If you use both Microsoft Outlook and an iPhone, you may have two separate sets of contacts on each platform. That’s a hassle to maintain, especially if the contacts are virtually the same across the board. Instead of trying to juggle each list separately, your best bet is to synchronize the two lists, so any changes you make in one are propagated to the other. To achieve that goal, you can turn to a few different options.

What you’ll need

  • An iPhone.
  • A Windows computer.

1. Exchange synchronization

If you or your organization uses Microsoft Exchange for your mail server, you can sync your contacts between Outlook and your iPhone.

  1. From your phone, go to Settings, then select Contacts.
  2. Tap the entry for Accounts, and then select your Exchange or Microsoft 365 account.
  3. Turn on the switch for Contacts (Figure A).

Figure A

Screenshot on how to sync contacts in your iPhone using Microsoft 365.
Sync your iPhone contacts with Microsoft 365.
  1. Check your contacts in Outlook and on your iPhone to confirm that they’re in sync.

2. iTunes synchronization

If you don’t use Exchange, then iTunes is a second option. The downside is that iTunes is a resource-intensive and often buggy program, and your organization may not allow or support its use. Apple has also vowed to deprecate the Outlook synchronization for a future version.

SEE: How to use multiple Apple IDs on the same Mac.

But for now, the syncing continues to work, so it’s still a possible option, especially for a home or personal computer. To download and install iTunes on your Windows PC, browse through Apple’s support document, “Download iTunes for Windows.”

From there:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your PC.
  2. Open iTunes, then click the icon for your phone.
  3. Under Settings, select the option for Info.
  4. Check the box for Sync Contacts With, and change the source to Outlook.
  5. If a message appears confirming that you want to switch the sync provider, click the Switch button (Figure B).

Figure B

Screenshot on how to sync contacts in your iPhone using iTunes.
Sync your contacts using iTunes.
  1. If you maintain more than one contact group, click the box for Selected Groups and choose a specific group.
  2. Otherwise, keep the selection set to All Contacts (Figure C).

Figure C

Screenshot showing to select a specific group or opt to sync all contacts in iTunes.
Select a specific group or opt to sync all contacts.
  1. Click the Apply or Sync button at the bottom to synchronize your contacts.

3. iCloud for Windows synchronization

A third option is to use iCloud for Windows.

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings and tap your name at the top of the screen.
  2. At your Apple ID screen, tap the entry for iCloud.
  3. At the iCloud screen, tap Show All and then turn on the switch for Contacts (Figure D).

Figure D

Screenshot of the iCloud screen
In your iPhone’s iCloud settings, turn on the switch for Contacts.
  1. Next, you’ll need to get iCloud for Windows, which you download and install from the Microsoft Store
  2. After installation, click the Start button. In Windows 10, click the iCloud shortcut in the Apps list. In Windows 11, go to the All Apps screen and then click the iCloud shortcut.
  3. After you open the iCloud app, click the Get Started button and then sign in with your Apple ID and password.
  4. Proceed through each screen of the setup process. At the fifth and final setup screen for Sync Calendars and Contacts, click the button for Sync Calendars And Contacts (Figure E).

Figure E

Screenshot showing a message to sync calendars and contacts
In iCloud for Windows, choose the option to sync calendars and contacts.
  1. Click the button for Finish Setup. The iCloud for Windows screen opens to show which content is being synced. Confirm that the setting for Calendars and Contacts is on. You can now close the iCloud for Windows app (Figure F).

Figure F

Screenshot showing apps using iCloud
When the setup is finished, close iCloud for Windows.
  1. Open Outlook and click the Contacts icon.
  2. You’ll now find a contact list for iCloud that will remain in sync between Outlook and your iPhone (Figure G).

Figure G

Screenshot showing synced iCloud Contacts on Outlook.
Open Outlook to view your synced iCloud contacts.

4. Third-party synchronization

If you can’t or don’t want to use any of the above methods to sync your contacts, one other option is to use a third-party program.

One such product is Sync2 Cloud from 4Team, which normally costs $49.95 for a single license for the full version. With this utility, you can sync your contacts among iOS and iPadOS, Exchange, iCloud, Google and other cloud-based services (Figure H).

Figure H

Screenshot of new source wizard
4Team’s Sync2 Cloud is an effective tool for syncing contacts across different services.

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