iPhones are usually pretty good about keeping your contacts up to date across your devices and applications. But sometimes, due to incorrect permissions settings or general bugs, your contacts list on Outlook might stop synchronizing with your phone. If you’re having trouble keeping the contacts on your Outlook account synced with your iPhone, here are a few workarounds you can try to sync Outlook contact lists with iPhone.
Update Contacts with iTunes
Apple iTunes isn’t just a music player but a great tool to manage and store data from your iOS device. In addition to safely storing your apps, music, and photos, iTunes makes it easy for you to update and transfer information, like your contacts, to your devices.
1. Launch iTunes. Make sure you’ve updated iTunes to the most recent version to ensure that you don’t run into any issues during the syncing process.
2. Click the iPhone icon to access your device’s summary.
3. Choose “Info” from the Settings list, click the checkbox for “Sync Contacts with,” and choose Outlook from the dropdown list.
4. Click “Apply” to allow iTunes to sync your Outlook contacts the next time you sync your iPhone with iTunes.
Sync Contacts with iCloud
If you don’t want to use iTunes, or, for some reason, syncing with iTunes doesn’t solve your issue, try syncing your Outlook contacts using Apple’s online storage iCloud.
1. Launch the iCloud desktop application.
2. Check the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks” box, and then click “Apply.”
Using iCloud is one of the fastest ways to sync your contacts, but it doesn’t give you the option to sync only your contacts to the cloud. Only use this method if you don’t mind uploading your mail, calendars, tasks, and contacts data to iCloud storage.
Transfer Contacts Over Email
Although the process is a little lengthy, you can also transfer contacts from Outlook to your iPhone using email. You’ll need to export your Outlook contact list as a comma-separated values (CSV) file first. CSV files store data that you find in tables like spreadsheets, and information in these files usually appears as text or values separated by commas.
1. From the desktop Outlook application, Click “File -> Open & Export -> Import/Export” to launch the “Import and Export” wizard.
2. Select “Export to a file -> Next -> Comma Separated Values -> Next,” and choose the folder with the contacts you want to export.
3. Click “Next,” then name your CSV file, and choose where you want to save it. When you’re done, click “Next” and then “Finish.”
4. Once Outlook generates the CSV file, compose a new email and upload the file as an attachment. Then, send the message to an email address that’s connected to your iPhone.
5. Open the email on your phone, tap the attachment, and follow the prompts until your phone gives you the option to “Add All Contacts.”
Note that emailing contacts as CSV files doesn’t work on some iOS devices. You can see a preview of the CSV file, but your phone won’t prompt you to add them as contacts.
Import Contacts as vCards
Another way to ensure that your Outlook contacts are synced with your iPhone is to convert them into electronic business cards or vCards, which usually appear at the end of emails in place of a signature. You can view vCards on any version of Outlook, but you can only create them using the desktop application.
1. In Outlook, click on the “People” icon and choose “Contacts.”
2. Select a contact that you want to sync, and then click “File -> Save As.”
3. In the “Save as type” field, select “vCard Files.”
4. Choose the directory where you want to save the vCard, name the file, and click Save.
5. Go to iCloud.com and sign into your account.
6. Click the “Settings” icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen, choose “Import vCard,” select the vCard that you saved, and click “Import.”
iCloud adds your new contact to the “All Contacts” folder. If you import a vCard with information for two or more people, it separates them into individual entries. This method isn’t automatic, so you’ll have to create and import a new vCard each time you add a new contact in Outlook.
Although there are ways to sync Outlook contact lists with iPhone, the solutions aren’t always foolproof. You may run into problems syncing your contacts over the cloud if you haven’t given iCloud permission to access Outlook. However, some users reportedly have issues syncing contacts even after giving iCloud access. Moreover, emailing and importing contacts as CSV files doesn’t always work.
Apple offers some tips on how to solve this problem, such as editing the CSV file to remove empty rows and white space between contacts, but it’s unclear whether or not this actually helps. Ultimately, your best bet to beat a contacts syncing issue is to transfer them over iTunes or import them as vCards using iCloud. If none of the methods work for you, contact Apple and Microsoft support for further assistance.