How to Transfer Contacts from Old iPhone to iPhone 5/5s?

transfer contacts from old iphone

Take a look to Transfer Contacts from Old iPhone to iPhone 5/5s

  • iCloud Sync (while setting up the new iPhone)
  • iTunes Contact Sync
  • VCF file export
  • Third party software

First of all, let’s see how you make sure the new iPhone 5 is set to sync all contacts via iCloud:

Transfer contacts to iPhone 5 / 5s with iCloud Sync

With your old iPhone, you would have had the option to sync your contacts to iCloud. If you are just trying to set up the new iPhone, I suggest you sync the contacts from the old iPhone to iCloud first.

To do this on your old iPhone:

  • Open configuration
  • Scroll down and tap iCloud.
  • Make sure ‘Contacts’ is ON.
  • Scroll down and tap on Storage & Backup.
  • Make sure iCloud Backup is activated.
  • Click Copy Security now to make a backup of the data.

Now while setting up the new iPhone 5 / 5s:

  1. In the Configure iPhone option, tap ยป Restore from iCloud Backup
  2. Proceed normally and it should find all your contacts on iPhone 5

Now if you set up your iPhone 5 / 5s from a new iCloud account, or you didn’t backup contacts to your iCloud, you can try the following method that you might be familiar with if you have used iTunes to backup and sync up.


iTunes offers a perfect way to sync contacts, but if you’ve had a great experience with iTunes, you know it’s a bit tricky unless you’re careful.

To do this:

  1. Connect your old iPhone to iTunes.
  2. Select the iPhone from the Devices tab on the left sidebar.
  3. Click on the “Information” tab.
  4. Select only Address Book Contacts (for synchronization purposes) and deselect the rest.
  5. Select All contacts (or group if you want to choose in group).
  6. Now, click on Apply and iTunes will ask you for a confirmation.
  7. Select the merge option if you already have contacts on your system. Or just rewrite.

After this, remove the old iPhone and connect the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s

  • Once iTunes recognizes the new device, select iPhone 5 from the sidebar
  • Again, click on the Information tab
  • select Contacts from address book and deselect the rest
  • Select All contacts again (or group)
  • Click Apply
  • Select the merge option (or rewrite on iPhone)

Once the syncing is done, you should see the contacts on your iPhone 5.

VCF file export

Alternatively, a .vcf file of all your contacts can be sent and imported to your iPhone 5. In this method, you must first create the vCard (.vcf) file of your old iPhone contacts. To do it:

  • Download and install My Contacts Backup on your old iPhone
  • Run the app It will automatically create a .vcf file of all your contacts (along with their photos, email, fax information, and more)
  • The file will be emailed to you.
  • Open the email on your new iPhone 5 and only import the .vcf file when prompted.

Third party software

There are programs like Copytrans that help you transfer contacts in the same way that iTunes does. Only these are simpler and easier to handle. Of course, most third-party software costs money, and some of them are quite expensive. These are for people who have large contact groups and want to be very careful with them.

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