How to Sync Your iPhone Contacts from iPhone to Mac with iCloud, AirDrop & Finder (iTunes)

Want to keep your iPhone contacts updated and available on all your devices? We’ll explain how to sync your iPhone contacts to your Mac using iCloud, AirDrop, and the Finder/ iTunes feature. Apple’s iCloud can keep all your data, including contacts, updated even if they get deleted from your physical phone. You need an iOS 5 or above and OS X Lion 10.7.5 or above to use iCloud for Contacts. You also need an internet connection and an Apple ID. On the other hand, the AirDrop feature (iOS 7 or above for iPhones and Mac OS X 10.7 for computers) lets you share contacts from your phone to your computer through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Finder/iTunes feature lets you sync contacts through a USB connection. For this article, we used an iPhone running on iOS 13 and a computer on macOS Catalina (macOS 10.15).

Related: How to Search Contacts on Your iPhone

What's in This Article:

How to Sync iPhone Contacts Using iCloud

Using iCloud to sync iPhone Contacts is the easiest way to make sure they're always up to date on both devices, as every change will automatically be synced.

To make sure your iCloud is enabled for Contacts:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings.
  2. Tap on your name.

    sync iPhone contacts with iCloud sync iPhone contacts with iCloud
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Turn on Contacts.

    sync iPhone contacts with iCloud sync iPhone contacts with iCloud
  5. Choose Merge.

    sync iPhone contacts with iCloud
  6. On your Mac, click on the Apple icon on the top left-hand side.
  7. Choose System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  8. Click Apple ID. (on macOS Mojave and earlier, click on iCloud.)

  9. Turn on Contacts.

Note: If your iCloud storage is full or if you haven’t completed Steps 1–4, you can’t access iPhone Contacts on your Mac.

How to Sync iPhone Contacts Using AirDrop

You can share one contact at a time from your phone to your computer by enabling AirDrop.

How to Enable AirDrop on an iPhone:

  1. Make sure your Bluetooth is enabled. Open Control Center and tap on the Bluetooth icon to enable it.

  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Scroll down to General and tap on it.
  4. Tap on AirDrop.
  5. Check Contacts Only or Everyone so you can send contacts to your Mac.

    airdrop contacts iphoneairdrop contacts iphone

How to Enable AirDrop on a Mac:

  1. Click on the Bluetooth icon on the top menu to make sure it's on.
  2. Turn Bluetooth on if it's not alread.
  3. Search AirDrop in Finder.
  4. Click on AirDrop and make yourself discoverable by Contacts Only or Everyone.

    enable airdrop mac

How to Share an iPhone Contact Using AirDrop:

  1. Open the Contacts app on your iPhone.
  2. Choose the contact you want to share.
  3. Tap Share Contact.

  4. Your Mac name should pop up.
  5. Tap on it to send.

    airdrop iphone contact
  6. The contact should pop up on your Mac screen. Tap to open.

How to Sync iPhone Contacts Using Finder (iTunes)

You can only sync iPhone contacts via Finder or iTunes is you don't have iCloud enabled for Contacts. If you have iCloud enabled for Contacts on your Mac and iPhone, your contacts will automatically be synced.

  1. Plug in your phone to your Mac using a Lighting cable.
  2. Open Finder (Mac OS Catalina or later) or iTunes (Mac OS Mojave and earlier) and click on the phone icon.

  3. Click on Info.
  4. Choose Sync Contacts option and click Apply.

Whichever method you choose, it’s a good idea to regularly check that your iPhone is syncing properly to your Mac. This will save you time and frustration later on by protecting your important contacts.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both's picture

Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both

Amy Spitzfaden Both is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, an award-winning novelist, and an iPhone enthusiast. Over the past decade, her work in the publishing industry has included live coverage of industry events including the Yale Publishing Course and Magazine Innovation’s ACT 9 Experience, providing editing services for several start-up publishing houses, and acting as newsstand consultant for magazines such as The Old Farmer’s Almanac and The New York Review of Books. She graduated from M.I.U. with a Bachelor’s in Literature and Writing, and has gone on to publish two novels and two short stories. Her debut novel Untold won the 2014 Chelson Award for Fiction.
Writing everything from book reviews to skincare tips, Amy discovered a passion for bringing exciting and useful information to even the most casual researcher. The mix of usability and endless possibilities is what drew her to Apple products originally, and the more she learns, the more she loves.
Amy lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. When she’s not writing or glued to her iPhone, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and creating her own tea blends.