Move local contacts from iPhone to Microsoft Exchange with this app

What would you like to do with existing local contacts on your iPhone?

The issue

We have this issue every time we setup an iPhone on Exchange.

Selecting “Keep on My iPhone” will keep contacts on your iPhone, but only on your iPhone. This defeats the purpose of having Exchange, which is to automatically sync your contacts across multiple devices.

ContactMover iPhone app

To jump straight to our solution, check out the ContactMover iPhone app. Read on to see the time-consuming workarounds that inspired us to write this app.

Known workarounds

1. Sync iTunes

  • Configure iTunes to synchronize to an Outlook profile with at least one contact in it
  • Export the PST that has the contacts in it
  • Import the PST into an Outlook profile that is configured to that Exchange server
  • Delete the contacts from the phone, and watch them trickle in from the Exchange server.

However, there are several issues with this workaround:

  • You will not always be near the computer that the end-user normally syncs iTunes to
  • iTunes may not be installed, and you may not have time to wait for a 100MB download and lengthy installation process
  • You may not want to alter iTunes/Outlook sync settings
  • iTunes is a heavy program, and you could literally be there for an hour trying to make this happen

2. Export CSV

There are other applications that email you an exported CSV that you can import into Outlook. You then must spend 30 minutes mapping the fields in Outlook. But Outlook’s field mapping interface is unforgiving – get one wrong and you have to delete all the imported contacts and start over.

3. Contact Groups

Some apps let you manage groups of contacts on the iPhone. But they all present you with a single list of “All Contacts” with both Exchange and Local merged. None of them distinguish between sources which is the difference between Local and Exchange.

Our contact sync solution

Stop wasting time with workarounds to this problem. Purchase the ContactMover iPhone app through iTunes, move the contacts directly, and be done.

iOS5 Compatible

Version 1.2 is now compatible with iOS5 and iCloud contacts.

ContactMover iPhone app interfaceContactMover iPhone app interface 2

New in version 1.3

Version 1.3 fixes a bug where the app would not always select the default Exchange contact list (e.g. “Suggested Contacts”).

September 17, 2012 Update

ContactMover error screenshotContacts folder error

We have received several questions regarding the following error message:

You do not seem to have an Exchange source of contacts therefore this application can do nothing for you. It is possible that you only have Local contacts and no Exchange account setup.

‘Contacts’ Folder

The error is mostly affecting non-English speaking customers. The app is currently looking for a folder called Contacts, literally. In Outlook, simply create a new folder in your Inbox and call it Contacts. The app should now function as expected.

iOS6 Support

Please note, the app will not work on iOS6 since several changes were made in how an app can communicate with a user’s contacts list.


New in version 1.4

Introducing full support for iOS 6, while retaining legacy support for iOS 5. We also updated messages and notifications to help users run the app successfully.


New in version 2.0

Contact Mover version 2

Released September 16, 2013, version 2 offers a new interface that lets you choose your source and destination address books. Now, copy contacts between Exchange, iCloud, Local, and other sources.

Helpful guide

Our app will work in just a few clicks on a lot of transfer scenarios. But, there are some situations that require you to perform a few extra steps. We have programmed the app to identify these situations and provide step-by-step assistance available at

Contact us with any issues

As IT professionals, we do our best to test Contact Mover with various versions of iOS, Exchange servers, and account configurations. We want this app to be a foolproof solution for moving contacts quickly, and we want individuals and other IT professionals to rely on its ability.

We need your feedback if our app was unsuccessful for you. Please email or use our contact form if you have any issues.


Version 2.1

Released September 25, 2013, version 2.1 introduces full support for iOS 6 and 7 and legacy support for iOS 5. Please ensure your device is running a supported version of iOS before purchasing this app.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback over the years. Certain things on your device have to be correct for this app to function as expected, and we are constantly adding helpful messages and walkthroughs within the app itself when we determine that your situation requires a few extra steps.

