How to Transfer Contacts From iPhone to iPhone

how to transfer contacts from iphone to iphone

by Alex Gustman

Updated: June 16, 2021

Switching to a new iPhone model is not uncommon among iOS users. This is usually a whim, but sometimes it is an urgent need due to a damaged device. Regardless of the reason, this article will let you know how to transfer phone records from one device to another.

How to transfer phone book contacts

If the phone numbers are stored in the SIM card, then it is enough to move the card to the new device. Otherwise, you should consider the following methods:

  • Import entries from a vcf file.
  • Sync your data with iCloud.
  • Use the iTunes desktop program.
  • Third-party applications.
  • Import numbers from a SIM card.

The vcf option is optimal if you previously had a backup copy of your contacts stored in the cloud or on a PC. In this case, it is enough to send the file to the new smartphone, and then import the contacts.

The iCloud cloud service allows you to automatically transfer contacts to your phone. It is enough to activate the sync option on the old phone, and then perform the same operation on the new phone.

The iTunes program is useful when the network on the iPhone does not work or there are difficulties with the operation of the iCloud service.

Third-party applications allow you to back up and transfer important information. A convenient way when there is no computer at hand.

The method of importing numbers from a SIM card is useful if you need to change the phone number.

How to transfer contacts using the import method from a vcf file

  1. Download the file with the VCF. extension. To send it, use: email, cloud storage, or Bluetooth.
  2. Open the resulting file. In the new window, select the Add all contacts item.
  3. The system will then offer to save the new contacts as newly created ones or merge them with the current numbers. You should choose the first option – Create new contacts, as this will eliminate confusion with existing records.

Then the automatic export of contacts will start. The process lasts from a couple of seconds to several minutes, which is affected by the number of records. The new numbers will be automatically transferred to the directory.

Transferring contacts via Finder

Synchronising, backing up, transferring contacts and data just got easier with the latest operating system update. With the move to OS Catalina, you can simply connect your iPhone to your iMac or Macbook via Wi-Fi or wired via USB-Lightning to transfer your contacts. Once the phone is connected to your computer, your iPhone will be visible in the Finder in the list of drives.

Select your phone from the finder.

sync settings

Go to the “info” tab

device selection

If your phone has iCloud sync enabled and contacts backups enabled, you’ll see a message that your data, including contacts, is already in the cloud and you don’t need to do anything.

smartphone selection

If you have deactivated iCloud backup of contacts, you can transfer all or select which groups of contacts you want to transfer

sync contacts

With the update of the operating system, the iTunes app has been renamed Music. Transferring contacts via Music is the same as described above via finder – selecting the device in the Music app and pressing the synchronisation settings will open a window in finder.

How to sync contacts using the iCloud service

To use this method, you shall first create an AppleID account. If you have an account, follow these steps:

1. On your old iPhone, open the settings section, where select the iCloud item.

account page

2. Turn the switch to the active state, opposite the Contacts item. The records are automatically copied to the cloud storage. Also, while the switch is active, when you add new entries, the contacts are automatically copied to the cloud.

3. Next, log in to iCloud on your new iPhone, and then also activate the switch to sync contacts.

The synchronization process does not usually exceed 2-3 minutes. At the time of copying the recordings, you should connect the phone to a stable Wi-Fi network.

Instructions for transferring contacts using iTunes

Important! iTunes will replace the existing recordings in the new device. Take care of moving important contacts in advance.

1. Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable.

2. Launch the iTunes program. It is recommended to check the program updates before starting data synchronization.

3. After you find the phone, open the Details tab.

4. Next, activate the Sync Contacts option, and then confirm the action.

5. After copying the data, disconnect the old device, and then connect the new smartphone.

6. In the Details tab, go down to the Advanced label, where you can select the Contacts item. And then confirm the action.

How to transfer contacts using third-party programs

  1. Go to the AppStore app store and download your preferred utility, such as Simpler. Other applications work on a similar principle:
  2. In the program, select Backups, where tap the icon to create a backup of your contacts.
  3. Wait for the procedure to finish.
  4. After that, all the records will be saved to a file with the .VCL extension and the application will offer to send the file by mail or upload it to the cloud.
  5. In the future, save the backup file to the new iPhone, and then unpack it. Follow the instructions at the beginning of the article.

Instructions on how to import numbers from a SIM card to a phone

  1. Insert the SIM card into the phone.
  2. Go to settings, where you can select the Mail, Addresses, Calendars item.
  3. Go down to the Import SIM Contacts section.
  4. Confirm the action and wait for the transfer of contacts to finish.


The easiest way to transfer contacts is to set up synchronization with iCloud. As well as import records using a vcf file. If such methods are not available, for certain reasons, then it is recommended to resort to using the iTunes program. If the number of phone numbers is not more than 255, then save the records on the SIM card, which will make it easier to transfer to a new device in the future.

If you still have questions, then in the User Comments section below, you can ask the author a question, leave a comment, or share your experience. We will try to respond.

More about this

About the author 

Alex Gustman

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}