How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone

How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone: 5 ways

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

In this article you will find 5 different ways to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone: with or without iCloud, with or without iTunes, and there’s also a way to transfer iPhone contacts through the AirDrop feature. The methods support all iPhone models including iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Here you will find all the information on how to transfer contacts to a new iPhone.

Note: If you have your contacts stored on your SIM card, you can follow official Apple tutorial on how to import SIM contacts to your iPhone.

Anyway, let’s get started! Choose the method you prefer:

If you don’t know what any of the above means (what the heck is AirDrop? I don’t know if I need iCloud or iTunes method!) I recommend following the easiest method of transferring contacts without iCloud, which is described step by step below.

How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone without iCloud

The easiest and fastest method to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone, here we go! You can even use this method if you have two phones with different Apple ID, because the method doesn’t involve iCloud. The best advantage of this method (apart from it being one of the fastest ones) is that you can select which contacts you want to transfer, and even edit them before you move them to a new iPhone. Another awesome advantage of this method is that you can merge your iPhone contacts: the method won’t overwrite the contacts on the new device.

Let’s get started!

  1. First, download CopyTrans Contacts.

    Download CopyTrans Contacts

  2. Next, install and start CopyTrans Contacts. If you need help, refer to the installation guide.
  3. Then, connect the iPhone you want to transfer contacts from. Please wait until all your contacts finish loading (the spinning wheel on the right will disappear): Contacts loading in CopyTrans Contacts
  4. You will see the list of contacts on the left, and the detailed info about each individual contact on the right. Select all contacts clicking the checkbox next to ‘Contacts’: Select all contacts on your iPhone

    TIP: If you don’t see your contacts in the CopyTrans Contacts interface, follow this troubleshooting guide.

  5. Click ‘Export selected’: Export selected contacts from your iPhone
  6. After that select ‘iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (multiple .vsf files)’ option: Transfer iPhone contacts to iPhone vcf files
  7. Select a folder to back up your contacts to. I’ve created a new folder on my desktop for this purpose. Click OK: Select folder to backup iPhone contacts to
  8. Halfway there! Let’s connect the device you want to transfer the contacts to. In my case this device is empty, so there’s nothing showing up in CopyTrans Contacts interface. That’s about to change 🙂 Click ‘Import contacts’: Import contacts to iPhone
  9. Click ‘From a file’: Import contacts from a file
  10. Next, find where you backed up your contacts to (in my case I backed them up on my desktop), select all the contacts (.vcf files) by pressing Ctrl + A on your keyboard, then click ‘Open’: Select all vcf files to import contacts
  11. All the contacts you selected will now be imported to your iPhone: Contacts imported to iPhone voila

How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone without iTunes

This is another icloudless and itunesless method on how to transfer contacts from one iPhone to another. This method works very well if you have a new iPhone, but don’t have the old one (you lost it, it died, or you sold it already) and you only have the backup left. You don’t want to restore the whole backup to your new iPhone, just the contacts. You are in the right place! This method works with iTunes or CopyTrans Shelbee backups. Let’s start transferring contacts to your new iPhone!

  1. Download CopyTrans Shelbee:

    Download CopyTrans Shelbee

  2. Install and start CopyTrans Shelbee. If you need help, refer to the installation guide.
  3. If you already have an iTunes or CopyTrans Shelbee backup, you can skip this step and go to the next one. If you don’t, connect the iPhone you want to transfer contacts from and do a backup. Here are the instructions on how to do a full backup with CopyTrans Shlebee. Backup iPhone without iTunes
  4. Now connect the iPhone you want to transfer the contacts to. You will need to perform Custom restore of your contacts. Follow the guide on how to selectively restore contacts to your new iPhone from iTunes or CopyTrans Shelbee backup. Restore selected data CopyTrans Shelbee custom restore
  5. That’s it 🙂 After the selective restore you will have the contacts from the backup from your old iPhone on your new iPhone.

