How to view contacts in iTunes

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You need access to your iPhone’s address book but you don’t currently have your phone handy. So you thought about turning on your PC and view contacts in iTunes. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t what you expected, since iTunes, despite being the program with which iPhone data is synchronized to the computer, does not allow direct access to the contacts in the address book.

Well yes! Contacts from iPhone and other Apple devices are saved in iTunes backups, but these are only accessible through third-party applications. They can also be synchronized online in iCloud and in the applications that manage the address book on Windows and macOS (respectively, Microsoft Outlook and Apple Contacts). With iTunes, therefore, you can save contacts on your computer as a backup but not view them directly.

If you want to solve the problem and access your “iPhone by” address book from your computer, you need to resort to alternative solutions, which I will be able to explain to you below: choose the one that seems most suitable to your needs and use it immediately following my instructions. I assure you that the result will not disappoint you.

How to view contacts in iTunes backups


If you want to take advantage of the iTunes backups to view iPhone contacts on your computer, you have to rely (as already mentioned in the introduction of this post) on third-party applications. I personally recommend you iMazing: a software to browse the memory of iOS devices, exchange files between iOS and computer, create backups of Apple mobile devices and easily access iTunes backups.

iMazing is paid (it has prices starting from 39.99 euros) but is available in a free trial version that allows you to view the contacts stored in iTunes backups without problems and to export up to 10 contacts to your computer. It is compatible with both Windows and macOS.

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To get the free version of iMazing, connected to the official website of the program and click on the button Free download. Once the download is complete, if you use a Windows PCsopen the .exe file obtained and, in the window that opens, first click on the button Yup and then on to that Come on.

Then put a check mark next to the item I accept the terms of the license agreement and complete the setup by clicking on the buttons in sequence Come on (for three consecutive times), Install And end. During the process, some files will be downloaded from the Internet, so please be patient and wait for the completion bar to reach 100%.

Installing iMazing Windows

If you use a MacInstead, open the package .dmg obtained, click on the button Agree and drag the icon of iMazing in the folder Applications of macOS, in order to install the program on your computer.

Install iMazing macOS

Now you just have to start iMazing and access your iTunes backups. If you use Windows and the first time you start the software you are asked to download some additional drivers, accept, since they are essential components for the correct functioning of the program. If you use a Mac instead, click on the button You open to bypass macOS restrictions on applications from uncertified developers.

To access iTunes backups, click on the button Later of iMazing (in order to decline the invitation to purchase the paid version of the software), select the first item relating to your iPhones from the menu with i previous backups located in the left sidebar (it should be the one concerning the most recent iTunes backup) and click on the icon Contactsaccessible from the central part of the iMazing window or always from the program sidebar.

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You will thus be given access to the complete list of contacts present in the iTunes backup: to view the email address, telephone number and other details of a specific contact, all you have to do is click on his nominative. To export it, however, you have to click on its name and then on a button to choose from Export to vCard And Export to CSV (depending on the format in which you prefer to export).

If you are unable to access an iTunes backup, check that it is not encrypted (it must have been created without placing a check next to the box Encrypt iPhone backups in iTunes). More info here.

If, on the other hand, you experience problems using iMazing, you can contact iExplorea software very similar to iMazing, also available for Windows and macOS, which I told you about in depth in my tutorial on how to transfer files from PC to iPhone.

Alternative methods to view iPhone contacts

Does extracting contacts from iTunes backup seem a bit too cumbersome to do? You’re right, that’s right, and that’s why I now want to suggest alternative methods, certainly more comfortable, to access iPhone contacts from your computer.

iCloud (Web)

iOS Settings

By default, iPhone syncs address book contacts with the iCloud account set up on the device. To check if the synchronization of the address book with iCloud has been activated on your “iPhone by”, go to the menu Settings (L’gear icon on the home screen) and check if your name is on the screen that opens: if the answer is negative, tap the link to log in to iPhone and sign in with your Apple ID information. If you don’t have an Apple ID yet, create it by pressing on the appropriate item and following my guide dedicated to the subject.

