When you own an iPhone, one of the most important things you will have to do is to back up your contacts. This is necessary so that you don’t lose any of your information on individuals you consider friends, family and acquaintances. Performing this task will ensure that you will always have your contacts on hand, even if you lose your iPhone or have no choice but to perform a hard reset, which in essence wipes out all of your data. Here’s how to backup iPhone contacts using iTunes, iCloud and iOS.

Updated: March 2nd, 2015

Backup contacts iPhone

How to create a local backup of your contacts to Mac or PC

One of the easiest ways to back up your iPhone contacts involves iTunes. One clear advantage here is that your data is on your home computer. If you have privacy concerns related to your information being on the “cloud”, this is the option for you.

Open iTunes on your computer. It works with both the PC and Mac. Connect your iPhone to the program on your computer via the USB connector that came with you phone. iTunes will typically recognize it when you connect it. In the latest version of iTunes (version 12.1), you can select your iPhone from the row of icons which appear just below the playback controls (as shown below).

Show iPhone in iTunes

With the Summary tab selected, you have a variety of information showing about your iPhone. We’re concerned with the second section, which is Backups. In this section, it will display how your iPhone is currently being backed up. It’s important to note that you can backup to both iCloud and create a local backup to your home computer. In the screen shot below, you’ll see that the iPhone is being automatically backed up to iCloud. Even so, I prefer to have a local back-up. To back-up your iPhone contacts, select ‘Back Up Now‘. You can also select File > Devices > Back Up Now from the menu. Either way, your contacts will be backed up to your Mac or PC.

Backup contacts to Mac or PC

If you look at the above screenshot, you’ll see the Latest Backups. This will provide a timestamp for the last time you’ve backed up to iCloud and/or iTunes.

How to backup contacts using iCloud

Another option for backing up your iPhone’s contacts can take place through iCloud, Apple’s cloud computing technology service that was introduced in the fall of 2011. Open Settings and tap on iCloud > Backup. You must enable the backup option in order for this to take effect. Toggle to on to enable. When your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi, it will periodically backup through iCloud, or you can do so by connecting your iPhone to a power source. There is also a manual option, where you can initialize an immediate backup. This is useful if you plan on replacing your iPhone with a new phone. Even if you rely on the iCloud method to back up your contacts, you will still benefit from occasionally plugging in your iPhone to iTunes via your computer in order to ensure it is effective. It is essentially a double check that will make an additional backup of your contacts. Having a local backup, in addition to your iCloud backup, will ensure your data is safe.

Backup now to iCloud

If you are in the market for a new iPhone, it is absolutely essential to back up your contacts from your old device on iTunes prior to switching over to the new phone. You will be thankful for the process because it will make getting your contacts on the new iPhone that much quicker and efficient. For more on that topic, please refer to this guide on how to restore a backup from iCloud.