Send Contacts from iPhone to Another iPhone

Feb 1, 2012 - 13 Comments

iPhone Contact as vCard (VCF) Sending contacts from an iPhone is very easy, all data about the contact, from name, phone number, picture, email, URL, etc, can be exported as an inclusive vCard bundle and sent to someone else by email or text message. While we’ll focus on sending contacts between iPhones, these vCards are also usable by other iOS devices, Macs, Windows, Windows Phone, Android, and even Blackberry phones, because the exported VCF format is pretty much universally accepted across all platforms as an address book standard.

Send Contacts from an iPhone to Someone Else

This is by far the quickest way to share and transfer a contact from one iPhone to another iPhone, smartphone, person, or computer of any sort. Everything is handled in iOS natively:

  • Launch “Phone” and tap on “Contacts”
  • Navigate to the contact you want to share and tap on their name
  • Send Contacts from iPhone

  • Tap on “Share Contact”
  • Select how to send the contact to another iPhone, choose “Email” to send it as an attachment to an email, or choose “Message” to send the contact through iMessage or SMS text

Send Contact from iPhone to iPhone via Email or Message

Depending on the choice of sharing method, either the Mail or Messages app will open and contain the selected contact in a preformatted message. If you choose Messages, the recipient will either need SMS service or iMessages enabled. From here you choose the recipient of the contact as if you were sending a standard email or text message and click send as usual.

For some more information, the vCard format is not proprietary to Apple and the iPhone, these documents are widely considered the standard for virtual business cards, and should work on virtually any modern communication device, be it a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Obviously the standardization makes it much easier than manually typing out name, phone numbers, emails, and whatever else, so get in the habit of using the iPhones vCard sharing system and you’ll thank yourself later.

Importing & Using the Sent Contact Data

For the user on the receiving end, if someone sends you a contact all you need to do is tap on the contact name vCard (.vcf) to see a preview of the information contained within (name, phone, address, etc), and then the iPhone/iOS user can choose to tap either “Create New Contact” to make a new address book entry for that individual, or select “Add to Existing Contact” to add the vcard data to an existing address book entry. Though these instructions are specifically for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you will find the importing process of VCF data is practically the same on an Android or Windows device as well.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

13 Comments

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  1. Dave says:

    You can go the other direction as well, export from Address Book and send to iPhone

  2. Neena says:

    True – sending a contact to another iPhone is easy.

    But nothing beats the “Star Trekkiness” of zapping a contact across using those old infrared ports – think Palm.

    I kind of miss that. ;-)

  3. vdiv says:

    How about sending/receiving contacts and files via Bluetooth?

  4. Daryl Hall says:

    I called your friend Colin Oates, he is a good friend. Everyone should have his phone number on their favorites list.

  5. […] containing all the contacts to the phone, these .vcf files can be exported from many other phones, another iPhone, Address Book, Google and Gmail, Yahoo, and just about anywhere else you’d store contact […]

  6. KA says:

    What if I have 200 contacts?? this is not a “method” to send contacts. This is just the capability of iphone’s contacts app. Please be creative..

  7. Maya says:

    @KA I used a third party app called Copytrans Contacts to transfer the entire iPhone address book from my old to my new iPhone. It’s easy to use, but doesn’t run on Mac (tried it out).

  8. […] you’re on the other side sending a phone number out, remember that you can directly send contacts from the iPhone through iMessage and email that contain a full address book listing for a person, including their […]

  9. pin says:

    Useless…..thanks for telling us how to save them….

  10. […] If you choose the iMessage feature and the recipient has iMessage configured with their Mac, iPhone, or iOS device properly, they’ll be able to immediately import the contact right into their Contacts list in iOS just by tapping on it, just like sharing Contacts between iPhones. […]

  11. Sara says:

    How do you receive contacts on an iPhone 4 that was sent from an iphone5s using the share contact option?

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