24 replies
  1. Jens Kristensen
    Jens Kristensen says:

    Can’t get the app to work – Just keeps comming up with the error:
    You do not seem to have an Exchange source of contacts theref…
    Have tried to disable Contacts in my Exchange account as describet in App store – but stil no luck 🙁
    Best regards

  2. Adam
    Adam says:

    Hi Jason, can you confirm if this app works if the exchange server connection is no longer active?

    ie I have left my previous organisation, they have deleted my exchange account and I have the contacts on my iPhone and want to export them.


  3. Lindsay
    Lindsay says:

    The app will copy contacts from my phone to exchange but not the other way around. It just closes when trying to move from Exchange to phone. Any suggestions?

    • Jason Cross
      Jason Cross says:


      Darren emailed you directly regarding this issue. Unfortunately, you must have at least 1 contact in your local contacts for the app to work. If you moved all your contacts off your phone and into Exchange, then your local contacts source is empty. If you’re trying to move them into a brand new phone, that local contacts source is likely empty as well. You must create a “fake contact” on the device in order for your the app to work. This is just the way iOS behaves — your local contact source literally does not exist on the phone if you have 0 contacts, and our app cannot move contacts into a source that doesn’t physically exist. Hope this helps!

  4. Daniel
    Daniel says:


    I have downloaded this app but I can’t get it to work. It says “No Exchange Source” – “You must have an Exchange account with shared contacts turned on”. But I know that I have an Exchange Account with shared contacts on.

    I have IOS 6.1 and I have Swedish language settings in our Exchange account.


    • Jason Cross
      Jason Cross says:


      Please see the September 17,2012 Update section in the post above. If your Contacts folder is not called ‘Contacts’ in Outlook, then the application will fail. Also, you must have at least 1 contact in your local address book on the phone for the application to work.

      Please try these 2 things and let me know!

  5. Daniel
    Daniel says:


    I created a folder named Contacts inside my orginial Swedish Contact folder and that made the ContactMover app work.


  6. Amit
    Amit says:

    Cant seem to find my exchange contacts, running ios 6 in English. it assumes my Hotmail contacts are my exchange. I want my work exchange to copy to local iphone?

    Please help

  7. Todd Anderson
    Todd Anderson says:

    I have two exchange accounts, and when I move contacts, they move to the wrong one. Is there a way I can select which exchange account my contacts move to?

    • Immense Networks
      Immense Networks says:


      Unfortunately the iOS API limits us from being able to actually retrieve the names of the contact sources in the phone. The best way to select the Exchange account you would like to move the contacts to, is to temporarily disable contact synchronization on the one you don’t want to contacts to move to. Then simply turn it back on when you’re done.

      I hope this helps!

  8. Trevor Williams
    Trevor Williams says:

    I have multiple contact lists in outlook. (Contacts – Company – Personal – Friends & Family etc)
    When syncing through exchange contacts are truncated leaving only Company Name, Contact Name, Position and notes.
    IT have not been able to resolve this issue to date.

  9. Pankaj
    Pankaj says:

    Hi – I have successfully copied my iphone contacts to the exchange server. Now, when I update contacts and add new contacts (some on the exchange/Outlook and others on the iphone), does the app also synchronize these or should I always maintain a master copy somewhere (on the exchange or iphone)?

  10. Jason B
    Jason B says:

    Hi Guys,
    I have purchased your app, I have copied from Exchange (which is no longer active) to Local, it’s now says they are all in local and exchange, do I now delete the exchange and they will appear in my contact list. I must admit I am a bit scared to turn off the contacts and delete that I will loose them all. Any help would be much appreciated. Regards Jason

  11. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    I am leaving my employer and noticed that all of my contacts were defaulting to save under my employers exchange account. Will this app move my contacts from exchange to the iphone? The opposite of the conversations above. Help! I don’t want to lose all of my contacts. Thanks!

  12. Jacki
    Jacki says:

    Hi, I’m looking at purchasing your app but am wondering if I can “select” contacts to move from local to exchange. I use another app to snap business cards and import into contacts, but they end up on my personal iphone/cloud, rather than on my work/exchange. Does that question make sense?

    • Immense Networks
      Immense Networks says:


      Contact Mover does not currently let you pick and choose which contacts get moved over. We are considering this for a future release.


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