How to Import Contacts to an iPhone From a CSV File

Unlike other smartphones, the iPhone doesn’t store your contacts on a SIM card. Rather, it syncs with contacts you’ve stored elsewhere on the Web or a computer. Hence, one of the quickest ways to view and use contacts stored within a CSV file would be to import them into an email account that’s synced with your iPhone. For accounts such as iCloud, you’d need to convert the CSV file to the VCard or VCS format first.

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Not all email service providers accept CSV files.
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Import into an Email Account on Your iPhone

Step

Open an email account you already use -- such as a Gmail, AOL, Yahoo or Outlook account. Alternatively, create a new account with one of these providers.

Step

Follow the email provider’s instructions to import the CSV file (see links in Resources). This simply involves clicking the program’s “Import” button and choosing the CSV file from your computer.

Step

Add the email account to your iPhone, if you haven’t done so previously. Tap “Settings,” followed by “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.” Next, touch “Add Account,” followed by the email provider’s program; for example, choose “Google” for a Gmail account. Enter your name, email address, password, and description in the fields provided on the next screen. Then, tap “Next.”

Step

Toggle the “Contacts” switch to the "On" position. The account’s contacts -- including those you imported from the CSV file -- appear within your iPhone’s Contacts app almost instantly. To view them, tap “Contacts” on your home screen, followed by “Groups,” and your email account’s name.

Convert File and Import into iCloud

Step

Open an existing Gmail or Yahoo account. Alternatively, create a new one.

Step

Follow the email provider’s instructions to import the CSV file (see links in Resources). This entails clicking “Import” and choosing the CSV file from your computer to upload it.

Step

Follow the email provider’s instructions to export your contacts to a new vCard or VCF file. This involves clicking the program’s “Export” button, selecting the new file format and saving the file on your computer.

Step

Sign in to your account at iCloud.com. Next, choose “Contacts.” Click the “Gear” button on the lower left and choose “Import vCard.” Select the VCF file you just created to upload and display its contacts.

Step

Activate iCloud contacts on your iPhone, if you haven’t done so previously. Tap “Settings,” followed by “iCloud.” Then, toggle the “Contacts” switch to “On.” You may now view your imported contacts within the Contacts app.