is there a way to backup or extract the contacts from an iPhone to a more "open source" like format on windows?

i cant use this iTunes encrypted backup.


From Simply Export iPhone Contacts to a csv or any flat file!:

  1. When you plug your iphone into your computer and bring up itunes, click on the left of screen where your iphone is displayed - then in the right of screen it will show you your space usage.
  2. In that window, click along the top : there are labels like Applications, Info, Music, TV Shows, etc. Click on where it says Info.
  3. Then on that screen under contacts check the box that says 'sync contacts with' and then select where you want to store your contacts. Use Windows address book for Windows XP, but on the newer versions of windows it's called Windows contacts.
  4. Then hit sync - all your contacts then appear in the address/contact book, and you can save a copy.

In iTunes, you can choose to sync your contacts with Outlook, Google Contacts, Windows Contact, or Address Book (on Mac). From there you can export the contacts from any of those apps/websites to a CSV file.

If you don't want to sync with an existing address book (and get all those contacts added to your iPhone), I'd recommend choosing a service that you don't currently have any contacts on.

If you use Gmail, you can tell it to sync with Gmail over the air using Google Sync which will keep your contacts constantly synced with Google (instead of only when you plug your phone in to your computer, as the previous method does). From there you can download the contacts.

  • thanks! so i chose to synch with windows contacts. but i cant seem to find them anywhere in windows live mail. – clamp Jul 18 '10 at 17:03
  • Windows contacts is not the same thing as Windows Live Mail contacts. Windows contacts was a program that shipped with Vista but since has been abandoned because of Windows Live Mail contacts. This website: windowsteamblog.com/Windows/b/windowsexperience/archive/2007/05/… can help you get them into Windows Live Mail. – Stacey Hanson Jul 18 '10 at 17:06
  • thanks but i have windows 7 and cant find windows contacts anywhere – clamp Jul 25 '10 at 7:49

There is also a nice little tool called iPhone Backup Extractor. There is a free version, which satisfied me. I used it once, and it was what I needed, so maybe it'll hel


You can sync your iPhone contacts with your Windows Contacts directly via an iTunes sync. Just connect your iPhone, run iTunes, and set up Sync Contacts to option to Outlook or Windows Contacts from the Info tab of your iPhone settings within iTunes.

You can also use standalone tools such as this one:


to export your iPhone contacts to your computer in vCard or CSV form.


For backing up contacts, I found this most useful, and very easy (doesn't require a computer even, backs up from the phone using the internet) : Apple ITunes - Backup Send Contacts (US only) It makes a vcf, so it can be used with pretty much any application I think

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