How to: Transfer contacts from your Blackberry device to iCloud (using MS Outlook)


My parents have recently each purchased an iPhone 5 and asked me to set them up. One of the most important things when changing mobile phones is transferring your contacts.  But Apple don’t make it very easy.

I’m an Android man, I have never owned an Apple device nor do I know much about how they work or behave. Which is probably similar to quite a few people out there. So I turn to good old Google for a bit of advice.

Hours of searching on Google turned up a lot of rubbish about how you can back up your contacts through iTunes (which doesn’t seem to be supported any more), or backing up to and managing them through Gmail or Yahoo Mail, which would be good if I wanted to do that, but I wanted to get them onto the iCloud so they can synchronise and constantly update from that source. So I had to get a little bit creative and I thought that I’d share it with you who may be wanting the same end result – transferring your contacts quickly and easily (for free) from your Blackberry device in bulk onto the iCloud, here’s how…..

You will need:

  • Your Blackberry device.
  • Your iPhone – this needs to be set up so it is backing up to your contacts to your iCloud account. Check your settings.
  • Your Blackberry USB cable.
  • Blackberry Desktop Software – if you don’t have this you can get it here.
  • A PC or laptop with Microsoft Outlook installed (I’m using Office 2007).
  • A Yahoo! account.
  • TextPad 7 Software – if you don’t have it you can get it here. I used version 7.0.9.
  • A cup of tea or a GnT if it’s after 6pm!

Step 1 – Perform a sync between your Blackberry device and your Outlook program. Once this is complete you should see all your contacts in your outlook program. This is an ideal time to make whatever changes you need to as Outlook is a very easy program to use for this.

Step 2 – Once you have finished making any changes to your contacts you need to export them from Outlook. To do this firstly make sure you are in the contacts section in outlook, then:

  1. Click “File” > “Import and Export…”
  2. Select “Export to a file” and click Next.
  3. Select “Comma Separated Values (Windows)” and click Next.
  4. Select “Contacts” or if you have more than one group of contacts select the one you want and click Next. (Note: if you do have multiple groups of contacts you will have to export each group separately).
  5. Click “Browse” and select the destination for your contacts file to be placed, give it a name and then click OK. Now click Next.
  6. Make sure the check box is ticked next to “Export “Contacts” from folder: Contacts” and click Finish.

Outlook will now Export your contacts to a CSV file on your computer.

Step 3 – Now that you have exported your contacts from Outlook you’ll probably be thinking, just like I did, can’t I just upload this onto iCloud? Well unfortunately you can’t as CSV files are not something iCloud will recognise, sorry to disappoint! But luckily there isn’t a lot more work to do.

This step involves using a Yahoo! account as a tool. If you haven’t got one you can sign up for free, use it for what you need it for and then delete it afterwards.

  1. Go to and sign in or sign up.
  2. Once you’re in your account click “Contacts”
  3. In the “Import Contacts” section click “Import from File”
  4. Click “Choose File” and locate your file you created from Outlook and double click it. Now Click “Import”.
  5. When you see the success window click Done
  6. Your contacts will now be displayed in a list in front of you. Click the “Select All” check box to select all your contacts.
  7. Locate the “Actions” menu and click “Export”.
  8. Fill in the radial selection next to “vCard Single File” and click “Export Now”
  9. Verify that you are not a computer by doing as it asks, then click “Export now”.
  10. Your browser will download a file named something along the lines of ‘yahoo_ab.vcf’, save this file to your computer.

If you want to you can delete your Yahoo account now as we have used it for everything we need.

Step 4 – Your contacts are now in the correct format (vCard) to upload onto the iCloud, however, they are not in the correct version of vCard. Yahoo exports to version 2.1 whereas iCloud will only recognise version 3.0 or higher, luckily it’s dead easy to rectify this issue.

  1. Open TextPad 7 editor to a blank window.
  2. Drag the file named ‘yahoo_ab.vcf’ into the section titled “Document 1”
  3. The program will then display the text contained in the file, you will see “VERSION:2.1” at the top like this:
  4. 1Now click Search along the top and click “Replace”.
  5. Configure the Replace exactly like I have done in this box: 3
  6. Now click “Replace All” and OK the confirmation. You will now see anything that did say “VERSION:2.1” has been changed to “VERSION:3.0”.
  7. Now click “File” and then click “Save All”  to save the changes.
  8. Close the program.

