Move Your Contacts From One Apple ID To Another

transfer contacts to icloud

A few days back, a friend of mine finally saw the light and converted to an iPhone.  Having been a slight iTunes user in the past, he had an Apple ID using an old Yahoo email.  He had no music attached to his account and had only downloaded a few FREE apps that he was not worried about replacing.

The first thing that came to my mind was, “Switch it to a @me.com Apple ID!”  There were a few reasons for this.  Firstly, he had mentioned that he never checks his Yahoo account due to the amount of SPAM he was getting.  Second, he would lose nothing but some easily replaceable apps by switching his Apple ID.  Third, me.com email pushes to your phone quickly and efficiently unlike his Yahoo account which only downloads mail when he checks his mail.

However, he was worried about losing all of his contacts that had been moved to his new iPhone, as any of us would be.  So, after a few minutes of digging around, here is what I found.

WARNING:  Taking these steps is not recommended for anyone who has purchased music, apps, or books through iTunes.  When you begin using your new Apple ID you will lose access to all the music, apps, and books you have purchased using your old Apple ID.

Set Up Your New Apple ID

First thing first.  Setup your new Apple ID.  I like keeping mine nice and short if possible.  I typically recommend “First Initial” “Middle Initial” “Last Name”.  Not only does this help keep things short, but it also looks more professional then “hillbilly_24@whatever.com” when you need to put your email address on something important like an employment application.

Export Your Contacts

The next thing to do is go to your current iCloud account and log in with your old account credentials.  Once logged in, click on “Contacts”.  Then select all of your contacts.  This can be done with the keyboard shortcut of COMMAND A (Mac) or CONTROL A (PC).  With all of your contacts selected, click on the Gear Icon at the bottom left of the page and select “Export vCard”.  A box will pop up asking what you want to do with the export.  Select the “Save” option for your operating system and click “OK”.

NOTE:  Depending on your computer’s operating system (OS) you may not have a choice as to where the file gets saved.  Both my Mac and PC save the file into the “Downloads” folder.  If you are having trouble finding the file, do a system search for the extension “.vcf”.  Or you can search for the name of the file which was in the pop up that asked what you wanted to do with the file.  It will be similar to “AAA Travel and 361 others.vcf” which is what mine was titled.

Import Your Contacts

Once you know where your .VCF file is located, log out of your old iCloud account and then log back in using the Apple ID you just created.  Go into you new “Contacts” and click on the Gear Icon again.  Select “Import vCard”.  Use the window that pops up to navigate to the .VCF file that you just exported and click “Open” or “OK”.

Verify Your Contacts Are There

Once your contacts load into your new iCloud account, you need to verify that they are whole.  Check several of your contacts (or all if there aren’t that many) to make sure everything imported properly.  If everything looks as it should, go to your iPhone and sign in to your new iCloud account. (Settings > iCloud > Account).  Once you have signed in, give it some time to sync.  This should not take too long as all the information is the same.

Test It

Create a test contact in your phone (we’ll call it Test1) and save it.  Then create a test contact in your iCloud account (Test2).  Make sure these two test contacts sync properly.  I have found that “the Cloud” can take anywhere from less then a minute to several minutes to sync, so give it some time.  If everything checks out, which it should, then congratulations!  If you are having problems then leave me a comment so I can help you out.  Also, leaving a comment will help others that may have the same problem as you.

Switch The Rest

On your iPhone, go to Settings > Store.  Sign out of your old account and sign in with your new one.  You will need to agree to Apple’s Terms of Service Agreement again and enter your credit card information for the new account.  Do the same for your iPad.  Then get onto iTunes on your Mac or PC and sign in there as well.

Delete Your Old Account

Well, not exactly.  Because you can’t.  You can only stop using it.  This information is current as of the writing of this post.  If I am wrong please let me know in the comments.

Happy iOSing.

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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • DAVID June 13, 2013, 10:34 AM

    This seems correct, except it may be a good idea to keep using the old Apple ID for your purchases, and use the new one for personal information such as contacts, calendar, email, notes, games, and so on. The reason for this is that you can share purchases with 5 devices, yet it is also important to have separate Apple IDs for your personal information so that your 4 family members do not necessarily have easy access to your personal info by virtue of having your password.

    Reply
    • Ryan June 15, 2013, 10:23 AM

      Thanks for the comment David. I agree. If you have an established Apple ID that is associated with a lot of purchases then keep it. That is what I am doing. The article is aimed at those who are new to the Apple ID so they do not end up with multiple ID’s like us.

      Reply
  • Guy September 1, 2013, 2:11 PM

    This is great. But what if you want to export your calendar as well into the new account?

    Reply
    • Ryan September 6, 2013, 3:15 AM

      That’s a good question. I’m not sure exactly how it would work. But I would try sharing those calendars with the new email address and giving the new email address full access to add, rewrite, and delete entries.

      Reply

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