Default post cover image

Extract contacts from iTunes iPhone backup

Aidan Fitzpatrick

by Aidan Fitzpatrick

Extracting your contacts from an iTunes backup with the iPhone Backup Extractor is really simple. Here's a short video to show you how to extract 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 extract 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 license 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 extract 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).

iPhone Backup Extractor main window

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.

Extract contacts location

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.

Extract contacts iPhone open with

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.

Extract contacts iPhone gmail options

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 or simply send us an email here?

Aidan Fitzpatrick

by Aidan Fitzpatrick on , last updated

We've helped over 3,000,000 people recover their lost iPhone data. Let us help you too.

Comments (1)

It took me a while but I got my contacts back thanks to this information. Thank you so much!!!

@Brantlie, you're welcome glad we could help 😀

Submit a comment

© 2008 - 2018 Reincubate Ltd. Registered in England and Wales: #5189175, VAT GB151788978. Built with ❤️ in London.

Reincubate is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. Terms & conditions. Privacy Policy. It's your data, not ours. We recommend 2FA.


For personal users

For businesses and pro users

Scroll down for business and pro plans



iTunes support

Works with Windows and Mac

Customer support

Preview iCloud device list




iCloud and iTunes support

Works with Windows and Mac

Customer support

5 iCloud devices


This is iPhone Backup Extractor, think of it as a "personal forensics" utility. It's pretty awesome.

Jonathan Zdziarski

Forensics and iOS expert

For business and pro users



25 iCloud devices

High priority customer support

Commercial license

All benefits of our premium plan

Demo our APIs for enterprise

Need iCloud access, forensic tooling, bulk recovery of deleted SQLite data?

Learn about our APIs at