How to sync or transfer contacts from iPhone to Mac

Just like your iPhone, your Mac has FaceTime, Messages, and other apps for connecting with family, friends, and colleagues. For a more streamlined experience, you might want to transfer and/or sync your contacts from iPhone to Mac. With mobile numbers and email addresses available on your computer, making video calls or sending iMessages become quick and convenient.

So, let us show you the five ways to sync and import contacts from iPhone to Mac.
Best ways to sync or transfer contacts from iPhone to Mac
But first, let’s take a moment to understand what these similar-sounding terms mean.

Sync:

Sync (or synchronize) means to happen at the same time. When iPhone and Mac contacts are synced, the changes you make on one device immediately reflect on another. For example, if you delete a contact from your iPhone, it will be removed from your MacBook too, and vice versa. If you edit a contact on Mac to add an email address, the change will show up automatically on your iPhone as well.

Import or Transfer:

These are basically the same thing. When you transfer contacts from iPhone to Mac, they become available there. Similarly, to import a contact on Mac, you have to first export it from your iPhone. And then it appears on your computer. After transfer, if you make changes to a contact on one device, it does not show up on another.

Now that you know the difference between these terms, here is how to get your iPhone contacts on your Mac.

Sync contacts from iPhone to Mac using iCloud

iCloud binds your Apple devices together, offering a seamless experience. If enabled, it syncs contacts, reminders, calendar events, passwords, and more.

To have iPhone contacts on your Mac, you must be signed in using the same Apple ID and enable iCloud Contacts on both. Here’s how.

On iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap your name from the top.
  2. Tap iCloud and make sure the Contacts switch is green. If not, turn it on, and when asked to Merge or Cancel, tap Merge.

In iPhone Settings tap your name iCloud and enable Contacts

On Mac:

  1. Click the Apple icon from the top left and choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Apple ID > iCloud and check the box for Contacts.

In Mac System Preferences enable iCloud Contacts

You have enabled iCloud Contacts on both. Now, open the Contacts app on your Mac, and assuming you have an internet connection, all your iPhone contacts should appear here.

Note: If you do not use iCloud, connect your iPhone to Mac via a Lightning cable. Next, locate your iPhone inside Finder (on macOS Catalina and later) or iTunes (on macOS Mojave and earlier). Finally, sync contacts from the Info tab.

Use Google, Microsoft, or other accounts to sync contacts between iPhone and Mac

If you use both Android and iPhone or have recently switched from Android, your contacts are likely saved in your Google account. If that’s the case, you can add your same Google (or Microsoft, or other) account to your iPhone and Mac to sync the contacts.

On iPhone:

  1. Open Settings and tap Contacts.
  2. Tap Accounts > Add Account.
  3. Now, tap Google or the account where your contacts are stored. Follow the on-screen instructions to sign in.
  4. Once that’s done, make sure the switch for Contacts is left enabled.

In iPhone Contacts settings tap Add Account choose account and enable Contacts

On Mac:

  1. Click the Apple icon and choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Internet Accounts > Google (or another service) and complete the sign-in process. After this is done, make sure to keep Contacts checked.
  3. Open the macOS Contacts app, and in the left sidebar, you will see the added Google account. Click to see all its contacts. You may also click All Contacts to see contacts from various accounts (like iCloud, Gmail, etc.) in one unified list.

In Mac Internet Accounts Section enable Google Contacts

How to import Google contacts on your Mac

Follow these quick steps if you do not want to sync Google contacts, but just import them to your Mac.

  1. Visit contacts.google.com using any browser and sign in if asked.
  2. Press Command + A to select all contacts. Next click the three dots icon > Export > vCard (for iOS Contacts) > Export.
  3. Once the VCF (Virtual Contact File) downloads, double-click to open it. Automatically, the macOS Contacts app will open. Click Import to save the contacts.

Export your contacts from Google Contacts on web

Transfer contacts from iPhone to Mac using AirDrop

If you do not use the above methods and want to quickly transfer a contact from iPhone to Mac, you can simply use AirDrop. Enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on both devices and follow these steps.

  1. Open the iPhone Contacts or Phone app and tap a contact.
  2. Tap Share Contact > AirDrop and select the Mac.
  3. The contact will appear in the Downloads folder as a Virtual Contact File. It will look like person name.vcf. Double click to add it to the Mac’s Contacts app. Alternatively, once AirDrop completes, you will see a notification on Mac. Click Open > Add.

In iPhone Contacts app tap Share Contact and choose AirDrop to send it to Mac

The downside of this method is that you can only transfer one contact at a time.

Use email to transfer contacts from iPhone to Mac

You may also use email or chat apps like WhatsApp to send the contact on your Mac. Follow the same initial steps as AirDrop but choose Mail or one of the other options. Now, send the email or message to yourself or someone you trust.

Next, open the email or that messaging app on your Mac, and you will see the contact there. Download it and open the VCF to add it to your Mac’s Contacts app.

Use third-party apps for transferring iPhone contacts to Mac

Finally, you may also use one of the many third-party apps to transfer contacts from iPhone to Mac. Here are the steps using the Export Contact app, which was created by iDB.

  1. Download Export Contact from the App Store. Open and give it permission to access your contacts.
  2. Select vCard as the format in which you would like to export your contacts and tap Continue. The free version will export only the first 100 contacts. If you have more, consider getting the pro version at a small fee.
  3. Tap Export and choose one of the options from the iOS Share Sheet. The quickest is AirDrop.
  4. Once you have the contact card file on Mac, double-click to import them into the macOS Contacts app.

Use Export Contacts to Transfer Contacts from iPhone to Mac

These were the quick and reliable ways to sync and transfer contacts from your iPhone to your Mac. Which method seems most suitable for you? Let us know in the comments below.