I found this information through Google on a website called electronmedia.in. I have used the parts I needed which worked perfectly, but credit for the original idea goes to this webpage: http://www.electronmedia.in/wp/fix-vcfvcards-importing-errors-icloud/ Thanks guys!

Step 5 – You’re now ready to upload your contacts to the iCloud.

  1. Click here to go to the iCloud login page.
  2. Click “Contacts”.
  3. In the bottom left corner click on the cog symbol and then click “Import vCard”.
  4. A browsing window will now open, locate and double click your “yahoo_ab.cvf” file.
  5. All your contacts stores in that vCard file will be imported into the iCloud.
  6. You should see the contacts appearing in your devices shortly.
  7. Job done!

This is the best (free) way I could work out how to get all of my parents’ contacts transferred. Now I’m no computer genius by any means, so I may have missed something out there where you can do all the above in a couple of clicks, but I failed to find it! If there is feel free to leave comments below and let others know because it’s damn hard to find.

Thanks for reading this post, as I said, if you have any comments please share them below.

Author: Mark Robertshaw

Hey! I'm a 32 year old guy living in Reading, UK. I work full time for the family business as a bookkeeper amongst other things too! I have a wordpress blog - come visit my blog at markthinks.net there'a a bit of everything! :-)

29 thoughts on “How to: Transfer contacts from your Blackberry device to iCloud (using MS Outlook)”

  1. Thank you sooo much! this really helped me out! My ipad used to sync with yahoo directly, but stopped for some reason. But this solved my immediate issue, which was to at least get my contacts onto the icloud! yay! mission accomplished. : )

      1. Took me a while to find this post but it was worth it!
        only way i could get it to work!
        Thanks

      2. Dear Mark,

        Thank you for this explanation, however i struggle at step 2: once I export my contacts to the file (it is a very small file which is weird since I have around 300 contacts) and then import the contacts in Yahoo contacts, they say ‘Congratulations, 0 contacts were imported’
        What am I doing wrong? I think it has something to do with my outlook contacts?

        Many thanks for your advice!

        Charlotte

      3. Hi Charlotte,

        Thanks for your comment. Have you selected the correct contacts group within Outlook? Maybe you are selecting a group with no contacts in it?

        If you are selecting the correct group, try opening the file as a text file and seeing if your contacts are there.

        Let me know what you find and I’ll try to help you work through it.

  2. great submit, very informative. I ponder why the other specialists of this sector do not
    realize this. You should proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

    1. Hey thanks for your comment. Yes I have done a lot of reading around and I can’t find anything like this solution anywhere. I had to cobble a few ideas together but I got it to work in the end!

  3. Hey mark, this has been really useful but whenever I go to my yahoo account to import the contacts from the CSV file. it keeps saying Success ! but it says 0 contacts have been added and this is constantly happening😦 . Its for my parents aswell and Im unhappy that its not working out for me when I do it. the file size of the .csv excel file is 171kb maybe that has something to do with it because I Cant understand what else it could be. Everything else works fine, if there is anything you know or could help with would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks
    Fez

    1. Hi Fez,

      In Outlook are you exporting the correct set (or group) of contacts? I have a number of sets, some of which don’t have any contacts in, if you were to export them into a CSV and import them into Yahoo it would be successful but with no contacts.

      Also it might be worth opening your CSV file in excel to check to see if the correct data is in there.

      Hope this solves it. Let me know if it doesn’t:)

      1. all sorted out Mark, thanks for taking the time to reply. I had to import the contacts into my gmail account instead of yahoo, as it just wasnt working for me. Have sorted it out now. thanks for this tutorial it really helped. cheers have a good weekend.

  4. I’m not positive where you’re getting your information, however good topic.

    I must spend some time learning more or figuring out more.
    Thanks for great information I used to be looking for this info for my mission.

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