Microsoft Outlook still holds a firm position in the top 3 email clients of 2023. The service is great for managing emails, calendars and contacts across a number of devices.
If you have important contacts stored in Outlook, you may find that you need to access them on other devices which may or may not have access to your Outlook account. We created this article to guide you through the easiest and most efficient methods to access your Outlook contacts exactly where you need them.
Here are the five contact transfer methods reviewed:
- Sync contacts using the Outlook app on iPhone
- Sync using an Exchange account on iPhone
- iTunes method for contact syncing
- iCloud method for contact syncing
- Copy contacts from iPhone to Outlook without syncing
1. Sync contacts using the Outlook app on iPhone
For those who need to use Outlook on the go, the Outlook app for iOS is essential if you use an iPhone or iPad. If you've not yet got it, you can download Outlook for iPhone here.
Signing in with your Outlook account allows you to manage your email, calendar and contacts from within the Outlook app. For the purpose of this guide, you can also sync your Outlook contacts from your Outlook account to your iPhone using the app alone!
First of all, if you'd like to have access to your Outlook contacts on all your iOS devices (rather than only on your iPhone), ensure that iCloud is set to be your default account. To do this, on your iPhone, go to
Settings > Contacts > set the Default Account to 'iCloud'.
Here's how to sync Outlook contacts to your iPhone...
- Open the Outlook app on your iPhone.
- Tap your profile icon in the top-left corner of the screen. Then tap Settings (the gear icon).
- Select your Outlook account.
- Next to "Save Contacts", toggle the slider to the ON position.
- You'll receive a message asking if you'd like to save your Outlook contacts to your iPhone. Ensure your iPhone is plugged into to power, then tap "Save to my iPhone".
You'll now be able to see your Outlook contacts in the Contacts app on your iPhone!
2. Sync contacts using an Exchange account on iPhone
If you don't use the Outlook app on your iPhone, you may have your Outlook account set up on the iPhone itself. This is especially likely if your Outlook emails get delivered to the Mail app on your iPhone.
To use this method, your Outlook/Office365 account must have Exchange enabled - this is because the contacts you need will be stored on the Exchange server. (Need help setting up an Exchange account on your iPhone?)
Here's how to sync contacts from a Microsoft Exchange account with your iPhone...
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone, scroll down and tap Contacts.
- Select your Outlook/Office365 account with Exchange enabled.
- Tap Contacts to turn on Contacts syncing from the Exchange server to your iPhone.
Make sure that you maintain a Wi-Fi connection, and after some time your Outlook contacts will show in your default iPhone Contacts app.
If you like to keep the contacts from your different accounts separate, in the Contacts app, tap "Groups" in the top-left corner of your screen. Here you can select the account or accounts that you wish to view the contacts from. Ensure that only your Outlook account is ticked, then tap "Done" to show only your Outlook contacts.
3. Sync Outlook contacts with iPhone using iTunes
iTunes was once the place to go to sync Contacts from your computer to your iPhone. However, recent developments in Apple's ecosystem have since seen a shift from iTunes to iCloud.
You can still use this method to sync your contacts for now, however you'll see a message that the feature has been depreciated and will no longer be available in future versions of iTunes. For a future-proof way to sync your contacts (as recommended by Apple), skip to using iCloud.
To sync contacts using iTunes, you'll first need to ensure that your contacts aren't already set to sync with iCloud. To do this, on your iPhone go to
Settings > Contacts > Accounts > iCloud > iCloud > if Contacts is turned on, tap it turn off iCloud Contacts.
The iPhone will ask if you'd like to keep contacts previously synced via iCloud on your iPhone, or delete them.
Here's how to sync Outlook contacts with iPhone using iTunes...
- Open iTunes on your PC.
- Connect your iPhone via USB cable, then click your iPhone device icon in iTunes.
- From the navigation bar on the left, please select "Info". Then click the tickbox next to "Sync Contacts with...".
- Here, you'll be advised that syncing contacts and calendars will be removed in a future version of iTunes. Click OK.
- Using the dropdown box next to "Sync Contacts with", choose Outlook.
- If you receive a message asking whether you'd like to switch syncing with Outlook, click Switch.
- Finally, click the Apply button, then the Done button to initiate the sync!
4. Sync Outlook contacts with iPhone using iCloud
As mentioned in the method above, the ability to sync contacts with iTunes will soon be removed from the program. In preparation for this occurrence, Apple suggests using iCloud to sync Contacts and Calendars with your iOS devices.
To get started syncing Contacts over iCloud, you'll first need to turn on iCloud Contacts on your iPhone. To do this, open
Settings > Contacts > Accounts > iCloud > iCloud > Tap to turn on Contacts.
Now let's take a look at how to sync contacts between Outlook and iPhone using iCloud...
- Download iCloud for Windows and install it on your PC or laptop.
- Launch the iCloud app on your computer and sign in with your Apple ID and password.
- Next, Ensure that "Mail, Contacts and Calendars" is checked, then click Apply to begin Syncing those items with your iCloud account.
- Once complete, your Outlook contacts should be available in the Contacts app on any iOS device on which you are signed in with your Apple ID (as well as Email and Calendars being synced as well).
5. Copy contacts from iPhone to Outlook without syncing
If you are wary of syncing information from device to device or from service to service you are not alone. Many of the methods in this guide are great at syncing your data, but you have little to no control over what is actually synced (e.g. you entire contacts list if syncing with iTunes, or Contacts, Calendar AND emails with iCloud).
Some people prefer to have full control over their data and wish to see exactly what contacts they are transferring.
Using the popular app 'TouchCopy ' you can access your iPhone content locally on your PC or Mac (rather than syncing using the internet). You can then choose exactly what content you wish to copy from your iOS device to your computer.
Although TouchCopy can copy any content including Messages, Music, Photos and Calendars, for the purpose of this guide, let's see how to copy contacts from iPhone to Outlook on PC...
- Download and install TouchCopy on your computer.
- Launch TouchCopy and connect your iPhone with your USB cable.
- Open the Contacts section in TouchCopy, and select the contacts you wish to copy to Outlook.
- Click "Copy to Outlook".
Find out more about all the features available in the TouchCopy user guide.
Thanks for reading!
Wide Angle Software