Making the Switch: Two Ways to Transfer Contacts and Calendars from BlackBerry to iPhone

Not excited about BlackBerry 10 and finally decided to make the switch from BlackBerry to iPhone. The biggest part of the transition is likely going from a physical keyboard to the on-screen touch keyboard, but we promise you’ll be banging out emails and texts in no time. To help get you moved, here’s how to transfer your contacts from BlackBerry to iPhone. Stay tuned for other switch guides as part of our continuing efforts to help users make the switch to iPhone and iOS.

Transfer contacts BlackBerry iPhone

The first thing you will need is to install BlackBerry Desktop, which is available as a free download for both PC and Mac. Connect your BlackBerry device to your computer using the provided USB cable and launch the newly installed BlackBerry Desktop software.

Blackberry Desktop mac

You should see your device listed and there is a column of information on the side left which you can set up for syncing. These include:

  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Notes
  • Tasks
  • Music

Syncing between BlackBerry and a Mac
By default, the software will sync your contacts to Address Book and your calendars and tasks to iCal. If you are syncing notes, they will sync to Apple’s default Mail app. IMPORTANT: Before you start the sync process, I highly recommend that you use the Back Up feature. If you should have any issues during the sync, you’ll be able to restore from your backup. Also, makes sure that the default configuration is not set to replace information on your BlackBerry with your Mac contacts. This could result in losing your contacts.You want a bi-directional sync between your BlackBerry and the Contacts app. 

Tip: If you use Microsoft Entourage, then you should set the Sync Services in preferences within Entourage.

So far, so good and relatively painless.

Switching from BlackBerry to iPhone
If all goes well, all of the data from your BlackBerry should sync to your Mac or PC.

Tip: If you are either selling or donating your old BlackBerry, you’ll want to do a factory reset to remove all of your personal data (It’s recommended that you review apps on your computer to be sure all of your data safely transferred).

From the home screen, select Options > Security > Security Wipe. You’ll be prompted to check the boxes to remove all of your data. Type ‘blackberry’ and select ‘Wipe Data’.

Now it’s time to sync your contacts from your BlackBerry to your new iPhone. You’ll want to be sure you have the latest version of iTunes.

Connect your iPhone and iTunes will launch. A small row of tabs will appear just below the main playback information window. Select ‘Info’. From here, you’ll make sure the boxes are checked next to ‘Sync Contacts’ and ‘Sync Calendars’.

Sync contacts

Tip: Once you’ve successfully moved your PIM data to your iPhone, you might want to consider setting up iCloud. If you switch to iCloud syncing, then you’ll want to uncheck these boxes as they could create duplicates.

The Computer-Free Method to Transferring Your BlackBerry Contacts to iPhone

In this method, we’ll use a mix of BlackBerry, Google and a dash of Microsoft to get the job accomplished.

You’ll need a Gmail account. If you don’t currently have one, you can sign up for free. Don’t worry about the mail portion, as we’re only using this account as a conduit to transfer your data. On your BlackBerry device, visit m.google.com/sync. You’ll be prompted to download the Google Sync app, which will appear on your desktop.

Google Sync BlackBerry

Launch the app and enter your username and password. Calendars and contacts should now be set up to sync. At the bottom of the welcome screen, select ‘Sync Now’. Depending upon the number of contacts, it’ll take some time for these to copy over to your Gmail account. Check periodically and confirm that your contacts, calendars have successfully transferred.

Using the same method used to transfer contacts from Android to iPhone, we’re going to utilize a Microsoft Exchange account within Gmail. Again, no need to get hung up this being an email account, since we’ve created it solely for the process of getting contacts moved over to your new iPhone.

Exchange gmail setup iPhone

  • On your iPhone, select Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  • Select Add Account
  • Select Microsoft Exchange
  • Enter your full Gmail address where it asks for email and again where it asks for username. Leave the domain field blank. Enter your password and select ‘Next’.
  • In the ‘Server’ field, type m.google.com.
  • Set ‘Sync’ to Yes under ‘Contacts’ and ‘Calendars’.

