Syncing contacts from your iPhone

One of the most important sets of information on your iPhone is your contacts. Many users have been faced with an issue when trying to sync their iPhone contacts with their computers. If you have entered your contact information on your iPhone first (not

One of the most important sets of information on your iPhone is your contacts. Many users have been faced with an issue when trying to sync their iPhone contacts with their computers. If you have entered your contact information on your iPhone first (not on your computer) and would now like to retrieve those contacts for your computer, this post is for you. Please read the entire post before attempting:

To Sync your iPhone contacts from your iPhone to your computer:

1. Be sure to have a backup of any contacts (export a vCard or .csv file from your contact management program) you may have on your computer that you want to keep.
2. Plug your iPhone into your computer and launch iTunes. iTunes automatically creates a backup of your iPhone (including contacts).
3. Once your iPhone is backed up, uncheck the "Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected" box.
4. Under the "Info" tab, check which contacts you would like to sync.
5. Click the "Sync" button in the bottom right corner of the iTunes window.
6. iTunes will see that you are changing the contacts information for more than 5 percent of your data and ask if you would like to replace the data on the phone, replace the data on the computer, or merge all data.

Replacing the data on the iPhone will erase everything you have entered on your phone and only show you what you had on your computer.

Replacing the data on the computer will erase everything you have entered on your computer and only show you what you had on your iPhone.

Merging the data will combine the data from each--a process that can create duplicate contacts.

7. Choose the appropriate action for your situation:

Tip: If you have never created a contact on your computer, choose to replace data on computer.
Tip: If you have some contacts on your computer and some on your iPhone, choose Merge all data. When merging data you may find that duplicate contacts are created. To resolve duplicates (especially if you have a large amount of contacts), after creating a backup of your computer contacts (see step 1 above), delete all the contacts from your computer before syncing your iPhone. Add one contact to your computer's contact manager. Follow the steps above and choose the Merge all data option. This will pull all the contacts from your iPhone into your contact manager. Now you can reimport your backed up contacts manually on your computer. Simply sync your iPhone again (if you change more than 5 percent of your contacts on your computer, iTunes will ask you if you would like to replace or merge your data again). Choose Merge all data.

8. Once your contacts are synced to your iPhone, check the "Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected" box. This will enable your iPhone to stay synced with your computer (when you plug it in) whether you add contacts on your iPhone or your computer.

Tip: Apple provides a great syncing service (for Mac and PC) called MobileMe that allows automatic, over the air syncing for your contacts, calendars, e-mail accounts, and other iPhone data. For more on how MobileMe can help you stay synced check out: MobileMe from Apple

Note: This process is certainly not simple. If you do not feel comfortable performing this process on your own, make an appointment at the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store, or take your iPhone to an authorized AppleCare technician.

This KB article from Apple explains the differences in the types of information the iPhone tries to sync. Contacts, as well as calendars and bookmarks are bidirectionally synced to your iPhone.
Apple KB HT1296

This KB article from Apple explains how to set up syncing and provides other iPhone "Getting Started" resources.
Apple KB HT1386

Experiencing Problems? Have Feedback? Let us know!

Resources

  • MobileMe from Apple
  • Apple Store
  • Apple KB HT1296
  • Apple KB HT1386
  • Let us know!
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