No matter how much you love your mobile device, keeping your valuable information there and nowhere else is always a bad idea. This applies especially to contacts. Just like any other cellphone, you should always have a backup for your iPhone contacts somewhere OFF your phone, just in case it gets stolen, lost or damaged irreversibly. Let me hasten to add here that we really don’t want such things to happen to your iPhone, or any Apple product for that matter!
What are the ways in which you can back up iPhone contacts?
Note: This is the first among many, many “list” posts. I love lists, and I’ll do everything I can to turn something into a point-by-point or step-by-step list. Bear with my list-o-philia!
1. Automatic sync using iTunes (OS 10.5.7 or later for Macs) – Every time you plug your iPhone into your computer via USB, it will sync as you tell it to via your iTunes preferences. This is the easiest way to back up your iPhone contacts, media, bookmarks, notes, apps and a lot more.
2. Using MobileMe – a (paid) service offered by Apple. MobileMe does a lot of things to sync up your iPhone, Mac and your PC, and in the process also syncs the contacts on all machines. This means that you always have multiple copies of your address book.
3. Using external web decoders. Save the contacts file on your iPhone. The address book on your iPhone is stored with the file name “31bb7ba8914766d4ba40d6dfb6113c8b614be442.mddata” or .mdbackup. After uploading this file on the website http://iphone-backup.net/, you can extract the contacts to a PDF, CSV or XML file – thus making it accessible to any computer. Iphone-backup’s service is paid, so keep that in mind while exploring your options.
4. Cloud syncing. IDrive Lite, for example is an iPhone app that comes from IDrive, who are specialists in backup solutions. With IDrive Lite, you can back up iPhone contacts to iDrive’s cloud servers for no cost whatsoever, with one click of the “backup” button. IDrive Lite also lets you restore contacts to a different phone – iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. There is also an option for sharing information with your address book contacts, by sending them an SMS containing an import key. This solution is highly suitable for business users, or people with smart phones and large contact lists. Other cloud sync apps come from my.memova.com and funambol.com.
5. Use Google Sync to sync your contacts, email and calendar between iPhone and Google account. Google hosts its data on cloud hosting, which makes it more reliable than saving copies on your hard drive – which is as vulnerable to crashes as your iPhone.
Preferably, look for backup options which will not delete your new or existing contacts while uploading the older, backed-up ones.
The best way to maintain backups is to maintain at least three copies of your valuable data. If your address book is already backed up on your computer, go back it up on Google now. If it’s only on Google, save a copy on your computer through iTunes. Contacts are the one thing you cannot afford to lose.
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