The Best Way to Import Outlook Contacts Into an iPhone

Updated July 19, 2017

One of the more difficult aspects of purchasing a new cell phone is adding all of your business and personal contacts to the phone. This problem is compounded when contacts are not easily synchronised between the phone and computer. If you use Outlook, this problem can be solved with minimum effort. Use iTunes to import your Outlook contacts into your iPhone and synchronise them so that changes made on the computer will reflect on the iPhone.

Synchronising Contacts

Before attempting to synchronise your contacts, ensure that your installation of Outlook is fully updated. Connect the iPhone to your computer and allow iTunes to launch. If a message appears asking you to download an update for iTunes, do this. After the update is installed and iTunes restarts, click the iPhone icon on the left side of the screen under the "Devices" list. Click the "Info" tab, then put a check in the box labelled "Sync Contacts With." Use the drop-down menu to select "Outlook." Click the radio button labelled "All Contacts" to sync all of your contacts, or the "Selected Groups" button if you only wish to import certain groups such as friends or business associates. Note that your Outlook contacts must be in groups in order for this feature to work. Click "Apply" to import your contacts from Outlook into your iPhone.

Note that your Outlook calendar can be synchronised as well from this screen, and that this process works for synchronising contacts on the iPod Touch as well as the iPhone.

Troubleshooting Synchronization Problems

If you are having difficulty syncing your Outlook contacts into your iPhone, confirm that your Outlook and iTunes installations are fully up to date. If the problem persists, check to make sure that all of your contacts are in Outlook and that no information is missing. Connect your iPhone. In iTunes, click "Edit," then click "Preferences." Under "Devices," click the button labelled "Reset Sync History." Click the icon on the left side of the screen representing the iPhone. Click the "Info" tab, scroll down to the bottom of the screen, and click "Contacts" next to "Replace Information on this iPhone." Click "Apply" to attempt synchronising your iPhone again. This procedure will overwrite the contacts stored on the iPhone with the contacts from Outlook.

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About the Author

Jason Artman has been a technical writer since entering the field in 1999 while attending Michigan State University. Artman has published numerous articles for various websites, covering a diverse array of computer-related topics including hardware, software, games and gadgets.