How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone with iCloud

If you prefer using iCloud, this method is for you! Keep in mind that this method won’t let you select which contacts you transfer, it will bulk transfer all of them. Here’s how to transfer contacts to a new iPhone using iCloud sync:

  1. Make sure you are logged in with the same Apple ID on both iPhones. Both should be connected to Wi-Fi.
  2. Make sure your contacts are synced with iCloud on the phone you want to sync the contacts from. Go to Settings > click on your Apple ID at the top > iCloud > make sure the Contacts toggle is on: Sync contacts to icloud
  3. If you aren’t logged in on the iPhone you want to transfer the contacts to, open Settings > tap Sign In to your iPhone > enter your Apple ID & Password > Enter your iPhone Passcode > Click ‘Merge’ to upload and merge your contacts with iCloud: Sign in to iCloud to merge contacts
  4. Now wait until all the contacts are synced with your new iPhone. That’s all 🙂
  5. You might have some contacts that haven’t been transferred over. It means that those contacts are not in iCloud, they most likely are contacts that were created on the device and weren’t pushed to iCloud. You can use CopyTrans Contacts to transfer iPhone contacts to iCloud.

Note: iPhone contacts not syncing to iCloud? Follow this troubleshooting guide by Apple.

How to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone with iTunes

You can also transfer contacts to a new iPhone with the help of iTunes. The method is similar to the second one described above: you do a backup of the iPhone you want to transfer the contacts from, then you restore the whole backup to your new iPhone. The drawback of this method is that the whole backup of your iPhone will be restored, meaning that the data on the iPhone you are restoring to will be erased and replaced with the data from the backup. With iTunes you can’t select to restore contacts only. If you don’t like this idea, go back to the method 2 to selectively restore just contacts. If you are okay with restoring the whole backup on your new device, let’s get going:

  1. Download iTunes.
  2. Connect the iPhone you want to transfer the contacts from. Click on the phone icon on the top left: Click on device icon in iTunes
  3. Click ‘Back up now’. The back up start. Wait until iTunes finishes the backup: Back up in iTunes
  4. Connect the iPhone you want to restore your contacts to. Keep in mind that iTunes will restore the whole iPhone backup, not just contacts. If you want to restore contacts only, go to method 2 (without iTunes).
  5. Click ‘Restore backup’: Restore backup in iTunes
  6. A dialogue window will appear. Select the backup that contains your contacts (the one you just did) and click ‘Restore’: Restore iPhone with iTunes select backup
  7. Now wait until the restore is finished. Depending on the size of the backup, it can take up to a few hours. That’s it 🙂 This is how to move contacts from iPhone to iPhone using iTunes.

How to AirDrop contacts from iPhone to iPhone

AirDrop is a nice secure way of sharing files (including contacts) between Apple devices. This method allows you to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone without a computer. The only drawback is you can share one contact at a time. If you don’t have a lot of contacts or just want to share one particular contact with your friend or colleague, that’s the way to go!

  1. First, make sure both iPhones are close to each other and have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on: Wi-Fi and bluetooth turned on iPhone

    You can do so by swiping up from the bottom of the iPhone, which will open the control center. Tap to turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

    You can also do so by going to Settings > Wi-Fi > Switch the toggle on; Settings > Bluetooth > Switch the toggle on.

  2. Next, turn AirDrop on. Press and hold the Wi-Fi (or any other) icon in the control center to open up other options, tap on AirDrop and tap Everyone. Make sure the Hotspot is turned off on both of the iPhones: Turn on AirDrop from iPhone control center

    You can also do so by going to Settings > General > AirDrop > Everyone (or Contacts Only, if you only wish to get AirDropped by people you have in your contacts).

  3. Go to Contacts > pick the contact you want to share > tap Share Contact > tap the iPhone you want to share the contact with: Share a contact via AirDrop
  4. Click Accept on the other iPhone to finish the transfer: Accept contact via AirDrop

Thanks for reading this lengthy article 🙂 Maybe you know another way of moving contacts from iPhone to iPhone? Hit me up! If you have any questions or problems, leave a comment below.