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 phone numbers of all those ladies you will never call back, 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
First, download My Contacts Backup from the App Store. There are actually a few good apps that do exactly the same thing, but we are using My Contacts Backup in this tutorial.
Then, tap the “Backup” button in the app and follow the instructions.
Now, the great thing about an app like this is that the contacts are saved as vCard files. The vCard, or vcf extension, is the file that makes your contacts look like business cards. The particular vcf files in My Contacts Backup are exact matches for your iOS files. So when the vCard is reopened, it will save exactly like the original, with no formatting issues.
Restoring these backed up contacts
Once you’ve tapped the “Backup” button, an email will be created with the vcf file attached. You can then send it to yourself and use it as backup for all of your iOS devices. All you have to do is tap on the file in your email while using your iPhone iPad or iPod touch. Once it is downloaded, tap it again. 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.”
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 file that can be opened in Excel as a list. Just change the file extension in the settings section.
You can download My Contacts Backup for free in the App Store. However, there is a paid version for $1.99. According to the developer’s website, the PRO version includes no limits on how many contacts you can backup. However, I was able to backup 824 contacts from my iPhone with no issue using the ad-supported free version.
The PRO version also includes a weekly backup reminder, iTunes file sharing support, Wi-Fi editing, multiple vcf exports, and in-app vCard restore.
The only reason you might need the PRO version is if your vcf file is so big that your email service blocks it. The in-app vCard restore lets you use the saved backup file right in the app instead of sending it to yourself through email.
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.