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How to Convert Excel Spreadsheet to iPhone Contacts?

Published By Mohit Jha
Tej Pratap Shukla
Approved By Tej Pratap Shukla
Published On February 29th, 2024
Reading Time 15 Minutes Reading
Are you an Apple user with a large number of contacts in an Excel spreadsheet? Then you must be wondering, “Can I import contacts from Excel to iPhone?” In other words, you are looking for a smart approach to adding Excel files to your Apple mobile. So if we were able to guess your pain point correctly, allow us to help solve your issue with this writeup. This multi-method tutorial will let you all know the best possible solutions to convert Excel spreadsheet to iPhone contacts.

Microsoft Excel has always been considered a better place to manage a large number of contacts. However, the contact list is always the biggest valuable asset in any business so, it needs to be managed properly. Having a proper track of all contacts everywhere you go has become the topmost requirement of people. Therefore, users mostly query how to import contacts for faster access to them whenever required is answered here.

MS Excel saved everyone when it came to managing large numbers of contacts. Contact information is considered the most valuable asset for any business and must be protected and managed. Keeping track of all your contacts is extremely important these days. It may take a while for the Excel spreadsheet to open. Therefore, users mainly ask questions like how to transfer Excel contacts to iPhone contacts for fast access anywhere and anytime. 

Prerequisite to Convert Excel Spreadsheet to iPhone Contacts Manually

MS Excel stores all contacts either in XLSX or XLS format, which is not supported by any mobile device, including those that run iOS. This is the reason users are looking for methods that let them export contacts from Excel to their iPhones.

Before discussing the proper solution for the same, let me make one thing very clear: there is no direct solution available to do it. To start the manual transfer of contacts from Excel to iPhone, a user first and foremost needs to convert source Excel data to CSV.  So let’s see how it is done: 

  • Open the Excel file >> Click on the File tab.
    Click File
  • Go to the Export Section.
    Click Export
  • Select Change File Type >> Pick the CSV (Comma delimited) option >> Click on the Save As icon.
    Save As CSV
  • Browse for a suitable location >> Type in the file name >> Hit Save.
    Browse and Save

Check the file location to see if the CSV is available. We suggest that you keep it on a pen drive, as we might have to move the CSV between devices. Then, continue with the next part, where we will teach you to use Windows Contacts to bridge the gap between Excel and your iPhone.

Moving Excel Contacts Closer to iPhone – Importing a CSV List to Windows Contacts

  • On a Windows machine press Windows Key + R together to open the Run dialog box >> Type “wab.exe” in the Open search bar >> Hit OK.
  • This takes you to the Windows Contacts screen.
    Windows Contacts screen
  • There you will find the Import option on the top menu bar. Click on it.
    Click on Import option
  • In the Import to Windows Contacts dialog box, go with CSV (Comma Separated Values) and press Import.
    CSV (Comma Separated Values) and press Import
  • It opens a new CSV Import window. This is a critical junction in the task to import Excel to iPhone contacts, so do it as instructed.
    new CSV Import window
  • Browse for the CSV file we created earlier and hit Open.
    Browse for CSV
  • You will automatically go back to the CSV Import window, where you have to press Next to continue.
    go back to the CSV Import window and press Next
  • You see a mapping field with all CSV header files under the Text Field tab.
  • Click on the check box >> Choose a Contact Field >> Press OK.
    Choose a Contact Field
  • Repeat for all Text Fields, once complete hit Finish.
    Repeat for All Contact Fields

Each row in the CSV list will appear as a separate vCard file in Windows Contacts. Our task is not done yet. These files are in Microsoft’s proprietary *.contact format. Which no Apple device can import.

Let alone the iPhone. So to get Apple’s acceptable vCard format, follow the instructions outlined ahead. The best part is that you do not need to close Windows Contacts, as we are going to continue right where we left off.

Exporting Windows Contacts in vCard for Easier Access on Apple Device

  • In Windows Contacts, click on the Export option that you will find just to the right of Import on the same top menu ribbon.
    Export option
  • In the window that pops up, choose the vCards (folders of .vcf files) option and hit Export.
    choose the vCards
  • Then, Browse For Folder where you want to put the vCard files and press OK.
     Browse For Folder
  • You will be notified by a popup alert on your screen.
    Pop up Alert
  • Open the folder and check the VCF files.
    VCF Files

However, we are afraid to tell you that you cannot directly send these vCard items to an Apple device. The multiple VCF files are just part of the problem; the real reason is that these files are in a VCF format (Version 2.1) that Apple and thereby the iPhone do not support. So you hit a roadblock in the task to convert Excel spreadsheet to iPhone contacts.

This also means we have to not only combine all these files but also change their version as well. However, you do not need to worry, as we have a method to bypass this roadblock during the import Excel to iPhone contacts journey.

