This post was updated in September 2016
Recovering your contacts from an iTunes backup with the iPhone Backup Extractor is really simple. Here's a short video to show you how to recover contacts from an iTunes or iCloud backup and how to restore them back into your iDevice.
Below you can find a short pictorial guide to get you going once you've downloaded the software.
Follow these steps in order to recover your contacts from an iTunes backup:
1. Install the iPhone Backup Extractor on your computer
Once the iPhone Backup Extractor is downloaded on your desktop, double-click the icon to install it.
You’ll need an iPhone Backup Extractor subscription plan to be able to extract your full contact list.
2. Download an iTunes backup
To do this, you must connect the iPhone to your computer and then generate an iTunes backup on it - choose the backup from where you want to extract the contacts. The iTunes backup is automatically downloaded and stored in the default folder from your computer.
3. Click to recover your contacts
With the software installed and with the iTunes backup downloaded on your computer, start the application by clicking on it. You'll see the main window as shown below. The iPhone Backup Extractor will automatically find the default folder and you will be able to see which data is available for extraction.
If you have multiple backups stored here, you should pick the one you wish to extract the data from. The “Contacts” are available in the “Overview” section. Click on the blue text as shown below (Extract 1.290).
4. Choose where to extract your contacts
A dialogue window like the one below will pop up, asking you where you'd like to save the extracted contacts. Perhaps you might want to choose your Desktop folder.
5. Import the file into your contacts program
Once you've extracted your contacts file (it'll be a handy VCard ".vcf" file, although you can use the "Extract" menu in the application to extract to CSV instead) you should open it with whichever program you use to manage your contacts.
This might be a web based program, like Gmail or Hotmail, or a desktop application like Outlook or Apple Mail.
Each program will import contacts in a different way, but almost all will work with either the VCard or CSV files that the iPhone Backup Extractor produces. The options for Google Mail are described below.
6. Synchronise the contacts with your iPhone
Once the contacts have been imported into your contacts management program, you've got a few choices on how to get them on your phone, depending on the file type.
On your iPhone, when you import the contacts from a vCard file, you should access “File”, then “Import” and finally choose the vCard file containing the contacts you want to import.
If you would like to import the contacts from a .csv file, then you should access “Contacts”, then “Import” and finally select the .csv file and choose “Open”.
For importing the contacts directly into your iCloud account, log in on your account, click on “Action pop” menu and choose the file using “Import vCard”. That’s all!
Good luck restoring your data! If you get stuck, why not check out our extensive help page?