How Can I Import Contacts on My Iphone?

The Apple iPhone allows easy access to and integration with contacts and addresses within its operating system. If you upgrade or purchase a new iPhone, however, you might have difficulty retrieving those contacts. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to backup and transfer all of your contacts' information between the iPhone and computer to avoid this common problem.

Stack of mobile telephones
credit: Jupiterimages/ Images


When the phone is connected to iTunes, right-clicking on the iPhone icon (under the "Devices" drop down menu) will give you the option to back up your phone. This creates a file containing all the information on your phone, including your contacts. Backing up and restoring is useful if you lose your iPhone or it becomes damaged, or if you are upgrading to a newer model. In minutes, your new iPhone will be a clone of your old phone at the point when you backed it up.

SIM transfer

If you use AT&T, T-Mobile or another US GSM provider, your phone uses a SIM card to store your account information and contacts. If you're switching from one iPhone (or AT&T phone) to another, you can use your SIM card to move the contacts. With the SIM card in the original phone, enter the address book menu and find the option for transferring your contacts to the SIM card. Then, insert it into your iPhone or bring it to an AT&T representative. The phone has an option to import all SIM contacts under the "Mail, Contacts, Calendars" menu. This creates new entries in your iPhone based on the data contained on the SIM card.

iTunes sync

When accessing your iPhone through iTunes, there is an option to sync your contacts to your operating system's address book, which allows you to edit your contact list in both locations, an important feature if you manually enter a lot of contact data. All of the same fields are available in both Windows and Mac OS address books, so it is easy to manage and import all of your contact information in case you lose or upgrade your iPhone.

Phone-to-phone transfer

While viewing a contact, you have the option of emailing or text messaging that contact to another phone. With either method, the contact is saved in Apple's native format and sent via email or multimedia message. The recipient can choose to add the new contact to his or her iPhone address book.

There are also useful applications that transfer contacts as well. A popular app, Bump, allows users to physically bump their phones together to share contacts. Although the contacts aren't transferred directly, they are downloaded to a server and uploaded separately to each phone using an internet connection.