How to Sync Contacts from iPhone to Mac

Use iCloud or physically connect your iPhone to your Mac to sync contacts

What to Know

  • Sync contacts using iCloud by tapping Settings > profile name > iCloud > toggle Contacts on on your iPhone.
  • Then, go to System Preferences > Apple ID > Contacts on your Mac.
  • AirDrop contacts via your iPhone by tapping Contacts > the contact you wish to share > Share Contact.

This article teaches you how to sync your contacts from iPhone to Mac, looking at three different ways to do so. It also looks at why your contacts may not be syncing. 

How to Sync iPhone Contacts to Mac

The quickest way to keep your contacts synced across the iPhone and Mac is to use iCloud. The cloud storage service is baked into all Apple products making it simple to transfer data between devices. Here's how to sync your iPhone contacts to your Mac using iCloud. 

You will need to be logged into the same iCloud account on both devices.

  1. On your iPhone, tap Settings.

  2. Tap your profile name at the top of the list.

  3. Tap iCloud.

  4. Toggle Contacts on.

    Steps required on iPhone to sync contacts to iCloud.
  5. Tap Merge.

  6. On your Mac, click the Apple icon in the top-left corner.

  7. Click System Preferences.

    MacOS desktop with System Preferences highlighted.
  8. Click Apple ID.

    macOS system preferences with Apple ID highlighted.
  9. Tick Contacts.

    Apple ID iCloud options on MacOS with Contacts tick box highlighted.
  10. Your devices will now sync contacts between them.

How to AirDrop Contacts From iPhone to Mac

If you only wish to sync a few contacts across to your Mac, rather than your entire contacts list, AirDropping the contacts can be easier. Here's what to do.

You'll need to do this with each contact which is why we only advise it for sharing a few details.

  1. On your iPhone, tap Contacts.

  2. Find the contact you wish to share and tap it.

  3. Scroll down and tap Share Contact.

  4. Tap AirDrop.

    Steps required on iPhone to AirDrop a contact to Mac.
  5. Tap the Mac you wish to share it with.

How to Sync iPhone Contacts to Mac Using a USB Cable

If you would prefer to sync your iPhone contacts to Mac via a more manual method such as by plugging it into your computer, that's also an option, although it's not usually as convenient as using iCloud. Here's how to do so.

You can only use this method if you don't already use iCloud to sync contacts.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a USB cable.

    You may need to click Trust on both devices to be able to 'see' each other.

  2. On the Mac, click Info.

  3. Click Replace Contacts to sync the contacts to your Mac.

  4. Click Apply.

  5. The contacts will now be automatically updated every time you connect your iPhone to your Mac. 

Why Are My iPhone Contacts Not Syncing?

If your iPhone contacts won't sync with your Mac, there are a few key reasons why that might be the case. Here's a look at them.

  • You're offline. If one or both of your devices are offline, you won't be able to sync your contacts until they have a connection again. 
  • Your devices are logged into different iCloud accounts. You need to have both iPhone and Mac logged into the same iCloud account to sync contacts.
  • Your iCloud storage is full. If you've run out of iCloud storage, you won't be able to sync your contacts. Clear some space or upgrade your storage to fix the issue. 

How to Force Your Contacts to Sync

If your contacts don't seem to be syncing automatically even though it's set up correctly, open Contacts on your iPhone and then swipe down from the top of the screen to force a refresh. 

Alternatively, try restarting your phone.

  • How do I sync iMessage from my iPhone to my Mac?

    To sync iMessages to your Mac, open Messages on Mac and select Messages > Preferences > Settings, then sign in with the Apple ID you use on your iPhone. In the You can be reached for messages at section, check all available phone numbers and email addresses. Set the Start new conversations from drop down to the same phone number on your iPhone and Mac.

  • How do I sync photos from my iPhone to my Mac?

    On your iPhone, go to Settings > your name > iCloud and enable Photos. Then, on your Mac, go to System Preferences > Apple ID > Photos.

  • How do I sync music from my iPhone to my Mac?

    Connect your devices, open the Music app on your Mac, choose your iPhone in the sidebar, then select Sync Settings.

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