The Sysadmins

Tips and tricks from the Sysadmins

Apple iOS – Move contacts from “On my iPhone” to Exchange

The Setup

Apple iPhone syncing contacts with Microsoft Exchange server

The Issue

New contacts default to the “On my iPhone” contact group, which aren’t synced with the Exchange account. This could cause contact loss when upgrading or switching iPhones, or will cause missing contacts on multiple devices e.g. iPads. I came across this earlier when someone mentioned their upgrade had missing contacts (turned out to be over 40). iOS version 5 seems to set Exchange as the default contact group, I believe this effects iOS 4 and below. You can change it in this location:

Settings -> Mail, Contacts and Calendars -> Contacts – Default Account

The Solution

There are a few paid apps that can move contacts across the groups, or another popular solution is to “share” the iPhone contact and email it to yourself, from there you can save it as a contact in the right group. After a bit more digging I stumbled across Orbicontact which was free is only £0.69/$0.99 and has the functionality needed.

OrbiConact – iTunes

The contacts should now appear in Outlook and/or the new iPhone.

WARNING 23/02/17

The move function of this application has been reported to copy the contact name without the number resulting in data loss. Please use the copy method or look for an alternative application.


  1. Great post !!! 😀 Thanks a lot.

  2. This worked PERFECT!

  3. Works Perfectly.. Deserves compliment…!!!

  4. This is a brilliant app – just wish it would come up earlier in the search results! Use this for my customers when they have had their phones setup incorrectly in the past and it sorts everything out.

  5. Worked like a charm! Thanks a bunch

  6. thanks this really helped me sorting out the exchange contacts realy cool adressbook tool

  7. worked great for me. saved me a lot of time. thank you for posting

  8. worked like a charm! iphone not so smart without these apps after all.

  9. Really cool! Thank you very much!!! 🙂

  10. Very good program. It really works and no account needed.


  12. Perfect – couldn’t have asked for a better solution. Moved 198 contacts from my iPhone to Exchange Server in just a couple minutes. Didn’t need to sign in or do anything. Awesome…

    Thanks for the tip!

  13. You just saved my life!!! I tried everything else and I’m so happy I found this!! THANKS 🙂

  14. Oh. My. Hell. It seriously couldn’t have been easier. And I’ve been dreading the other methods I found online for months. Thank you so much! (Why the hell doesn’t Apple just include this functionality to begin with?)

    • Thanks,
      This one was the third one to try and abolutely the best one (and the only one that works)! Thanks for a good hint.


  15. Looks like it’s no longer free. It’s $0.99 now..

  16. Where can I find OrbiConact? I tried via AppStore, but didn’t find it.

  17. This is not available in the Australian appstore.

  18. Jason –> Its called Orbi Tools and its $1.29 AUD

  19. Hi

    I used OrbiTools using “Move” option.
    It moved all contact names but not the rest. In the end it erased 1200 contacts and lost all information except for the name.
    The iphone did not have a backup so now I just made everything worth.
    Would not rate this as a good app

  20. Crap.
    moved the contact but deleted all the numbers from the contacts it moved, totally useless.

  21. Like a couple of recent users who have given feedback, I used the ‘Move’ option to move contacts from my iPhone to Exchange. It only moved the names – WITHOUT the contact numbers. Looked under the Log option on the main menu, and that was blank. So no trace of the contact numbers. Had about 180 contacts on the iPhone and the move just made them disappear… Really not done. And I paid for this app too!


      February 23, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      I used this recently and copied the contacts (as screenshots in the post recommended) without any issues. I haven’t come across the issue with the numbers disappearing, but looks like it only occurs when moving vs copying. Copying would always be my preferred option when dealing with this type of data, you can always go back after and remove the local contacts. Clearly there is an issue with the move function of the application, so I would recommend people use copy or look for an alternative application. Will edit the main post, thanks for the heads up!

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