8 Replies Latest reply: Jan 27, 2012 4:18 AM by Allan Sampson
pumpir1 Level 1 (0 points)

I am struggling with transfering Contacts from MacBook to iPhone via iTunes. I exported contacts from Microsoft Outlook (on PC with XP) to .csv, in Excel changed what was necessary, saved as .csv file, changed encoding of the file to UTF-8. Imported to MacOS addressbook without any problem, encoding was fine in MacBook.  I synchronized with iPhone via iTunes. In iPhone I received totally messed up encoding and I was not able to remove it from iPhone. If I delete all contacts from MacBook and run iTunes for synchronization, all these messed-up contacts are still in iPhone. If I reset iPhone to factory defaults, delete all contacts from MacBook addressbook and try iTunes sync again, I have my messed-up contacts back in iPhone (from somewhere)

1st question:

is there some way, how to delete all contacts in iPhone at once ? (I had to use reset to factory defaults for whole iPhone !!!!!)

2nd quesion:

how to deal with these messed-up contacts, which are still comming back to my iPhone?


iPhone 4
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,405 points)

    Outlook includes an option to export contacts as vCard files. You can email all contacts to yourself as separate vCard attachments. When received with the Mail.app on your Mac, save the attached files to a folder for import by the Address Book. Make the changes you want with the Address Book on your Mac followed by a sync. No need to export as .csv, import by Excel to make changes, save as .csv and then change the encoding of the .csv file to UTF-8 for import by the AB. This sounds so horribly upside down and backwards that is Windows and is not necessary.


    There is an option under the Info tab for your iPhone sync preferences with iTunes to replace contacts on the iPhone with what is available in the Address Book. After importing the contacts from Outlook as vCards and making whatever changes to the contacts in the Address Book, back up your Address Book. At the AB menu bar go to File > Export and select Address Book Archive.


    Follow this by selecting replace contacts on your iPhone with what is available in the AB on your Mac under the Info tab for your iPhone sync preferences with iTunes.

  • pumpir1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for quick response, but I cannot imagine to export more than 1.000 contacts as vCard files. In Outlook it is possible to select all contacts and choose "Forward Items". Processing 1.000 attachments is a terrible option. I have no idea about some other option, how to export vCards from Outlook.

  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,405 points)

    You're welcome.


    Why not, and why is it a terrible option.


    Anything is a significantly better option than the archaic method you did to get the contacts imported in the Address Book.

  • pumpir1 Level 1 (0 points)

    OK, I can do it in this way, but still have no idea, how to delete all contacts from iPhone at once. I was reading about an option with iTunes, but it does not work for me. I think the reason is, that contacts encoding in iPhone is messed-up and sync process is not able to work with messed-up contacts ....

  • pumpir1 Level 1 (0 points)

    OK, I made another attemt to find out, what is the problem. Contacts in MacBook Addresssbook are fine, does not matter, if imported via csv file or via vCards (I tried both with the same result). It looks the problem is, that iTunes are sending contacts to iPhone not only from the AddressBook, but from some other source. My suspicion is, that there are some contacts in Outlook 2011, which is installed as a part of Office 2011 in this MacBook and originally one account was created there.

    When I delete some "bad" contacts from iPhone manually and run sync via iTunes, these "bad" contacts are back, although there are no such records in Addressbook (taken probably from Outlook???).

    Is there some way, how to find out detail iTunes sync information? (which sources is using etc.)

    I tried to delete contacts database from Outlook 2011, but it did not help.

  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,405 points)
  • pumpir1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, it works. Do you have some idea, how to do it on Lion (iSync is missing)? I had to copy it from different Mac with Leopard.

  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,405 points)