The number of contacts stored on your iPhone is easy to reach hundreds or even thousands, so it’s worth spending some time to back up in several places. Let's look at how to backup iPhone contacts using third-party options, as well as on iOS and macOS.
Trying to replace your contacts in case of data loss can be an overwhelming task. Fortunately, it’s quick and easy to create multiple backups of your contacts.
First, we'll look at how to save your contacts using iCloud and iTunes, and then we'll look at how to back up your contacts using macOS and some third-party apps.
How to backup iPhone contacts using iCloud
- Click on the Settings app
- Click your name at the top (if you don’t have iOS 10.3 or later installed, swipe down and click iCloud)
- Click iCloud
- Click on the switch next to the contacts, if it is not already green
How to backup iPhone contacts using iTunes
Backing up your iPhone to iTunes from your Mac or PC will save all your information, including contacts.
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC
- Launch iTunes if it does not open automatically
- Click the small iPhone icon in the upper left corner if the Device Summary is not displayed.
- Click Backup Now
Learn how to back up your iPhone and iPad with or without iCloud for more detailed images.
How to export your contacts to vCard file on macOS
Exporting contacts to a vCard file is a quick and easy way to create a backup that you can save to your Mac, PC, external hard drive, or flash drive.
- Open contacts on your Mac
- Select the contacts you want to export / save (use the keyboard shortcut Command-A to select all)
- Click File → Export → vCard Export.
- Name the file vCard and click "Save."
How to back up contacts using SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive
SanDisk’s IXpand Flash Drive is a very convenient external drive that can be connected directly to your iPhone or iPad, as well as to any computer. This option works through the SanDisk iXpand Drive application and can be configured to automatically back up your information when a drive is connected.
- In iXpand Drive, click BACK UP AND RESTORE
- Press BACKUP RESTORE CONTACTS / CALENDAR
- Click "Backup" or select "Automatically back up contacts."
- If you decide not to perform automatic backups, select the contacts you want to keep (or click "Select All" in the upper right corner)
- Click CONTACT ARCHIVE
How to backup your contacts with free third-party apps
There are many free apps (some with in-app purchases but usually not required) that help you back up your contacts. I tried several different ones, but I like the simplicity and ease that My Contacts Backup provides.
It is free and you do not need to create an account or log in with any service. There is advertising at the top of the application, but that doesn’t bother me at all, especially due to how little time I need to stay in the application.
The application creates a backup file of your contacts in vCard format and allows you to send it by email to yourself or anyone else.
Other ways to back up your information include apps like Verizon Cloud and Easy Backup. For more help, to get the most out of your Apple devices, check out our guide.
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Follow these steps to backup iPhone contacts with iTunes.
- Open iTunes and connect your iPhone to your computer.
- Your phone is automatically recognized by iTunes.
- Click on the “Device” tab.
- Find "Summary" and click on "Reserve Now."
- Then iTunes will back up all the data on the phone.
ITune iPhone Backup Interface
Please note that this method does not give you selective backups. It backs up the entire contents of the phone and not just your contact. If you want selective backup, as well as access to the contact in the correct dr.fone file format, obviously is the best option for you.
Method 2. Selectively backup iPhone Contacts to a computer or device without iTunes
Custom backup tool only the contacts you need, even if you have a contact list. This backup method is used in dr.fone - Backup and Restore (IOS), and if you were looking for the opportunity to drop some inappropriate contacts, here it is. Dr.fone's software saved a lot of people from losing their contacts when they encounter a problem, when their iPhones are formatted or when they lose their phone.
dr.fone - Backup and Restore (IOS)
Selective backup iPhone contacts in 3 minutes!
- One click to backup your entire iOS device to your computer.
- Allows you to view and selectively export contacts from iPhone to computer.
- No data loss on devices during recovery.
- Support iPhone X / iPhone 8/7 (Plus) / SE / 6s (Plus) / 6s / 5s / 5s / 5 that work on iOS 11/10/9/8
- Full compatibility with Windows 10 or Mac 10.13
For starters, what is iCloud backup? If you have iPhone / iPad backup enabled, then every time your the device is connected to power, to WiFi and locked, he begins to back up in iCloud. If at least one of the conditions is not met, then an automatic copy will not be created. But you can enter the phone on your own in Settings -> iCloud -> Backup and click on the Create backup button there. By the way, there you can see when the last copy was created. What is included in this copy, you can see in the article - Run out of space in iCloud? We are correcting!
