How To

How to transfer contacts from iPhone to Android

how to transfer contacts from iPhone to Android

For some iPhone users, there may come a time when they either want or need to use an Android device. Whether it is for work, pleasure or simply testing the waters, switching from iPhone to Android is made easier when you can bring all of your data with you. The most important for most folks are contacts. Thankfully, the process is relatively painless and your iPhone will retain all of its contacts, which is handy if you are carrying both devices or end up switching back. Here’s how to transfer contacts from iPhone to Android and begin syncing your contacts with Google.

how to transfer contacts from iPhone to Android

Disclaimer: Sometimes things go wrong, with any process. To be on the safe side, you should backup your contacts. Within Contacts, select All on My Mac. Now select File > Export > Contacts Archive. Save it on your Mac where it’s safe and secure. Hopefully, we won’t need it, but you’ve been warned. Backup, backup, backup.

This process won’t delete contacts on your iPhone, so the word transfer might not be entirely correct. Think of this process as duplicating your iPhone contacts on Android. You will need a Gmail account to sync your contacts. Whereas Apple requires an Apple ID to manage your data, purchases and iCloud accounts, Google does something similar, but with a Gmail account. You can sign up for a free Gmail account.With your Gmail account setup, the first thing you’ll want to do is turn off iCloud syncing of your contacts and here’s how that’s done.

  1. Navigate to Settings > iCloud
  2. Toggle the Contacts switch to ‘Off’
  3. You’ll see a message regarding the handling of your existing contacts. If you want to keep previously synced iCloud contacts on your iPhone, tap on the gray button ‘Keep on My iPhone’.
  4. You should see an overlay message ‘Turning Off Contacts‘.

Turn off iCloud

Next you’ll need to connect your iPhone to your computer via USB.

  1. From the menus, select View > Show Sidebar
  2. Click on your iPhone
  3. Just below the playback window is a row of tabs. Select ‘Info’.
  4. Make sure there is a a check box next to Sync Contacts
  5. At the bottom right, press the Sync button to sync contacts with your computer.

From here, iTunes will sync your contacts back to the associated contacts app on either your Mac or PC.

Mac users: Contacts Sync With Google

Open up the Contacts application on your Mac (Applications > Contacts). Browse your contacts to be sure that the sync process correctly moved all of your contacts from your iPhone to your Mac.

Setup CardDav account
On your Mac, do the following:

  1. Navigate to System Preferences > Mail, Contacts and Calendars
  2. Select Add Other Account
  3. Select Add a CardDAV account
  4. Enter your Google account name, username@gmail.com
  5. Enter your Google password
  6. Enter google.com as the server.

CardDAV account mac

Tip: If you are using Google’s 2-step verification, your existing password will not work. Normally, you would need to create an application specific password. It’s unclear if it’s a Google or Apple issue, but two-step verification does not currently work. You need to disable 2-step verification for this to sync properly. We anticipate this will be corrected in the future, so will leave directions for how to create an application specific password. For now, you can safely ignore these instructions.

  1. Navigate to your Google Account.
  2. Select ‘Security’ from the left hand column
  3. At the bottom, you’ll see Connected applications and sites. Select ‘Manage Access’.
  4. Enter your password.
  5. Scroll to the bottom where you’ll see Application-specific passwords.
  6. Enter a unique name, such as Contacts Mac Sync.
  7. Click on Generate Password.

Setting Up Google As Default

This is a one time password that can now be used in place of your regular Google Account password in the Contacts app on your Mac.

  1. If you navigate to Contacts > Preferences, you’ll see our newly created CardDAV account for Google. You are almost finished.
  2. Select Account
  3. Under Default Account, change the drop-down menu to Google.

Google sync contacts mac

Your Mac will now sync contacts to your Gmail account, with the new Google account. That account has no contacts, but that’s an easy fix.

  1. Select All on My Mac
  2. Choose Contacts > Export > Contacts vCard
  3. Select All Google
  4. Choose Contacts > Import
  5. Show it the exported vCards you just created

Navigate to Google.com/contacts. You should see the same contacts here that are on your iPhone. When you sign into your Android phone, be it a Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One or Nexus, your contacts will sync with your Gmail account.

Tip: I had different contacts at Google than I had on my iPhone. My iPhone is the trusted set of contacts, so I deleted all of my Google Contacts before beginning this process. 

PC: Contacts Sync With Google
For PC users, a method you can use is to export a CSV file using your preferred email client (Outlook). Given the variety of email clients, our direction here is to look for an export feature with an option to save as CSV (comma delimited). This is essentially a comma separated text file of your contacts, which you can open in Excel or any spreadsheet program. Your headers should be consistent with the following:
First Name, Last Name, E-Mail Address, Home Address, Mobile Phone, Home Phone.

  1. Save the file and open Gmail in your browser and navigate to Google.com/contacts.
  2. Select the ‘More’ drop-down menu and click on ‘Import’. Select the .csv file you just created. That’s it, your contacts are now within Gmail and ready to sync to your Android device.

Import contacts

It would disingenuous to suggest that there aren’t some compelling smartphones not designed in Cupertino. We regularly see folks in our forums giving devices a try, many of whom come back. If for nothing else, it provides some perspective on what’s great about iOS and what can be improved. Hopefully, this tutorial on how to transfer your contacts from iPhone to Android will make for an easier transition. With your contacts remaining on your iPhone, the transition back is made that much easier. If you need help with your Android phone, please consider joining the Android forums at everythingandroid.org. At our sibling site, you’ll find a small, friendly and knowledgable group of folks who are willing to help, many of whom are still contributing members here at everythingiCafe. Our free Android forums app is available in the Google Play Store.

ya'll come back now

Ya’ll come back now, ya hear.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. KristaS

    April 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    There is also an android app called smooth synch for iCloud that will synch your iCloud contacts. There is also one for iCloud calendar. Super easy!

  2. rafagon726Rafael David González

    April 29, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Let’s not give people any ideas, Mr. Meinck!

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