Manual vCard Version Update for Windows Contact Output 

This change is compulsory to match iPhone standards of contact files.

  • Right-click on the folder path where you have exported the VCF files and copy it.
    Folder Path
  • Then press the Windows Key + R together to launch the Run dialog box. This time, type cmd in the Open search box and click OK.
    Windows Run Box
  • It launches a Windows command prompt instance. Type cd and paste the file path you copied earlier.
    type cd and paste the file path
  • After that, copy the code below and paste it on the next line of the command prompt.
    for /f "tokens=*" %a in ('dir /b /s /a-d *.vcf') do type "%a" >> combined-vcard-file.vcf
    Paste the code
  • To change the version manually, go to the combined-vcard-file.vcf location. Right-click >> Open with >> Notepad (any text editor works fine).
    combined-vcard-file.vcf location
  • Select and copy the line “VERSION:2.1
    Copy Current Version
  • Click on Edit and then Replace (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + H)
    Edit and Replace
  • In the replace box, put the copied text in the space next to the “Find what” tab and type VERSION:3.0 in front of “Replace with”. Then click on the “Replace All” button.
    Replace Version
  • Check and save the changes.
    Copy Version

Instead of manually combining and upgrading, it is better to rely on a professional way of merging vCard files together. The tool present on the other side of the link will help you automate the above process. Once you have the vCard file in Apple’s recommended version, go to Stage 2.

If you are wondering, can I import contacts from Excel to iPhone in another way? Then we are pleased to tell you that there are a couple more workarounds. Without further ado, here is the first one.

Import Excel to iPhone Contacts Using Google Contacts

The first part to import Excel to iPhone contacts is the same as the previous, i.e. Excel to CSV conversion.

  • Log-in to Gmail, click on the bento box menu icon, select Contacts.
    Open Gmail and go to Contacts
  • New accounts, have Import contacts icon in the center of the screen. Users who have an old Google account with prior contacts find the Import feature on the left side pane.
    Import Contacts
  • This opens Import contacts dialog box. We recommend using a Label to avoid mixing these temporary contacts with any existing ones. Then click on Select file.  
    This time, type cmd in the Open search box and click OK.
  • Browse and choose the CSV you made earlier. Then press Open.
    Browse for CSV
  • Return to the Google Contacts page and press Import.
    Click on Import
  • The availability of all contacts on Google marks the completion of an important phase in our task to import Excel to iPhone contacts as a whole.
    All contacts on Google
  • Hover over any contact, mark the checkbox that appears next to it, and then take your cursor to the top of the list. Click on the small arrow and hit the All option in the dropdown.
    Select All Contacts
  • Click on the 3 verticle dots on the right side, which opens yet another dropdown. In there, click on the Export icon.
    Click on Vertical Dots
  • Mark the radio button in front of vCard (iOS contacts) and press Export.
    vCard option
  • Choose a location for the file and hit Save.
    Choose vCard Location
  • A single VCF fill arrives at the location you selected.
    Check vCard
  • You can open the file in a text editor to verify its version.

It is better than Windows Contacts as it gives a single VCF that can be directly imported into the Apple device. However, we still need to convert Excel data into CSV format. Speaking of CSV, there is a direct method to add CSV contacts to an Apple product. Let’s see what it is and why we were hesitant to reveal it.

Steps to Update iPhone Contacts by Adding Excel Data Indirectly

We want to clarify that there is still no silver bullet that directly morphs your Excel file into the iPhone contact list. However, the same can’t be said for a CSV file. Let’s see why. Open a Mac and have your CSV ready. Use the same method we talked about in Windows contacts and Google contacts workarounds. 

Open Sheet > Click File > Export > Change File Type > CSV > Save As > Browse > Save.

  • Once you have the CSV do the following
  • Launch the Contacts app on your Mac.
  • Go to the File menu and click Import.
  • Choose the CSV file.
  • Hit Open and import the contacts.

The real power of the Apple ecosystem will be visible. All contacts you add on your Mac automatically sync with your iPhone. We hope you were able to import Excel to iPhone contacts in this way. However, there are quite a few hidden problems that may prop up and prevent you from adding the Excel Address book on an Apple phone. They are:
Device sync is disabled on your Mac, iPhone, or both.
Devices are configured with different Apple IDs.
Character encoding mismatch between CSV and the Apple Contacts app.

Even when the transfer seems to have taken place successfully and contacts are synced, users may find that some contact numbers are missing digits. Excel is notorious for removing leading zeros from numbers.

CSV is a more general-purpose file format; using it to keep critical contacts is not a smart decision. All these reasons together put us back on the same problem. vCard is still the most robust way of adding contacts on Apple devices. Since the real issue is the absence of the vCard export mechanism in Excel, we propose a solution that solves this exact issue.

