How to Transfer Apple Contacts


Both the Apple OS X and iOS versions of the Contacts application make it possible for you to transfer contacts to other devices using vCards, which are electronic business cards that carry contact information in a standardized format. The vCard standard is used across multiple programs and operating systems, meaning that it can be used to transfer contacts to non-Apple devices without the need to convert the contacts to a different file format or manually enter the information into another program.

OS X for Macs

  • Click on the "Finder" icon and select "Applications" from the sidebar menu. Click “Contacts” to open the Contacts program.

  • Right-click on the contact you want to transfer and select “Export vCard.” Enter an appropriate file name and location for the card and then click “Save.”

  • Open the program you want to transfer the contact to and import the saved vCard into it. Alternatively, you can transfer the vCard file to another person or device by sending it as an email attachment.

IOS for Apple Mobile Devices

  • Tap the "Contacts" icon to open the Contacts app. Open the contact you want to transfer by tapping on its entry in the contact list.

  • Tap “Share Contact” and select “Email” from the menu to create an email in the Mail app with the vCard added as an attachment.

  • Enter the recipient's email address and tap “Send” to send the card.

Tips & Warnings

  • In OS X, you can transfer several contacts at one time by selecting multiple contacts before right-clicking and selecting “Export vCard.” This process creates one vCard file for all selected contacts.
  • On Apple's mobile devices, you can opt to send vCards over Apple's iMessage service as well as by email.
  • Information in this article applies to Macs running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and Apple mobile devices running iOS 6. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

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