Your personal data will now transfer to your new iPhone. Sync this with your Mac or PC and then you can safely remove this Exchange account.

Having all your information is the first step towards a great experience away from the BlackBerry. Have questions about your move to iOS from Blackberry? Join the world’s first and best iPhone forums and talk iPhone. Not only are they completely ad-free for members, but you can also enter contests and take advantage of the free everythingiCafe app, available in the App Store.

Written By

Christopher Meinck is the Founder and Editorial Director at everythingiCafe. You can also find him co-hosting on everythingiCafe :the show. His smartphone obsession started with the Handspring Treo 180. While the phones have changed, the obsession continues. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Christopher – My company has also been working on an app called Migration+ that does data migrations from all the popular smart phone OSes (BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, Windows Phone). We recently launched on Blackberry. We’re already on Android and iPhone. Right now we are just doing contact migrations but will be adding in more data types in the near future. Our goal is to make this process you describe even simpler, easier, and more robust than the options that exist today.

  2. mark harrison says

    thanks so much – this advice was the only one that worked for me – easy peasy, thanks christopher.

  3. Kris says

    Hi! Thanks for the info! The first way worked. Would’ve preferred the second way, but the Blackberry sync app for Google is no longer available for download and according to the mobile Google site, syncing for BBs will not work at all after Sep 1, 2012.

      • KKoga says

        Agree with you, Kevin. The 2nd option worked nicely for me and it didn’t say anywhere they were shutting it down. Thanks Christopher for helping to make my transition smooth and hitch-free!

    • Jerome says

      Google Sync worked flawlessly on my BB Curve 3G as well. It is definitely still available for download.

  4. Andres Lairet says

    La respuesta ha sido excelente,debo solo tener el tiempo para realizar mi cambio de BB a Iphone

  5. RB says

    I did this using the second method and it worked great. But then I removed the exchange email account and all my synced contacts disappeared! I guess this makes sense, but is there any way to make them “stick”?

    • says

      Great to hear it worked well for you. Once you set up the Exchange account, sync the contacts with your Mac or PC. Then proceed with removing the Exchange account and sync the contacts back from your computer to your iPhone using iTunes.

      • oriki says

        I tried this, and after i synced i deleted teh exchange account. all my contacts were deleted again. when i went to resyncback from itunes it didnt add them back. the question is what do i sync itunes with? it requests to choose one of the following: outlook,google, yahoo, or windows. thx

  6. Jules says

    Hey Christopher, i need to explain this to a friend who’s far away from me. I just wanted to know if it’s the same to configure the gmail account not as Exchange but as Gmail account.

    Thanks a lot, nice solution.

  7. mudassir says

    What is the exchange password in sync contacts from my blacberry to iphone is it the gmail password I am confused

  8. AdamJ says

    Hey People,
    Just to give you some brains if u r not excited about BB 10 then wait for BB 11. it maybe in a while but it is better than switching to some shitty ios crap by apple shit.
    Hey Christopher…. Whats wrong with u mate? switching to iphone? how dumb can u be. If u are stupid enough to switch thats ur problem. Dont need to share it with everyone! also why not make another article about switching from iphone to blackberry then huh>? time to get some brains ayy!

    • Joe says

      I think you need to understand that Chris is not making people change over to IPHONE. Blackberry is!!
      Wake up and smell the declining BB Stocks Adam, I know for a fact you’ll convert to APPLE sooner or later.
      Chris: Great job explaining the process.
      Good day.

  9. Brenda says

    Wow. Awesome – clear explanation. I used the 2nd method using Exchange and it worked like a charm. Thx a lot – this was an incredible time and sanity saver!! BH

  10. Shankar says

    Hi All:

    Tried using the Google Sync app and it worked perfectly. Easy peasy lemon squuezy as my daughter. Thanks for the instructions Christopher.

  11. says

    Yayyyyy! It worked! Thanks Chris! You just save me a lot of time!

    I have one question for you…why do we need to remove Microsoft Exchange once we have done the sync with our Mac/PC? What happens if we don’t remove it?

