How to Import VCF to an iPhone

CSV files can be used to send contact info but can only contain textual data, no photos or audio.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Apple Inc.

You ask a friend to text to you her phone number, and you soon receive a text on your iPhone with a VCF file attached. You wonder if your friend misheard you. The truth is your friend simply knows the easiest way to send contact information: in a vCard. IOS 8 makes it easy to import vCards into your Contacts on your iPhone.

A vCard -- or VCF file -- is a file containing contact information, such as phone numbers, contact photos, emails and addresses -- it could even have a link to Google Maps for directions. All this information can be nestled nicely into your iPhone's Contacts in just a few taps. The vCard is now the standard for sharing such information.

Step 1

Tap the vCard attachment to open it.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Apple Inc.

Tap on the VCF file attachment to open it. You may have received it in an instant message as displayed here, but the procedure in iOS 8 is the same if you receive the vCard by email or access it on someone's website.

Step 2

Select "Create New Contact."
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Apple Inc.

Select "Create New Contact." If you already have this person in your contacts but are adding new information, select "Add to Existing Contact" instead.

Step 3

Tap "Done" to finish importing.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Apple Inc.

Tap "Done" to finish importing the vCard information into your iPhone Contacts.


To export contacts as a vCard directly from your iPhone, simply go to your Contacts app, open the contact you want to share and scroll to the bottom of the screen. Tap "Share Contact" and then choose "Email" or "Message." Enter the email address or phone number of the person you're sending the vCard to and then send the email or message. The contact will be shared as a vCard/VCF file.

It is also easy to export contacts to a vCard file on your computer: * In Gmail, click the "More" drop-down menu and select "Export." You can specify to export that particular contact or multiple contacts. You are specifically moving the contact or contacts into one single file. To create what is essentially an electronic business card, export only one file. In the "Export..." dialog, select "Vcard for Apple Address Book or Other Applications."

  • In Outlook 2013 open the contact for which you want to create a vCard, choose "Save As..." and choose vCard format in the drop-down menu for file type.

  • In Address Box 6.x on a Mac, the process is similar to Gmail. Open the contact for which you want to create a vCard, and in the File menu, choose "Export" and then "Export vCard."

To customize your vCard, click on "Business Card" in the Outlook's Contact tab while you are creating a contact to format the vCard -- so it resembles an actual business card, including images and color. Alternatively, download an app to your iPhone to create custom electronic business cards, such as SnapDat, Quick Biz Cards or KaiCards.


This process does not work in iOS 8 using a third-party email app. You will see the file but won't be able to open it and import its contents. If you receive a vCard by email and you normally use, for instance, the Gmail app, you must go open the iPhone's native "Mail" app instead to import a contact attached to an email.

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