How to back up your iPhone contacts

Every once in a while, a friend will ask me what to do when some terrible thing has happened to their iPhone. Usually, it involves the device crashing or freezing. And usually, it involves someone who doesn’t back up their data.

Before I move on, let me just say this. If you don’t back up your data, don’t complain when all 975 images of the past year of your baby’s life have suddenly disappeared from your iPhone. Back that sh#@ up! Don’t be a fool.

If you chose not to use iCloud to back up your contacts, but want to secure the names, phone numbers, email addresses, and addresses of everybody in your address book, there is a way to do it and it is just about the easiest thing you could ever do.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to backup iPhone contacts so you can save them or transfer them to a new iPhone.

Backing up your iPhone or iPad contacts

Step 1: First, download the Export Contact app from the App Store. There are actually a few good apps that do exactly the same thing, but we will be using Export Contact for this tutorial.

Step 2: Launch the app, choose the vCard file format, and tap the Continue button and watch as the app quickly backs up all your contacts. Now, the great thing about this app is that you can save your contacts as vCards using the .vcf file format, which is the same format used by your iPhone or iPad (and many other devices).

Choose what format to back up your contacts

Step 3: Tap the Export button and send yourself this backup via email. Save the email in a folder, or maybe save a copy of the file on your computer.

Send your backup via email

How to restore backed up contacts

To restore these contacts, or maybe add them to a new device, all you have to do is tap on the .vcf file in your email (the one you sent yourself in Step 3 above), while using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. You will see all of your contacts listed exactly as they would be on your iOS device. If you have lost your contacts for some reason and need to add them to your device, just tap Add All Contacts.

You can also add one contact at a time by first selecting the one specific contact you want to add to your address book, then select Create New Contact.

Restore contacts from backup

If your iPhone ever takes a powder on you, you can be sure to have all of your contacts securely saved in an email file. I even added my iPhone’s contacts to my Gmail contacts so they would be the same.

If you don’t want to save your contacts as vCards, you can also send yourself a CSV or Excel file that can be opened in Excel as a list. Just change the file extension the Export Contact app to either CSV or Excel.

You can download Export Contact for $0.99 in the App Store. This app has no limit on how many contacts you can backup, no ads, and no upsell attempt.

Of course, you could just continue acting like there is no reason you need to back up your data and then freak out when you don’t know your own mother’s phone number to call her and tell her you’ve lost your phone.