    Thanks,

  12. Jackie says

    I was wondering if there is a way to import contacts to an iPhone from the BB desktop manager because the BB is already gone

  13. Mark_Carroll says

    Even though I am not a fan of Radio Shack, they do have a machine that they can use to connect your two phones to each other and transfer your contacts, etc. They will usually do it for free if you ask them (the machines cost about $400, and they bought one for every store and they have to justify their existence – they want to see the usage of the machine even if you didn’t buy your phone there.) I did it when I bought my iPhone, and it worked great.

  14. says

    I want to transfer contact from my iphone4 to BB 9900.
    I doesnt work with me, i already did all steps you mention. Apparently my iphone doesn’t want to sync with google, since i check in my google account through web browser i dont have any contact. Pls help

  15. max donaldson says

    Thanks! Sorry to finally part with BB after so many years, but have to admit the change is a massive step forward. The export has been straightforward although not all of the contact info has pulled through…strange.

    • KotekM says

      No. Apple has made bluetooth on their devices only for connecting accessories and enhancements like earphones, etc. and not for transferring personal data. The only exception is if you transfer contacts between your iPhone and your Bluetooth-enabled car.

  16. Lr says

    Goggle sync is no longer supported since sept 1. I have contacts in my gmail account but when i sync it to my iphone, it only takes 50+

  17. Hasri says

    I tried the first method, but can retrieve he contacts neither bb nor iphone. Pls help. More than 200 important contact no that i need to retrieve.

  18. says

    Hello Chris. I have been syncing my contacts from BB to IP4s for the last 8 months because I am using both. So every time I add new contact in my BB, I just click sync now, my ip4s will instantly got the update (this is exactly as your method#2). But since last week, google sync stop working and I don’t know why. I have tried to log out and in for so many times from google sync but it still won’t sync. It simply says “sync failed. please try again later”

    Do you have any idea how to solve my problem? have google sync stop it service on BB?

  19. Hanaa says

    I cannot get my balckberry 9900 to sync with my mac, and it seems google sync is not available to download anymore.

  20. Robert says

    Can I use this methodology to also transfer tasks, texts, notes and photos from the blackberry and not just contacts. Does anyone have any good experience of the app called BerryMover?
    Thanks
    Robert

  21. matt says

    hi. i really got excited about the second option (using sync) – but ive noticed that sync is no longer supported. any way around this? any thoughts? i need to transfer from bb to iphone and currently have all contacts on bb. thank you hugely for your help please

  22. steve says

    thank you so muchh chris !!! thats all i needed right now to loose all my contacts .. you really destroy my day , thank you again…

    • says

      You must have set the default sync to overwrite your BlackBerry with contacts on your Mac. This needs to be set prior to syncing. I’ve also updated the article, suggesting folks do a full backup. This way, in a worse case scenario, you can restore from backup.

  23. bukhari says

    christopher,this method dont work at my bold 5..other method?
    i need to transfer the contacts from bb bold 4 to my iphone 5..URGEENNTT!!!

  24. joanne says

    this information did nothing for me accept take up a whole lot of time and leave me an i-phone with no contacts at all. wtf

  25. Chin says

    The computer free method does not work anymore. Google has disabled their Sync feature. Spent very long hours to figure this out but finally used Google’s CardDAV to transfer Contacts and CalDAV to transfer Calendar info.

    Found this link that explains how it is done..

    http://support.google.com/mail/answer/2753077?hl=en

    Hope this will help others to not waste too much time as I did.

  26. Julian says

    Hi Christopher I worked with Method #1 and am almost there! When I transfered the BB contacts to my computer it stored in a BBB file. I cannot import that file into outlook to sync my contacts using itunes. Should I convert that file into one I can import to outlook??

    Itunes gives me 3 options sync using outlook google or windows.

    please please help!!
    thanks!

    • Adeel says

      Did the iTunes not ask you to choose between outlook, google or windows ? how did you tell itunes to pick up the BB backup file ?

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