How to import vcf contacts to iPhone? [Easy Guide]

Not long ago my sister asked me to help to restore contacts on her new iPhone. In normal situation people would synchronize it through iCloud and then it’s not a problem, but in her case some “helper guy” managed to backup all her contacts into 1500 separate .vcf files. Insane! Why would you do this in the first place? Why not just use iCloud? Never mind… As you already know, in this tutorial I will show you how to import vcf contacts to iPhone.

To make it clear, we have 1500 separate vcf files. Now we need to merge them into one VCF file and then import it to iPhone. Let’s begin!

VCF (Virtual Contact File), or simply vCards, is commonly used file format to store contact details in digital format. Usually VCF file keeps full name, e-mail address, telephone numbers, etc. Basically it’s like a container to carry contact data between different devices. Moreover, VCF is supported by all popular operating systems (Windows, MAC OS, iOS and Android).

Just for your information, we tried synchronizing iTunes with Outlook or Windows Contacts and it just didn’t work. Just don’t waste your time trying.

It’s also possible to import vcf contacts directly on iCloud website, but you have to add them one by one. That would take forever in our case.

Luckily I found a proper way, so here it is. To transfer all vcf contacts files from computer to iPhone, follow the guide below.

PHASE 1: Merge all vcf files into one file

First thing we have to do is to merge all contact files into one large vcf file. It might sound weird, but trust me… it just works. Before we merge files, make sure they are all located in one folder. Then all you have to do is to run a command from a command line (Windows) or Terminal (MAC).

Windows users (run cmd.exe):
copy *.vcf contacts.vcf

MAC OS users (run Terminal):
cat *.vcf > contacts.vcf

I hope you managed to get to necessary folder before running a command above. In case you don’t know how to navigate your route from a command line, here are the commands you need:

cd folder name — open the folder
cd.. — exit from the current folder
dir — shows the content (files and folders) of your current location

cd folder name — open the folder
cd — changes your current position back to user’s folder
ls — shows the content (files and folders) of your current location

EXAMPLE: My contacts were located in folder named CONTACTS, which is located in Downloads folder. In order to proceed to folder with contacts I run two commands (see below):
cd downloads
cd contacts

Now you should enter the command to merge vcf files.

PHASE 2: Import .vcf contacts to iPhone

As a result of PHASE 1 you should have all of your contacts in one file. From now follow three simple steps to get your contacts transferred to iPhone.

STEP 1 Send vcf file to the iPhone over e-mail (which was set on that iPhone). If you haven’t set up any e-mail account on your device, do it right now. Detailed tutorial for this is coming soon.

STEP 2 Launch Mail app and open the message with attachement. Tap the attachment.
Send vcf file to iphone by postVCF

STEP 3 Tap on “Share” button. Tap on “More” button, then scroll and choose “Contacts“.

STEP 4 Confirm by tapping on “Create New Contacts”.
Create new contacts iPhone

All contacts will be added to iPhone’s Contacts. For future I suggest to set iCloud synchronization to avoid such headache. You can do this in Settings > YOUR NAME > iCloud.

That’s it! If we helped you today, click that like button and share the article through social nets. This tutorial is the first one from the range… soon I will show how to transfer contacts from Android to iPhone and vice versa. Don’t miss – Subscribe!

14 thoughts on “How to import vcf contacts to iPhone? [Easy Guide]”

  1. Does not appear to work on iPhone 11. It fails at

    STEP 3 Tap on “Add All XXX Contacts” then confirm “Create New Contacts”.

    No option to add all contacts, hence no option to create

    Help Max!

  2. Great article! Have an iPhone 6s+ with iOS 13.3.1. Was neither able to find the ‘Copy to contacts’ option in the menu nor getting it added there by changing settings. Any idea on this?

  3. Max,
    Just got the IPhone 11 Hi, this is Steve from Waitr. Leaving XxXxX now. See you soon! iOS 14 and can’t import. No Copy to Contacts feature! Suggestions please?

  4. I followed your instructions including the command line in Windows. On the Iphone 11 email I simply tapped the vcf file I sent to myself and was asked immediately if I wanted to import those contacts. Worked great! Thanks!

  5. Tried to import in iPhone11 on OS 14.3 and imported one single contact out of 1600 🙁
    Tried again for I thought I made a mistake, but it did not importe more then one.
    Any suggestions?

  6. I’m running iPhone se 2020 with iOS 14. This is like the only fricken place online that I could find a way to move contacts over without using a computer!

  7. If I open the .vcf file with notepad, I can see all my contacts there. However, when I open the email I sent to myself on my new iPhone 13 and follow your subsequent instructions, it only imports the 1st contact in the list. Any suggestions?


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