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.

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get a daily tip (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.

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. If you're having trouble getting your contacts to sync between your devices, or want to learn how to unsync your iPad from your iPhone, we can help.

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 the Managing Editor for iPhone Life magazine and an award-winning novelist, with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. She specializes in Apple news and rumors, health and fitness tech, and parenting in the digital age. She graduated from MIU with a BA in Literature and Writing.
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.