Import from SD card) and then finally go to Messaging? Settings and turn Text Message backup to ON and then wait for a while for the texts to be backed up and they’ll hopefully be synced to the Lumia automatically. If not, you will be needed to reset it and then they should show up after setting the Microsoft account. [If on the 1020, you change the download messages from setting to “The last Month” and then (after the 520 has finished backing up texts in a couple of hours), change the setting to “Anytime”, I feel all texts will appear without the need to reset]

      I understand that this is a troublesome task, but that’s all you can do. I have a good feeling that this will work, but because I don’t have a non-SD card based Lumia, I cannot test it out manually. So, my sincere apologies if you fail after all this trouble.

  4. Peter Paul March 6, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    Contacts not appearing in Transfer my data

  5. Rahul April 24, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    hey hi,,
    i want to take contact frm lumia 520 to nokia x2…how can i do the transfer…
    i tried by .vcf format…bt x2 doesnt support..??

    plz help me..its very urgent..

  6. Adam April 25, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    Please help. I have just downloaded all my contacts via Bluetooth to my new Nokia Lumia. The contacts are showing however some aren’t avaiable when you try to send a text. You have to enter the number manually. Thanks

    • Narender Singh April 25, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

      Check if the numbers to those contacts are saved as Work instead of Mobile.

  7. Adam April 28, 2015 at 12:38 am #

    Hi, thanks for the response. They are saved to work. Do you know how to change or transfer to mobile please ? Thanks

  8. karthik April 29, 2015 at 1:33 am #

    My new phone is lumia 730. My old phone is samsung s duos. In samsung i have 7000 sms. In transfer my data only 2000 sms is appeared. How can i copy the remaing sms.

  9. Shaun Carpenter May 15, 2015 at 5:47 am #

    My old phone was damaged but memory card and sim ok ,how do i transfer to lumia 535 please

  10. Prashant June 24, 2015 at 10:39 am #

    THANKS ! It worked.

  11. Klaus Kopruch July 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    Works perfectly! Thanks very much!

  12. dean August 9, 2015 at 12:32 am #

    my touchscreen doesn’t work anymore and tried soft/hard reset LUMIA 530 am trying to get my contacts but more importantly my text messages off – is there anyway to do this using a pc and without being able to operate phone other than power it up and side buttons

    • Narender Singh August 9, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

      No. It won’t be possible that way. However, if you enabled Backup, the text messages will get restored to a new Lumia phone where you add the same Microsoft account.

  13. dean August 9, 2015 at 12:39 am #

    need tp retrieve info or fix pb

  14. Bless August 17, 2015 at 1:44 am #

    Hello. Thanks for helping out here. Still have some challenges transferring text messages from my Nokia X2 to my Lumia 530. I keep seeing ‘service not supported by other device’. Dunno if there still is another way.
    Thank you.

  15. Vijay October 19, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    try phoneswappr as it worked for me to transfer contacts from Lumia to micromax
    still struggling with messages though

  16. Reka January 13, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    Hello, please help. I used the Transfer Data app, found on my new phone: Microsoft Lumia 550, and I succeeded to transfer my contacts from my old phone ( Nokia 311), and it says that the transfer was completed, although I can’t find my contacts on my Microsoft. Where should I look?

    Thanks a lot!

  17. Sara March 30, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    I can’t access my screen on my old Nokia so therefore can’t see where to turn on Bluetooth – can you help please ?

  18. dazza May 16, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    Microsoft releases Contacts+Message backup app for Windows Phone

    Contacts+Message backup

    it works you backup your old phone to the sd card then restore onto your new windows phone

  19. Denis Widdop September 18, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    Hi, How can i transfer phone numbers and emails and photo’s from Nokia 301 to Lumia 650
    Lumia 650 does not support Transfer My Data app.

  20. Keira December 19, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    I’m trying to transfer SMS from Nokia 620 to Lumia 640. I was able to reassure names easily but the SMS do not show up on the Transfer my data screen. Is there a way around it?

    • Narender Singh December 19, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

      For Windows Phones, your text messages will be synced over automatically. Make sure that you enabled SMS backup in your Lumia 620. Then just setup the same Microsoft account on Lumia 640. They will be loaded from the cloud to the 640 🙂


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