Upgrading to a new iPhone or switching to a different device such as an Android phone and want to transfer your contacts? There are a few different ways to move your contacts over. In this article I’ll show you how to copy and transfer the contacts from an iPad, iPhone and an iPod to… well almost anything that can import contacts.


Using iCloud to Export and Transfer Contacts

export contacts icloud transfer vcard

Export vCard

If you’re simply upgrading to a new iPhone and already use an iCloud email account (email@mac.com, email@me.com, email@icloud.com) then you’re already setup to transfer or export your contacts.

iCloud is in my opinion, the easiest way to backup, sync and transfer contacts. If you’ve gotten a new iOS device, all that is required to move your contacts, is to log into your iCloud email account. Once you do that all your contacts will stream into your new device. Of course this is not limited to iCloud. For instance, if you use Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail then your contacts should also stream / transfer into your new device once your email account is added in Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

The http://www.icloud.com website allows you to export your contacts into a vCard. This allows you to import your contacts to other devices and services. For example, if you’re moving to Android and plan to use a Google account to store your contacts, simply export your contacts from iCloud and then import it to Google.


Use the Free App – My Contacts Backup

transfer copy backup app my contacts

My Contacts Backup

If you’d prefer to export your contacts via a free app from the App Store, then I’d recommend My Contacts Backup. It exports all the same content as the above mentioned methods, however it does simplify the transfer and it has a few more options and features that make it shine.

It allows you to export a CVS (Excel) file as well as a vCard. Also it acts as its own backup solution as it stores your contact backups in the app, where of course it can be restored from at any time. It exports the phone numbers, emails, urls, addresses, birthday, photos and notes, however you can choose what you’d like to backup and what you’d like to leave out of the backup.

If you have a lot of contacts, each with a large contact image then your exported file could be rather large. My Contacts Backup allows you to automatically shrink the images if you so choose, resulting a much smaller export/backup file.

Certain email services don’t allow sending large attachments, so you may not always be able to email the exported file. If you need to transfer your contacts to your computer, the app can give you a URL to enter into your browser on your computer where you can download the exported file from. In the settings, turn on Wi-FI and a message will popup telling you the URL to enter into your computers browser. This requires the computer and device to both be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The URL will looks something like this, Type it into your computer and it will connect to the app over Wi-Fi where you can download the contact information to your Mac or PC.

And finally, if you are selling or giving away the device it has a feature that allows you to remove all contacts with the click of one big red button located at the bottom of the options page.


Copy Contacts directly from the SIM Card

copy transfer contacts from simcard sim card to iPhone computer


This does not work on any device that has the A5 and A6 chip. This is because Apple has denied access to the baseband. Although the developers may be trying to figure out how to access the baseband it currently does not work on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

In order to copy and transfer your contacts from your SIM card your device has to be jailbroken. When the device is jailbroken an app called SIManager needs to be installed from Cydia. SIManager is able to completely empty the SIM, transfer from the SIM to iPhone, transfer from the iPhone to SIM, backup, restore and keep a log of the activity.

It’s much simpler to just use iCloud or iTunes to sync your contacts. Contacts can be synced is many other ways as well. Even if you swap your SIM card out with different devices, those device can be setup to sync your contacts without having to go through the SIM card.


How to Import the Contacts

Macs and iOS devices make it incredibly easy to import contacts. On a Mac simply open the vCard and the Contacts app will open and import the contacts. The same goes for an iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad; just open the contacts file and all your contacts info will transfer into your iOS devices Contacts app.

If there are any duplicates, you’ll be asked if you want to overwrite, keep both or keep the old contact information.