How to save your Contacts

iPhone Photo by Oliur Rahman on Unsplash
Water photo Samara Doole on Unsplash

Have you ever dropped your phone in the sink, the pool or… somewhere else we won’t openly admit? Do you back up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes?

What would you do if suddenly you lost all of your contacts? I would hide in a corner and cry. Remember back in “the day” when you lost your address book? Yep, you had to call mom to get a “back up” of all those addresses!

The method I’m about to outline will work for both Mac users and PC users with iPhones.  If you have an Android phone, I promise I won’t leave you out, next week’s article is about Android phones.

For iPhone users, the best way to back up your contacts from your iPhone is to use iCloud (if you are not using the Google apps.)  Please read my article “How to Back Up your iPhone to iCloud” to get you started.

Once you have synced your phone to iCloud, you have a nice neat back up of your contacts (and other things!) saved in the cloud; even if you lose your phone or your computer dies.


If your iCloud account is ever compromised, you can lose ALL of that data. I don’t want you to go through that. I’m going to share a few simple tips on how to export your contacts to a .vcf (vCard) file that you can save on your computer, thumb-drive or CD. AND you can upload the vCard file to Google!

I recommend downloading your contacts (even if you use Google) twice a year to ensure you have a lasting record of your online data.

Downloading Contacts from iCloud:

Log into your iCloud account by visiting 

You should already have an iCloud account from when you set up your iPhone.  If you did not set one up, you will need to do this now.  Please see my article “How to Back Up Your iPhone to iCloud” For information on how to do this.

Sign In to iCloud

Once you are logged in, you will see your dashboard.  It should look something like this:

iCloud Dashboard

Single-click on “Contacts” You will be taken to this screen:

iCloud Contacts

Find the gear icon at the bottom left side of the screen and click it. Then highlight “select all”

iCloud Contacts Save

All of your contacts should be selected. Go back down to the gear icon at the bottom left side of the screen and select “Export V-Card”

Download VCF File

You should now have a file with the .vcf extension in your downloads folder or your desktop depending on how you have your web browser set up.

The .vcf file can only be opened by the Contacts app on your Mac unless you upload it to Gmail (see instructions below)  However, you can save this file in a safe place:

  • Save it to a thumb-drive (USB drive you plug into your computer)
  • Save it to a CD rom by inserting a blank disc and dragging the file over to write to the disc.
  • Uploading it to another cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox
  • Uploading the file into your Google contacts

Now that you have your .vcf / vCard file, the easiest way to save your contacts is by using Google.  Haven’t I said that I LOVE Google?  Below are instructions on how to upload your .vcf / vCard file to google as an import and how to export the .csv file (comma separated value) that you can open easily in Excel or Google docs. You may want to edit or save your contacts in a spreadsheet or just save the file on another cloud service as another option.

Importing Google Contacts

Importing your vCard (or .vcf file) into your Google Contacts is very simple. (This also works for .csv files.)

Navigate to Gmail using your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge)

First, go to your contacts tab at the top of your Google email account and select “Contacts” this will take you to your contacts page within your Gmail account.

Next, select “More” and “Import”

You will be asked to select the file to import. Go find the .vcf file (or .csv if that’s what you have)  you saved from the first part of the instructions above.  Once you select the file, all of the contacts will be imported!  You’re done.

Exporting Google Contacts

If you want to save your contacts for viewing in a spreadsheet (Excel or Google Sheets), you will need to Export your contacts to a .csv file and then open that file in Excel or Google Sheets.

Navigate to Gmail using your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge)

Once you are in your Contacts menu, click “More” and select “Export”

A box will pop open up and ask you which contacts your want to export.  If you have lists, you can export just a list, or you can select “All Contacts” which is what you want to do for this exercise. Click EXPORT.

Your file will be downloaded to your computer. The file will be where you have told your web browser to save downloads. I would check your “Downloads” folder or your desktop for the .csv file.

You now have an editable of all your contacts!  If you use Google Drive, I recommend uploading the .csv file there so you have a spreadsheet of all your contacts. For instructions on how to upload to Google Docs, click here.

I hope this (LONG) article is useful to you. Please realize that everyone’s computer and web browser are set up differently and yours may look different from mine.  If you have any questions or are not clear about anything shared in this article, please feel free to contact me!





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