How to Export Contacts from iPhone

Use vCard files to transfer contact data to other platforms and devices

Man holding a cell phone and smiling

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Many people rely on iCloud to automatically synchronize their iPhone contacts as a failsafe in case they lose or damage their devices. However, iCloud isn't the best solution to transfer contacts between different hardware and software platforms. For that goal, export vCard files from your iPhone.

Instructions in this article apply to iOS 12 and iOS 11.

How to Export Contacts From iPhone to vCard

A vCard (also called a virtual card) is similar to the look and feel of an online business card. Use your Apple ID to export your contacts from your iPhone to the vCard format.

  1. Tap Settings, tap your name, then tap iCloud.

  2. Turn on the Contacts toggle switch. If this setting is turned off, contacts on the device will not sync with your iCloud account, and cannot be exported to a file.

    Apple ID, iCloud button, Contacts toggle in iOS Settings
  3. On your desktop, open a web browser, go to iCloud.com, then sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID.

    You may need to use Apple's two-factor authentication to log in.

  4. Choose Contacts.

    Contacts icon on iCloud.com
  5. On the Contacts screen, a representation of your iPhone's Contact screen displays. In the lower-left corner, select the gear icon, then choose Select All.

    To choose specific contacts to export, press Shift or Ctrl to select contacts one by one.

  6. After the contacts are selected, tap the gear icon, then choose Export vCard.

    Export vCard in iCloud Contacts
  7. The selected contacts are saved to your computer as a .vcf file for you to access later as needed.

Use the VCF Files

A vCard file is an industry-standard file format. Most programs, including Microsoft Outlook, support vCards. vCards load naturally into most contact lists, making the format ideal for transferring contact information with a minimum of complexity.