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At this point, tap on Your name present in the iOS settings menu, then press on the item iCloud present in the screen that opens and checks if the lever relating to the Contacts is moved up ON: if not, move it yourself (so that it turns green). By doing so, the iPhone will automatically synchronize the contacts with iCloud, whose address book is accessible from the Web and automatically synchronizes with Outlook on Windows (after installing the iCloud client for the Microsoft home operating system) and with the application Contacts of macOS.

Now, to view your iPhone contacts via the web version of iCloud, open the browser you usually use to surf the Internet from your computer (eg. Safari or Chrome), connected to the iCloud website and log in to the service using your Apple ID data (the same you used to associate your “iPhone” to iCloud). After that, click on the icon Contacts and you will be shown the list of all synced contacts from the iPhone.

iCloud Contacts

If you want, you can also add new contacts to the address book by clicking on the button + located at the bottom right, and export the selected contacts as a vCard file, by clicking on the icongear located at the bottom left and selecting the item vCard export from the menu that appears.

Google Contacts (Web)

Google Contacts

If you have decided to sync your iPhone address book with Gmail instead of with iCloud (more details on this procedure are available in my tutorial on how to sync iPhone contacts with Gmail), you can access them by visiting the Google Contacts site and logging in with your Gmail account details (the same configured on the ” iPhone phone”).

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You will be presented with a list of all the contacts saved in your online account and, if necessary, you can also create new ones by clicking on the button Create contact located at the top of the left sidebar, or download them to your computer by selecting the items More > Export from the side menu. More details on how to export contacts from Gmail are available in my guide dedicated to the subject.

Microsoft Outlook (Windows)

iCloud for Windows

If you’ve turned on syncing your iPhone contacts to iCloud and you’re using a Windows PCsyou can have your “iPhone by” address book automatically synchronized with Microsoft Outlook.

To achieve this, you need to get the iCloud client for Windows, which allows you to synchronize documents, photos, bookmarks and contacts between iCloud and the Microsoft operating system. Connect, therefore, to this page of the Apple website and click on the button Download.

Once the download is complete, open the .exe file obtained, put the check mark next to the item I accept the terms of the license agreement and complete the setup by first clicking on Install and then up Yup And end. Wait for Windows to restart and log in to your Apple ID within the iCloud client (which should open automatically). Once this is done, put the check mark next to the item Mail, contacts, calendars and tasks and iCloud address book will automatically sync with Outlook.

If some steps are not clear to you and/or you want more information on how to use iCloud, please refer to my tutorial dedicated to the subject.

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Contacts (macOS)

macOS Contacts

If you use a Macthe default application iCloud syncs iPhone contacts with is Contacts: you can find it on the first page of the launchpadlooking for it in Spotlight or calling it aloud in Siri.

For iCloud contacts to be automatically synchronized with the application Contacts of macOS, the appropriate function must be active in the System Preferences. So log in to System Preferences (the gear icon on the Dock bar), click on the item iCloud in the window that opens and first check that your Mac is associated with the same Apple ID as the iPhone: if not, fix it right away.

At this point, check if there is a check mark next to the entry Contacts and, in case of negative answer, you put it: in this way, your Mac will begin to synchronize contacts with iCloud. Easier than that?

My Contacts Backup (iOS)

My ContactsBackup

If you don’t want to synchronize your iPhone address book online, you can install the My Contacts Backup application for iOS, which allows you to export all contacts on the device in the form of CSV or VCF files for free (up to 500 contacts, after which you have to buy the full version of the app for 2.29 euros).

The files exported from the app can then be sent via email or imported into other applications, so as to be copied to the computer and used in the most diverse Web Mail programs and services: I told you about the whole procedure in more detail in my tutorial on how to save the iPhone address book.

Note: even if in the tutorial I spoke exclusively of the iPhone, all the procedures illustrated can also be implemented to access the iPad address book.

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