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Steve711 Level 1 (0 points)

I want to ensure my iPhone 4S contacts are backed up on my mac using iTunes, but do not want them to over-write the contacts in my Outlook for Mac (and I don't want the Outlook contacts to sync to the iPhone contacts; I need to maintain each contact list as separate and distinct.)


When I first connected the iPhone to the mac with iTunes, it automatically ran a backup.  I just wanted to make sure I knew where the contacts backup was stored on the mac, but couldn't find the file (researching this forum indicated it would be in a folder which doesn't exist on my mac...)  So first question is, where should that backup be located?


I'm also confused about the difference between the backup and syncing.  To ensure neither the iPhone contacts nor the Outlooks contacts over-wrote the other, for now I have iTunes set to not sync the iPhone.  And in iTunes (version 11.0.1), under the "info" page for the iPhone, I do NOT have the "Sync Contacts" box checked.  I've seen some posts here say that if I select that box, it should give me an option to WHERE I'd like to sync the contacts to: Outlook, other mail program, etc.  But I don't see that option in this new version of iTunes.


So second question is, what's the best way to ensure I keep a current backup copy of the iPhone contacts, without impacting the Outlook contacts? 


(I don't use iCloud)



iMac (21.5-inch Mid 2011), Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • razmee209 Level 7 (30,353 points)

    IOS how to back up


    IOS syncing with itunes


    both links shows you how to do a backup and sync but also provides details of what is backup and synced.

  • Steve711 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, I'd read both articles.  But they don't answer my questions, specifically:


    1.  Where is the backup located on the mac, so I can ensure it's there and includes my iPhone contacts?


    2.  The sync article doesn't address what the iPhone contacts would be synced to.  Before I sync contacts and risk losing years worth of collected contacts on either the mac (Outlook contacts) or the iphone, how do I tell iTunes WHERE to sync the contacts to?

  • razmee209 Level 7 (30,353 points)

    The same I provided had this link included Itunes about IOS backups  You can't actually view the contents of the backup.  If you manually backup using itunes or iclouds, then your contact will be back up along with your data.



    You choose what programs to sync to - outlook/google/ can't remember the other program in itunes.

  • roaminggnome Level 10 (95,072 points)

    1) The backup is only intended to keep your call history and favorites.  It is NOT intended as a full backup for your contacts at all.  You cannot view the backup at all from your computer.


    2) You should be syncing your contacts to Outlook, Address Book, Google, Yahoo, icloud, eetc.  Your choice.  You should set this sync up on day one.  Your contacts should reside on your computer.  Your iphone is simply a method of carrying them around with you

  • KiltedTim Level 9 (50,405 points)

    Contacts are NOT part of the iPhone backup. Only enough information is part of the backup to maintain your favorites list and call history. Contacts are meant to be synced with a compatible contact manager on your computer or a cloud service.

  • Steve711 Level 1 (0 points)

    That article says:


    iTunes places the backup files in the following places:


    Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/


    However I do not have a "MobileSync" directory under /Library/Application Support/ on my mac, even though iTunes says that there is a backup of the iPhone.

  • Steve711 Level 1 (0 points)

    But how do I make that choice of where to sync the contacts to?  I'd love to sync them to the Address Book on the mac, but I don't see anywhere that it will let me make that choice.  And I want to ensure they don't sync to my Outlook address book.

  • Steve711 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've researched other threads on this question, and they always come to this same point.  I'm guessing older versions of iTunes might have had a drop down box on the "info" page where you could select which compatible contacts manager to sync the iPhone contacts with.  However there is no such box on the iTunes 11 info page. 


    The referenced Apple support page,, is a bit ambiguous, implying that a backup does include contacts, but then also states, as you mentioned, that "Your contacts are part of the backup to preserve recent calls and favorites lists..." It seems strange that a backup would include the ~30 items listed in the Apple article, but not include the most important, which is your contacts.


    I just can't sync the contacts until I know for sure that it won't erase all of my Outlook contacts, or replace my iPhone contacts with the Outlook ones.

  • KiltedTim Level 9 (50,405 points)

    Contacts are meant to be synced with a contact manager or cloud service, just a music, which is not part of the backup at all, should exist within your iTunes library.


    You can not sync contacts directly with Outlook on a Mac (or at least you couldn't the last time I checked). You sync them with the Address book on your Mac.  Make SURE there is at least one entry in the address book on your Mac before you turn contact syncing on. If the address book is empty, it will erase the contacts from the phone. If there are entries in it, it will offer to merge them.

  • Sk8Dreams Level 3 (855 points)

    I don't have a mac, but I found this from Apple Support:


    To sync contacts with your computer, choose "Sync Contacts with" within iTunes for Windows, or "Sync Address Book Contacts" on your Mac.

    You can sync your contacts with:

    • Microsoft Outlook 2003, Microsoft Outlook 2007, Microsoft Outlook 2010 (Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7)
    • Windows Address Book (Windows XP)
    • Windows Contacts (Windows Vista / Windows 7)
    • Address Book (Mac OS X)


    Is it possible that you are somehow not seeing the option to sync with Address Book?  Maybe it is a separate heading farther down on the Info page and you didn't scroll that far?

  • Steve711 Level 1 (0 points)

    As Sk8Dreams noted in the reply directly below yours, that specific Apple article says that it can sync with Outlook.  The date on that article is Nov 30, 2012, so it's pretty recent, but might've been just before iTunes 11 came out, so maybe it wasn't updated correctly.


    But I'm hoping you're right and it can't sync with Outlook, so I won't risk losing either the Outlook or iPhone contacts.  I'm going to respond to the next reply with what I actually see in iTunes for sync options.

  • Sk8Dreams Level 3 (855 points)

    Oops, didn't read closely enough.  No comment.

  • KiltedTim Level 9 (50,405 points)

    I'll have to double check, but I believe it can't sync with outlook directly. Even if it can, though, there's nothing forcing you to sync with Outlook instead of Address Book (Contacts in Mountain Lion).

  • Steve711 Level 1 (0 points)

    Here's what I see on the "info" page in iTunes 11 when I connect the iPhone 4S:


    top line: "Sync contacts" box, currently unchecked


    below that, a greyed out box, first option is "All contacts", second option is "Selected Groups". 


    below that, a box of 8 rows, all blank


    below that, a check box in front of "Add contacts created outside of groups on this iPhone to:" (followed by a drop down box, which isn't highlighted so I can't see what options it has)


    If I select the "synch contacts" box at top, then "All contacts", becomes selectable, but "Selected Groups" is not selectable.  Neither is the "Add contacts..." line, so I still can't see what choices that drop down box would give me.


    Really not sure what that last line about contacts created outside of groups actually means.

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