Merging contacts from two devices into iCloud | iLounge Article


Merging contacts from two devices into iCloud

Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

Q: My wife and I each have iPhones and I’m worried about losing contacts from one or the other when I enable iCloud. How does the syncing work? For example, if we have the same names in our contacts list, but the information is different (mine is not as complete, for example), then is there the chance that information will be lost when they are synched? Or, is is strictly an additive type sync?

- David

A: iOS 5 will do its best to prevent data loss. Merging two different contact lists into a single iCloud account will try to match up what contacts it can and merge the information, but more commonly you will simply end up with duplicate contacts where the information cannot be reconciled. You will then have to go through your contact list later and resolve these yourself. If you’re using Mac OS X, the built-in Address Book application provides a feature for manually merging address book cards, allowing you to review each as you go through the process.

You may want to consider simply setting up each device for its own iCloud account. You and your wife can then store your own contacts, calendars and other data separately, If you want to share some features of iCloud (e.g. Photo Stream), you can do this by setting up a third iCloud account to share that data, or simply having one of you share the other’s account for common information while using a separate account for personal info. You can even enable contacts on more than one iCloud account on your device to access and sync contacts from both accounts—the Contacts app will provide a unified contact view for any contacts that exist in both accounts, displaying them as a single contact with combined information from both.

The only thing to keep in mind here is that only the primary iCloud account on each device can be used for Photo Stream, Documents & Data and iCloud Backups, so if you want to share any one of these features, you’ll end up having to share all of them. However, the other iCloud services such as Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Bookmarks, Notes and Find My iPhone can be disabled for the primary account and then configured in a secondary iCloud account. Our recent article on the Secrets and Features of iCloud discussed how this works in more detail.


The most asked question at

How do I copy content from my iPod/iPhone onto my computer?

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, Apple TV and iPhone Video Formats

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Mac)

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Win)

Best Speakers?

Best Headphones?

Best Case?

Best In-Car Solution?

Best Battery Extender?

Find more answers in the latest publications in our Library. Free downloads developed by the editors of iLounge!

Ask iLounge Archives:

1-24-14: Viewing only downloaded iTunes Match tracks

1-22-14: Splitting purchased content between two iPads

12-13-13: Non-Bluetooth Lightning dock speakers

12-11-13: Shared Apple ID and switching away from iPhone

12-6-13: Syncing multiple iCloud data with a family Mac

Read more recent Ask iLounge articles...

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

« Using iCloud’s Find My iPhone on older devices

iPhone + iPad Gems: Cards, Find My Friends, iTunes Movie Trailers, AirPort Utility »

Related Stories


If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2014 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy