I have a picture I snapped with my iPhone that I set as the image for someone on my phone contact list. Now I've lost the original image out of the photo folders. Is there any way to pull it out of the contact list?

  • 1
    What OS/type of computer do you sync your iphone too?
    – Troggy
    Aug 24, 2009 at 19:19

8 Answers 8


If you're syncing your iPhone with Address Book on a Mac then you can edit the contact in Address Book, click on the image to select it and then copy it to the clipboard.

  • +1, just tried that this works (and is, of course, way easier than the approach in my answer)
    – Jonik
    Aug 27, 2009 at 5:52
  • I don't think that works in more recent versions of macOS, esp since they replaced it with Contacts.app
    – benc
    Nov 18, 2019 at 4:30
  • What @benc said. :/ May 22, 2023 at 13:41

If you're using your iPhone with a Mac, and syncing contacts between them, here's one way to get your hands on the photo, which I just tried. But this certainly is far from optimal; I hope there's some easier way.

[Edit: John Topley just described how to get the photo directly from Address Book's UI, without delving into its data folders; that is the easier way I was hoping for. So you'd probably only want to resort to the method below in some special cases, e.g. if you need all the contact photos at once.]

Under your home folder, locate the Library/Application Support/AddressBook/images subfolder. Here are all the images you've assigned to people in your contacts. The filenames will be something like 36C3C5E1-8BCE-4E0D-9FB4-12562C745A5A though, so to see what each image is, you'll need to change the filename to end with .jpg (make a copy first not to screw anything up).

If you have lots of contacts with photos, you wouldn't want to go through them manually like this, of course. But some scriptwork on the command line would make it easier; something like this:

  1. Make a copy of the whole AddressBook/images folder somewhere (e.g. using Finder)
  2. Fire up Terminal and cd to that (copied, not original) folder
  3. Run: for i in *; do mv $i $i.jpg; done
  4. Now, look at the folder in Finder again (in "Show as icons" mode), and using your built-in facial recognition abilities ;-) you should find the right image in a matter of seconds (unless you have hundreds and hundreds of photos in there)
  • Thanks for this info. My Mac hard disk crashed a few months ago so I'll probably just wait and use this solution once I can get it up and running again. In the meantime hopefully someone else knows of a Linux/Windows solution.
    – Van Gale
    Aug 26, 2009 at 1:33
  • When you get your Mac back, try John Topley's advice first. :) And from deddebme's post it seems it's as easy on Windows.
    – Jonik
    Aug 27, 2009 at 5:55
  1. Sync contacts to iCloud
  2. Go to www.icloud.com
  3. Open the contacts and search for the contact
  4. Double click on the contact image.
    It will open with a black circle around it. Right click and "Save image as".
  5. The black ring will be gone and will leave you with the photo.
  • +1 great solution, so obvious now :-)
    – dantiston
    Nov 19, 2023 at 16:35

If you sync iPhone in PC with outlook, you can extract the contact photos from outlook.


This is going to sound ridiculous, but i found the best way to do this is using two people. Go to edit the image (as if you're going in to change it) and use your fingers to zoom out. Then get someone else to screen shot it (while you're holding it zoomed out) and then crop it. I know it sounds mad, but worked for me x

  • This would better serve the community as a comment.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 2, 2017 at 16:14

Goto Contacts Open the contact Press and hold, then copy the photo Then open an email program and paste the picture.


Just hold your finger on the photo on shown as the contact then the touch the "copy" icon when it appears you can the past this in a message or email, I did this send a photo via Message, then saved the photo back to my phone libary


For all the people who use Windows or Linux: When you go to your contacts and than the person you want the picture from, just hold the circle with the picture in it and click copy. Than you can paste it in a Whatsapp chat to the Person you want to send it to. SMS or E-Mail works too. Another info: If you send the picture over Whatsapp you can go to Whatsapp on your Pc over the browser and download the picture from there to your Pc. Hope it helped you.

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