Professional Software to Convert Excel Spreadsheet to iPhone Contacts

To avoid all such limitations, a user is suggested to take the help of some professional solution. The tool to transfer Excel contacts to iPhone is the Best Excel Contacts to VCF Converter Tool for Windows is an amazing application to import phone numbers from Excel to iPhone. It will easily convert your Excel contacts to iPhone in no time. The tool is tested with 40,000+ contacts and works perfectly so, the number of contacts can be converted limitation.

Moreover, the three different vCard versions (v2.1., v3.0., v4.0.) offered by the tool, a user can choose any of them for final output. A user is allowed to create a single VCF file also for all contacts. By default, the software will create a separate VCF file for each contact during the process to convert the Excel spreadsheet to iPhone contacts.

Also Read: How to Convert Excel Contact List to CSV

How to Convert Excel Spreadsheet to iPhone Contacts Via Tool?

The process of importing contacts from an Excel spreadsheet to your iPhone using the automated tool follow the easy steps given below:

  • Download the wizard and click on the Browse button to navigate to the files

Browse Excel file to convert Excel spreadsheet to iPhone contacts

  • Select the files and click on the Open button. The tool will start scanning the data. Hit Next once done

Open Excel files

  • Match the Excel Fields with the vCard Fields, press Add and click on the Next button

Mapping options

  • Mark the options as per your convenience and choose the vCard version

Select vCard version

  • Click on the Change option to set a destination path and hit Convert button.

Click on convert button to save converted Excel spreadsheet to iPhone contacts

You will see that your data files containing the contacts have been converted and exported as VCF files carefully on your decided location. Now, to import these to the iPhone, go through the next segment.

Import Results to iPhone via iCloud

After receiving iCloud-supported vCard, a user is suggested to import contacts from Excel to iPhone using iCloud by following the steps given below:

  1. Firstly, you have to log in to your iCloud account
  2. Next, click on the Contacts option from the home page
  3. After that, go to the Gear icon and choose the Import vCard option
  4. Then, you can Browse the exported vCard and click the Open button to import it
  5. Now, go to the destination location of the resultant .vcf file and verify that it is imported successfully
  6. After that, go to the Settings app on your iPhone
  7. Choose your name and your iCloud account
  8. After that, you need to Turn on Contacts and click on the Merge option to import contacts from the Excel spreadsheet to your iPhone.

Transfer Contacts from Excel to iPhone Without iCloud

This method is especially for users who don’t want to use iCloud to upload contacts to their iPhone from Excel. Follow the easy steps below to import contacts to iPhone from Excel using a converted vCard file:

Step-1. First, connect your iPad or iPhone to your Mac and launch the iTunes application. The device icon will eventually show up in the top-left corner of the screen.

Step-2. As soon as your connected device appears in iTunes, click the device button, and then click file sharing on the panel to the side.

Step-3. You must choose the vCArd/VCF file in order to import contacts to your iPhone. Next, select Add in iTunes numbers documents list, and the spreadsheet document will be available.

Step-4. In the home screen click File >> browse, then click the last tap on my iPhone.

Step-5. Finally, open the imported document on your iPhone. To import Excel contacts to your iPhone

Step-6. Click the numbers folder, and then the process to add contacts from Excel to iPhone will begin.


Contacts maintained in an Excel spreadsheet are really important for users. Therefore, they always want to store them on their phonebook also. This is the reason, the blog will provide you with a complete and foolproof solution to convert Excel spreadsheets to iPhone contacts. It is one of the best ways to import Excel files to iPhone contacts and can be used by any user without any hassle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Q-1. If I convert Excel spreadsheet to iPhone contacts does that delete any existing contacts on my phone?
Ans. No, using the mentioned tool in this blog won’t delete your existing contacts. However, ensure you follow the steps carefully and always make a backup before performing any major data operations.

Q-2. Can I convert contacts from other platforms, like Google or Outlook, to iPhone using the same method?
Ans. Yes, the process is similar. Export your contacts from the respective platform in CSV format and convert them by using the tool mentioned in our blog and follow the steps mentioned earlier for importing contacts to your iPhone through iCloud or without iCloud.

Q-3. Is there a limit to the number of contacts I can import to my iPhone using this method?
Ans. While there is no strict limit, it’s advisable to manage contacts in reasonable batches to avoid potential synchronization issues. If you have a large or multiple contact list, you can easily batch-convert it to vCard by using the Excel file converter tool.

Q-4. Can I convert Excel files with images or special formatting to iPhone contacts?
Ans. The iPhone Contacts app primarily supports basic contact information such as names, numbers, and emails. Any special formatting or images in your Excel file may not be saved during the process of importing Excel contacts to your iPhone.  


By Mohit Jha

Mohit is a Microsoft-certified expert who has assisted thousands of clients with Outlook & Microsoft Office 365 issues. He enjoys writing on email clients as well as data migration. He is always excited about giving troubled readers the most up-to-date knowledge, explanation, and refinements.