How do iCloud backups work?
If I understand everything correctly, then if the copy was created at night, for example, at 1:00, and in the afternoon you decided to delete a couple of contacts, and then realized it, you can freely reset the settings and restore data from the last and only (.) copies. “Why the only one?” - you may ask, because copies can also be in iTunes. But now we are talking about one of the most common ways (which I myself use) - create copy only in iCloud.
The saddest thing in the situation described above is the following: what if you deleted the contacts in the morning at 8:00, and then came to work and reconnected the iPhone to the charger, the iPhone has already found and made friends with your working WiFi network and you left it in a couple hours, and only after dinner did you decide that remote contacts could still be useful to you? It makes no sense to restore from a copy, since the last and only (.) Copy you have dates is 8 + N hours (when you put the iPhone on charge at work) and no longer there remote contacts! As they say, popodos ... Moreover, what we described with contacts happens with calendars, notes, etc.
If there is data on the iPad?
Only 2 things can save you the father of Russian democracy - if, all of a sudden, somehow there was a copy of the necessary data on another device - a computer or iPad, or there was a local copy of the contacts on the computer. Again, if this data is on the iPad and it is connected to the Internet, then it has already disappeared there (via iCloud, synchronization occurs within a few seconds or minutes). Although, if the Internet suddenly disappeared at home, the iPad was discharged before the data was deleted or it was turned off altogether, it would not be difficult to pull out the data, the main thing to be careful is The device should not connect to the Internet! If you turn on the device, turn off the home WiFi router and remove the SIM card so that the device could not access the Internet and synchronize, thereby deleting the necessary data!
I’m still thinking - is it difficult to implement the Time Machine analog for iCloud? (Hurray, it turned out that there is such a function, and you can see how it works. True, there is not everything that I dream about is implemented there, but about this a little further ...) Do not create copies of everything in a row, but only that is the most important - contacts, notes, Safari bookmarks, keychain, etc.
What I mean? Time Machine has the latest copy, as well as a weekly copy, a monthly copy, etc. What prevents iCloud from making several copies of low-weight data, such as contacts / notes, as well as allowing you to manually select the data you need? The most interesting thing is that it would take up very little space - a copy of Safari's contacts, notes, pages takes up a maximum of 100 MB. Yes, mail may take up a little more space, but there is a separate basket there, in case of an error 🙂
Save contacts on Mac
I'll start with the Mac 🙂 First, you need to make sure that the iCloud service is connected on the Mac and contacts synchronization is turned on there. If not, go to System Preferences -> iCloud and enter your Apple ID and password for iCloud there, or go to the next item (in case the Mac is not yours or you just don’t want to create an account on it). If you have signed up for iCloud on your Mac, then go to the Address Book program (Mac OS 10.7, 10.8) or Contacts (Mac OS 10.9, 10.10, 10.11). If you see all your contacts in the program, then everything is going as it should, otherwise, go to iCloud settings on Mac and check that your contacts are included in synchronization.
So, the Contacts program is open (I am showing OS X 10.10 as an example), and to save you need to select all the contacts, and you can do this by holding the keyboard shortcut CMD + A. Or you can select one or several contacts by clicking on them, holding down the CMD key. After selecting contacts, go to the File - Export menu and select "Export vCard ..." or "Contacts Archive ..." in the new window, select a location to save and click Save. Everything, the contacts are stored on your computer in a separate file, and no matter what you can always restore your address book. Personally, at the time of saving, I turn on the paranoid mode and make a copy both in vCard and in the Address Book Archive - believe me, it's better to play it safe! 🙂 By the way, the paranoid mode is not unreasonable - if you suddenly need to transfer contacts to Gmail or iCloud, then you can download the vCard file through the sites, not the Address Book Archive.
Save the generated files in the mail, the cloud and much more, so that if necessary, they were always at hand!
