How to backup or export iPhone contacts

We recently published a tutorial showing different ways to export Mac contacts. Admittedly, the process is much simpler on a Mac than it is on the iPhone, mainly because there is no way to export iPhone contacts directly from the device without the use of a third party application.

In this post we will learn a basic trick about how to share one contact card with someone. We’ll also go a little deeper and learn how to export iPhone contacts to a .vcf file, and we’ll also look into exporting your iPhone contacts to an Excel file (.csv).

How to share a contact with someone

Your iPhone has a feature that lets you share a contact card with someone either via SMS, email, or AirDrop. The downside is that you can only share one contact at a time.

1) On your iPhone, go to the Phone app and tap on the name of the contact you want to share with someone.

2) Scroll down to the bottom of the contact card and select the Share Contact option.

share iPhone contacts

3) You will now have the option to share your contact via iMessage/SMS, email, AirDrop, and more. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will share the contact via email, so tap on the Mail icon.

4) Compose your email as you normally would. You may even email this contact to yourself if you want to use it as a backup, for example. Alternatively, you can email it to anyone. The recipient of the contact will be able to add it to his address book or email client such as Gmail.

Shared contact card

How do I export iPhone contacts?

We’ve seen how to share a single contact directly from the iPhone, but what if you want to export all your contacts? Then you’ll need an application. There are many apps in the App Store that let you transfer contacts from your iPhone. I’ve been using one that works particularly well. I’ll use Export Contact for this specific section. We’ll use the same app to export contacts to an Excel file down below.

1) Download Export Contact from the App Store.

2) Launch the application and select the vCard file format tab at the bottom of the screen, then select Continue.

Choose Export format for your contacts

3) The app will import all your contacts automatically. Finally, tap on the Export button in the bottom left corner corner of the screen.

Export your contacts by email

4) You will be able to transfer iPhone contacts via email, SMS, or more, depending on what apps you have installed on your device. We’ll use the email option for the purpose of this tutorial.

5) A new email will be created, and a .vcf file containing all your contacts will be attached to it. If you want to use this file as a backup, you’re obviously free to email it to yourself and save it for future use. If you want to transfer your iPhone contacts to Gmail for example, you could also import the file in Gmail without a problem.

exporting contacts

How to export iPhone contacts to Excel

While you can’t directly export your iPhone contacts to Excel, you can however export your contacts in a file format that will easily be read by Excel, namely the .csv or .xlsx file formats.

Once again, we’re going to use the Export Contact app.

1) Download Export Contact from the App Store.

2) Launch the app.

3) Choose your export type. In our case, we will choose either CSV (.csv file) or Excel (.xlsx file), which are two file types you can easily open in Excel or Numbers for Mac.

Select the Excel file format

4) Tap on the Continue button. The app will then prepare all your contacts for transfer.

Preparing contacts for transfer

5) Tap the Export button. You can choose from different export methods. In our case, we will choose email.

Export your contacts by email

6) A new email will be created for you containing a .csv or .xlsx file that you will be able to email to yourself and open in Excel.

Export contacts in Excel file via email

As you can see, there are several ways to transfer iPhone contacts. Although very easy, the process does require the use of third-party applications. As mentioned above, there are tons and tons of such apps in the App Store, but Export Contact is one that I have personally used and I know it works really well. If you just want to export your iPhone contacts without any bells and whistles, then Export Contact is your best option. If you also want to transfer your contacts to an Excel file, then this same app will also do the trick.

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