Transfer Contacts to iPhone Without iTunes
Need to quickly transfer contacts to an iPhone without using iTunes or connecting the iPhone to a computer? The easiest way to do this is by emailing a vCard file 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 information.
You’ll probably want to backup and sync the iPhone beforehand just in case something goes haywire importing the vCard, however unlikely that is.
How to Transfer Contacts from a VCard to iPhone Without iTunes
This works very quickly to import an address book to iOS, and you can use a vcard file originating from Contacts, Google, or any other address book manager. It does not require the usage of iTunes or iCloud. Here’s what you’ll want to do:
- From a computer where the contacts are stored, create a new email with the vCard attachment that you created from the Contacts app Export function, or whatever other app is used to store your contacts
- Send the Vcard (vcf) file attachment to yourself at the email address setup on the iPhone
- Open the email containing the contacts on the iPhone and tap on the vCard.vcf file attachment
- Tap on “Add All # Contacts” to import the address book to the iPhone* – this may take a moment depending on how large the address book is and how many contacts that are in the vcard file
*Note: Choose whether to “Add New” contacts, or to “Merge” contacts – if the iPhone is blank or doesn’t have many contacts, you may want to go with “Add New”, while if there are already other contacts on the iPhone that may overlap, using “Merge” can avoid creating duplicate contacts.
Notice the add option tells you how many contacts are stored within the vCard, making it easy to determine if all intended contact information is included. You can also manually select individual contacts from the list if you only wish to import one or two, but for the purpose here we’ll transfer them all over.
Verify that the address book was moved over by launching either Phone and tapping Contacts or by launching the separate “Contacts” app on the iPhone.
This works the same in all versions of iOS, whether new or old.
What if the contacts are saved as a CSV file instead of VCF vCard?
Most apps and services will export as a VCF but if you wind up with an exported .CSV file, you can use a CSV to vCard converter tool to bring them over into a compatible vCard format. Here is a free online converter that will do this, just paste in the CSV, copy the vCard data into a text file, and save with a .vcf extension.