Save contacts via iCloud
If you have a Mac or a computer with Windows or Linux at hand, you can simply go to icloud.com via a browser and from there already save all your contacts. First you need to go to the same iCloud site, enter your Apple ID and password for iCloud. After the username and password have been entered, a window with a set of services will appear - mail, contacts, calendars and more. We need contacts:
After entering the contacts, you can also select one, several or all contacts, as in the previous paragraph. You can select all the contacts with CMD + A or click on the gear in the lower left corner and select the Select all option. After the necessary contacts are highlighted, you can start saving them to your computer. To do this, click on the gear icon and select Export vCard:
If for some reason the download did not start, try a different browser (it’s not the first time I save contacts from iCloud in Google Chrome) ... Through Safari, contacts are saved almost instantly. Maybe this is a problem in my Mac, I don’t know, the main thing is to know the fallback 🙂
Save contacts in Windows
Everything is very simple here - either you need to install iCloud for Windows and pick something there (you’re sorry my friends, but I don’t know what is there and how to do it - I don’t like Windows), or just go to the icloud.com website through a browser and there already do, as in the previous paragraph! I hope that you will forgive me this arbitrariness and be able to save contacts through the browser 🙂 The problem with Windows is that in different versions of Outlook, Contacts (Windows) everything is done differently, and I have no desire to disassemble the +100500 options. In addition, most of my readers work with OS X and iOS 🙂
If you have a backup copy of your contacts, you can restore them from the archive at any time by opening them on your device or uploading them to Google or iCloud services ... For example, an address book in vCard format can be uploaded to Google Contacts, after which they will appear on all attached devices. You can also download the same vCard file in iCloud or synchronize with Nokia, for example ...
And a little advice from my personal experience - back up your contacts to your computer whenever you want to make changes to your address book. I happen to revise my address book for the relevance of the data, sort the contacts into groups, and each time before starting the process, I create a copy on my computer, as well as a copy after all the changes! It’s like in an old joke - it’s better to shoot reload and shoot again than to shine a flashlight and ask “who is it?” 🙂
IPhone Contacts Backup
A backup of iPhone contacts is part of the backup of the phone itself. It can be done in two ways: through iCloud or iTunes.
To backup your iPhone, go to Settings —iCloud. Next, select the Backup item, enable it and confirm the backup.
In iTunes, you need to select a device. On the device tab, backup can be done in the Browse menu item. The backup is at the very top.
If you need to backup only your contacts and arrange the vCard format, you can do it in iCloud. As already described more than once in the Contacts web application, in the settings you need to select Export vCard.
You can use third-party applications, which are many in the AppStore. We took advantage of MyContactsBackup. When launched, the application reads the contacts, makes their backup in vCard format and sends the file to the user's mail. Other applications work similarly.
True, for simplification, the creation of vCard has to be paid with advertising, which in such applications can be very intrusive. Or pay for apps to get rid of ads.
Contacts Kit exports contacts to an Excel file. Also, the application allows you to import contacts, delete replays.
Easy Backup backs up contacts to its cloud. You can also send a copy by mail, upload to Dropbox or Google Drive, upload in Excel format.
How to delete all contacts from iPhone
Removing contacts from the iPhone is not as easy as it sounds. You can delete them one at a time. To do this, go to Contact, in the upper right corner select Change. Inside the contact, the Delete link is at the very bottom.
However, removing contacts one at a time will be long and inconvenient. You can delete contacts by disabling synchronization. You need to go to Settings - Mail, addresses, calendars. Here, select an account, for example, iCloud. Deactivate Contacts switch. iPhone will suggest deleting contacts from the phone. Select delete. It’s important to remember that only iCloud contacts will be deleted. If the phone has contacts from other accounts, you need to do the procedure for each of them.
Contacts can be deleted in iCloud. In the iCloud Contacts web application, you need to select all contacts using the Ctrl-A hotkey combination for Windows or similar for Mac, then click on the settings icon and select Delete. Further, when synchronizing the iPhone with iCloud, the phone will not have a single contact.
Similarly, you can delete contacts using Outlook or another service / program with which iPhone contacts are synchronized.
Contacts on the iPhone are organized quite conveniently. Although there are disadvantages. It’s not very convenient that most of the actions with contacts on their import / export have to be done through synchronization with iCloud or special applications that can bother ads. It is also difficult to delete all contacts at once. However, these are actions that the user performs quite rarely.