10 Nov 2011
By Michael Lewis

HOW TO: Backup your contacts from an iPhone to Google

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Have you ever wanted to back up your iPhone contacts outside of iTunes?  Popular belief was once you adopted iOS as your platform, your data was forever locked away in the Apple ecosystem.

Since GSM replaced AMPS, and SIM cards were introduced, I have always saved my contacts to the SIM rather than the phone. Even when the likes of Nokia and Sony Ericsson handsets had the phone as the default, I always used the SIM card as the primary location. That was until I got my first iPhone. iTunes became the new SIM card. However, I wish I had a dollar for every time I was asked: “How do I back up my contacts outside of iTunes”.

Full credit to the folk at Apple. iTunes now gives you the option to save your contacts to other places (as well as iTunes of course!)

Following is my simple guide on how to move your contacts from your iPhone, save them to your Google account.

What you need:

  • The current version of iTunes
  • A Google account (I use Google Contacts for the transfer)
  • An empty Google Contacts list (I suggest you create a new Google account if you already have contacts in your Gmail account)


  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac. iTunes will start and you will see your iPhone on the list.
  2. Select your iPhone
  4. Click on the Info tab in iTunes
  5. Sync Address Book Contacts appears – select All Contacts and select Sync Google Contacts
  6. Click Configure – you will be asked to enter your Google / Gmail user name and password.

data-transfer-mobiles-blog-contentYour iPhone contacts are now in your Google Contacts .

If you’re moving to an Android device you can also use this process to transfer your contacts.

How to move your contacts onto an Android phone.

  1. On your Android phone, select Menu / Settings/Accounts and Sync
  2. Select Add Account
  3. Select Google, then enter your Gmail account details
  4. This will sync your Gmail account with your Android phone.
  5. Your phone will display a range of options for you to sync.
  6. Select Google Contacts and your phone will sync with your Gmail Contacts (previously loaded from iTunes)

Once your contacts are in Gmail, you can add and delete via your computer, and next time you sync your phone, the contacts on the Android handset will reflect these changes.

Apple is a trade mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S., and other countries. iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are trademarks of Apple Inc.

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Posts: 87


  1. patrick chan says:

    not recommend to use this method
    actually this is a extremely poor method, should just use the as the exchange server and all your email / contacts / calender will be sync two ways. Or you can choose just the contacts.

    for more details --

    • jhnjohn says:

      If you are one who are looking to transfer data then best is to use iPhone transfer tool. This is one of best way to transfer iPhone files from one device to another and create backup. Nice and easy to sue this tool.

  2. Michael Lewis says:

    Patrick, thanks for your comment and the website. What I have written about is the process that worked for me. The main point is that there are now many methods out there. My recommendation is to select the method that you are comfortable with -- knowing that you now have a choice.

    • andre says:

      Hi thanks for the information, I have done this several times, but when I go to my gmail it’s not appear in the contact list ( it’s only show contact that I’ve save from email itself) How I can see the contact that I’ve save from iphone through Itunes ?

      I want to export it to my Android and Window phone


  3. StefEBear says:

    now you need to do one of how to move from iTunes to Hotmail for the future Windows Phone users. :)

  4. If you value the information on your PC. Mac or phone, back it up and get into the habit of doing it.

  5. Clare says:

    Can someone please tell me how to transfer my contact list from my hotmail account over to my telstra zte T60. I have my email account synced up but my contacts will not import, why? PLEASE HELP.

  6. Mitch says:

    Great article and very helpful. Much appreciated.

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