Posted on 11 November 2014


There are a few options to save and sync contacts between devices and iphone:

  • apple icloud
  • microsoft outlook
  • google contacts

You can select which service to sync with in settings > contacts. I’d like to have all my contacts in one place, so I’ve tested it in all three of these for a while.

Apple iCloud

The obvious choice as i use an iPhone, but what if I ever change to Android? So to be future-proof: let’s try to get my contacts from to Google if needed by selecting all and then export vcard. It will export all contacts. The advantage is that iCloud will sync all the nice images I added to my contacts.

Microsoft outlook

This works well too. But there are four ‘bugs’:

  • The apple Vcard doesn’t work in Outlook and it even produces errors on it’s own export csv file. It only works with roundtrip through google.
  • Outlook doesn’t sync profile pictures with my iphone, not even from their social accounts skype or messenger.
  • The iphone doesn’t seem to sync phone numbers from my iphone to the outlook account. This is because phonenumbers end up in the ‘radio‘ field by default, a field that actually will be synced but is not visible on can see it after you export a csv and import that to Google!! Update: this problem seems to be solved with iOS7.1 update?
  • The information from skype (like phone, birthdate etc) are shown on but not synced to the iphone. This is very confusing.

Outlook can export a .csv file which can later be imported by Google and from there exported to Apple addressbook (apple will only import vcard files). I tested this roundtrip and it works nicely.

There are also some problems with itself:

  • The nice thing is that you can link outlook and google (so it will import your google contacts). 11/11/14: I’ve tested it but it doesn’t seem to work for the one contact in my google list?
  • It seems like it’s not possible to chat with other users!? I tested with two computers and two accounts but it didn’t work.

Google Contacts

This is a nice sync. The phone displays the default profile pictures of my gmail contacts in the contacts list. The disadvantage is that I’m not using gmail or hangout.


For now I exported all my contacts from icloud, google and to CSV and imported them to outlook, which will serve as my central place for contacts. The reason: I use it as for my private e-mail and skype. I don’t use Google hangouts.

It’s not perfect and I hope they will solve the above problems and sync skype and pictures in the future. Otherwise I might have to change to gmail and hangouts.

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