How to backup iPhone contacts

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 5.1.

How to backup iPhone contacts
The quicker and easier way in which to back up your iPhone contacts involves iTunes. 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 it. Wait until iTunes recognizes your phone. This is distinguishable by the word “Devices” at the left with the name of your iPhone directly underneath. In most cases, your phone is named as being your iPhone, such as “Mary Smith’s iPhone.” Right-click on the name of your device and then select “Backup.”

How to backup contacts to iPhone

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. To perform this type of backup, you must have the iOS 5 operating system on your device, or a later version up to the most recent, iOS 5.1. You can access the iCloud service through the “Settings” menu on your phone under “Backup and Storage.” You must enable the backup option in order for this to take effect. 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. 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.

iCloud backup

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.

  • Joeymon

    Your contacts don’t sync to iTunes itself

    I tend to stray away from iTunes and iTunes sync per-se. iPhone contacts sync via iTunes is not an option for me. I use the iCloud instead; although, I’d prefer if there was a manual way of backing up iPhone contacts to the PC without the need for iTunes.

  • billnye97

    I have them set up in Gmail and then I can sync them through iTunes. It’s helpful if I ever decide to move to a different non iPhone in the future.

  • chris

    True. For those with Mac’s, iTunes is the conduit for syncing to Address Book.

  • Cleric

    There are a number of apps, a lot free

    Yep, I have set my eyes on a simple PC app like CopyTrans.

    I would like to see how it performs on the battlefield of iPhone contacts. ]:=D

    I’d prefer if there was a manual way of backing up iPhone contacts to the PC without the need for iTunes.

  • Mathew Connelly

    Yep, I have set my eyes on a simple PC app

    Looks like a simple way to back up iPhone contacts. Wasn’t aware something like this exists. Will give it a go.

  • solareweapon

    If you jailbreak your phone you can ssh the contacts from one phone to the other.

    • Vic Suryamurthy

      How is it possible?? Please give more info..

  • samyelias

    i am a little confused regarding the iCloud backup.
    since iCloud automatically pushes changes onto all my devices, what happens if my phone or computer are stolen and the contacts are deleted? do i lose my contacts from all devices?

  • Wayne

    I seem to have successfully backed up my iPhone and contacts through iTunes. However, I’d like to verify that I’m successfully backed up. I can’t find the backup files on my computer. Does anyone know where the iPhone contact back up files are stored on my computer?

    • Fiona

      The files can not be read in your computer. However, you can use Wondershare Dr.Fone to extract the file for storing in the computer, then you can open such file to read.

      • JC Brown

        It really works. Thanks for sharing.

  • Michelle

    My contact are all screwed up since I plugged into ITunes and chose ICloud option to back them up. Somehow now when I chose Contacts I get 1) “All Contacts” 2)”All from my PC” and #) “All ICloud”. I do not want this and I cannot find a way to get rid of these groups. Not only that, but the Contacts from over a year ago that I deleted have all come backmultiple times and most of my Contacts are duplicated three or four times each! It is a huge mess – can anybody help???

  • paul sutton

    It is clear that a lot has been written about what happens to contacts on an iphone and the issues with backing them up via itunes. What is not clear is how to simply save your contacts in a reasonable way. This is way too complicated and Apple has lost my business. I’m switching to google calendar and contacts.

  • Liz Kirkman

    I updated my iPhone4 to iOS6, and have never used iCloud before. I connected to it and it deleted all my contacts, not only that, but I’ve spent a week with a system that wouldn’t sync with the new software. My old Macbook iTunes telling me it was already up to date with 10.5.8. Finally I’ve manually downloaded 10.6.3 (that will be it for this computer) and can sync again, but I tried to ‘restore from backup’ but my contacts have still disappeared. The messages are there, but I’ve lost who they’re from and everyone else…Help, any way to get them back?

    • Page McMillan Taylor

      so glad for your post, because I was about to do the same thing with an iPhone4 to iOS6. hope you get them back

  • Michelle Martonick

    I am with Wayne, this article stops short of explaining WHERE those contacts now exist and how we can view them??

    • Shivani Veerendra Teki

      if you’re using a windows, then you can find your contacts here:


  • MacEverything

    On a Mac computer, Contacts live in the Applications folder called “Address Book”. I remember a couple years ago I had to delete old contacts from there so it wouldnt add to my iPhone when syncing. I have to do a computer backup and not iCloud now, because Wi-fi doesn’t work in my phone anymore since I dropped it (until I can get iPhone5). (good thing I have unlimited data!)