Sync and import contacts on iPad


You can use iTunes to easily sync your contacts from your computer, Google or Yahoo.

  1. To get started, plug your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch into you computer and open iTunes.
  2. Select the device on the left under “Devices”.
  3. Click on the “Info” tab at the top.
  4. Check “Sync Contacts”.
  5. Select where you want sync your contacts from (Windows, Google or Yahoo).
  6. Now, you can choose to sync all contacts or selected groups. See how to create groups at the bottom of the page.
  7. Sync your device.

The steps are the same on a Mac or PC. As you can see from the Mac screenshot below, when you select Google or Yahoo you will be prompted for your account information.

Once iCloud is released with iOS 5 you will be able to sync your contacts, mail, calendars, reminders, bookmarks,notes and photos to iCloud then to all your iOS devices and to your Mac or PC.

iOS 5 is expected to be released this fall.

You can also create and edit contacts in the Contacts app on your iPad.
Here you can put a photo to a name so you can find someone fast.

Add an email address and send a message with a tap. Set a reminder that’s saved to your calendar or add notes, important dates, a Twitter username, birthday and much more.

The contact information you add or edit will be synced back to your computer the next time you sync with iTunes. This will keep your contact information consistent with all of your iOS devices and your computer.

Note: If you want to create contact groups (family, work, etc.) you will need to do so on your computer, then the groups can be synced to your iDevice.

How to create groups on Windows.

How to create groups on a Mac.

You can also create groups with Google or Yahoo if you are using one of them to import your contacts.

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  • Leslie

    I still cannot figure out how to do this. I use my iPad for personal but want to import my contacts from my iPhone to my iPad. The contacts on my iPhone are not part of windows, google or yahoo so no clue how to get them off my iPhone into iTunes to my ipad

  • Phil


    For right now, you will need to sync your iPhone contacts to your computer (Windows address book or outlook express), google or Yahoo. After they are stored in one of those places, you can sync your iPad and they should appear on your tablet.

    However, iCloud is going to make this easier for you. When iOS 5 is released, your contacts will sync to iCloud and to all of your iOS devices. iCloud has a web app that runs in your browser on your computer that acts almost identical to the Contacts application on a Mac.


  • Dianne Tayles

    I have been struggling with this and visited the local Apple store, where a “genius” told me that I could not sync with yahoo contacts and had to move to gmail instead, I didn’t understand why and didn’t believe her.

    I followed your instructions above and it has worked perfectly. Thank you.

  • Heather

    I’m going to be setting this up for my boss, putting his contacts and calendar from Microsoft Outlook onto his iPad. With the instructions posted above, it shouldn’t be too hard… Just wanted to know will I have the option to select the contacts & calendar from Outlook, or do I need to some how get the contacts into iTunes before plugging the iPad in?
    Thanks for any help you can provide!!

  • Cary

    This is perplexing. I upgraded to Lion, and set up iCloud. Got a new iPhone 4s. I have thousands of work contacts in my mac address book on my computer, and only want to download one group of friends as contacts for my iPhone. How do I do this? Every way I try it, it brings all the contacts to my phone instead of just the group I want.

    Can iCloud do this? Or is there a work-around, if not?

  • Phil


    After you have created Groups in your Address Book, you can plug your iPad into your computer, open iTunes, and select the iPad under Devices on the left. Then go to Info at the top, and instead of selecting “All Contacts” click “Selected Groups” and select the groups you want to sync. After you sync you should have only the groups you chose in iTunes.

    If all of your contacts continue to show up after only selecting certain groups in iTunes, it may be iCloud causing all of them to show up on your iPad. You can go to Settings-> iCloud and turn off Contacts on your iPad. Sync your iPad again to remove to contacts.

  • Rebecca

    Your explanations seem to be more clear than others I have found. Perhaps you can help me, too.

    I have three scenarios – if I can do them all – great. If not, Scenario #1 is the priority:

    Scenario 1: Windows 7 Outlook to IPAD to Bento for IPAD.
    I did the direct computer to IPAD sync of Contacts only. IPAD Contacts file looks empty – 0 records. Bento Address Book says it has 4631 records, but when I touch for detail, it shows 0 records. In addition – I never did any mapping, so even if the 4631 records are there, what about my ‘user defined fields’ in Outlook? Where do I begin to map fields? Doesn’t that need to be done before syncing?

    Scenario 2 – Windows XP Outlook to IPAD to Bento for IPAD. IF I can get Scenario 1 to work, I’d love to add my contacts from a different Windows computer and its Outlook file…but I don’t want Scenario 2 contacts to be intermingled with Scenario 1′s group of contacts. Need to map these as well.

    Scenario 3 – IPAD to Windows XP – I’d love to have Scenario 1 contacts to be synched back to the XP Outlook, still in a separate group.

  • Tom

    I’ve had my ipad for a couple of weeks and my iphone4s for 3 days. I was trying to get my contacts transferred to my new phone but the Apple store nor ATT could help me. My son sent me your link and I have spent 2 days updating and revising my contacts in outlook. After I was ready to transfer my contacts to the ipad, I used your directions and had them all transferred in about 4 or 5 minutes. Then I hooked my iphone to my computer and had all the contacts in my iphone in about 3 minutes.
    Can’t thank you enough for the great directions – worked like a charm.

  • Mark

    I have successfully sync’ed my Outlook contacts from my PC to the iPad. However, not all fields came across. Most disturbing was that the E-mail field did not come across. Any suggestions?

  • Carl

    I must echo what others have said: your instructions were great! I was having so much trouble getting my contacts’ street addresses, etc to sync. All you could get was emails. Not even phone numbers! I followed your steps outlined using iTunes & it worked like a charm. Many thanks!

  • Juany

    I have an icloud account and an ipad2. My contacts have been imported from google into my contact folder but they aren’t in the icloud folder, they are in a google folder. So when I trybto use imessages the contacts aren’t recognized unless they are in icloud. Contacts are not appearing in the icloud folder unless I manually enter them in that folder. HELP!

  • Kevin Flatley

    I have synched my live mail contacts with my IPAD 3rd gen.m an can send e-mails but my contacts file is empty so I can’t see my entries. Suggestions?

  • Dan W

    Yahoo is not an option. Only Google or Windows? What’s up with that.

  • Alvin

    I tried to import my Outlook contact from my PC to my iPad for several hours without success. The iPad would say it sync\’s with the iCloud and I could not get the check box in iTunes that I was told to check off.

    Finally, I realized I had to DELETE my existing iPad Contact List to get the instructions for synchronizing with Outlook, Google, contact lists to work. Go to your iPad and >Settings > iCloud and turn your Contacts OFF.
    Then tap \”Delete from my iPad\”. Keep a backup of course.
    Once my iPad Contact List was DELETED, I saw the check box in iTunes for the Contact List to synchronize. What a relief.

    Knowing what button to press is all it took. I hope this helps someone else.