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How to Sync Address Book Contacts Between iPhone and Mac

How to Sync Address Book Contacts Between iPhone and Mac

Sync you’re Address Book contacts without creating duplicates or deleting your data…

On first impressions syncing contacts between your Macbook Address Book and your iPhone seems to be a pretty straightforward task, but as some of you may have found out running into problems is extremely common and a simple mistake can mean losing all of your contacts.

The first thing that struck me was that, unless you have the ‘Personal hotspot’, also known as Internet tethering, option enabled (usually at an extra charge from your provider) you can’t do the sync using Bluetooth, instead you’ll need to use the 30-pin to USB connecter provided with the iPhone.

how to sync iphone contacts address book

Transfer iPhone Contacts To Address Book

The next problem appeared to stem from having syncing enabled in both iTunes and iCloud. If you proceed with the sync in this configuration it’s possible to get duplicate contacts. Fortunately for me I didn’t have this trouble, but my iPhone wouldn’t sync with the Address Book until I turned off the contact syncing in iCloud (or any other application). From there on, everything worked great.

To do this, open System Preferences > iCloud. Sign-in and then deselect the Contact check box.

With your iPhone connected to your Macbook, open iTunes. In the left hand sidebar menu you’ll see your iPhone popup – select your device and navigate to the Info tab.

Click Sync Contacts (the first option) and select All Contacts. Then click Apply in the bottom right hand corner.

This should sync all contacts between your iPhone and Macbook.

However, after a little research it would seem that not everyone’s experience is the same… Many people appear to have difficulty transferring iPhone contacts into the Address Book. If this is the problem you’re facing, here’s how to solve it.

You’ll need to perform the sync as previously mentioned. This should at least put your Address Book contacts in your iPhone.

Next you need to delete all the contacts in your Address Book except one, which must be unique (make sure all your contacts have successfully transferred to your iPhone before doing this).

The remaining contact in your Macbook Address Book must to be a different from any other contact in your iPhone – you can make up a fake one and simply delete it after completing the process. Now you should have all your contacts stored on your iPhone and just one unique contact stored in your Address book.

Now when you click Sync to Mac, you’ll be given the option to merge the two. Click the button and your contacts will now be the same on both your iPhone and Macbook.

As I mentioned previously, I didn’t have this problem (I assume that’s due to the different version of software running on people’s devices), mine worked fine after turning off syncing in iCloud. Nevertheless, these nuisances appear to be common and if not they are approached properly when they occur, it can lead you accidentally wiping all your contacts from your iPhone…. So proceed with caution!!!

If you’d like another take on how to sync your Address Book and iPhone contacts, follow the source links I used below.

Related Posts:


  1. Apple Support, 2010.
  2. Apple Support, 2011.
  3. Apple Support, 2012.
  4. How to Transfer Contacts From Computer to iPhone. eHow, 03/13/2012.
  5. Address book contacts not syncing with iPhone. Connected, 05/16/2011
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One Comment

  1. Thank you so very much for this advice. I tried for hours to synch my contacts from Mac to new Iphone, without success and then mercifully found you! Am very grateful for you help.

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