Transferring an address book from a Samsung phone to the iPhone

Posted by james on Feb. 3, 2009

We finally switched Lauren over from Verizon to T-Mobile so she could use her iPhone as more than a glorified soltaire machine, so we needed to get her contacts into the iPhone. I've always hated that, since with smartphones there's usually a clear way to sync contacts with a computer, which means it's easy to get contacts on & off. However, with non-smartphones it's less clear. I had a hunch that it could be done via bluetooth, so I tried.

I first paired the Samsung SCH-u410 with my computer's bluetooth. That went easily enough, just like pairing a headset to the phone. Then I went to a contact in the address book in the phone, clicked on Options, then Send Contact, then choose Bluetooth (instead of TXT), and then it gave me the option to choose which contacts to send. I choose "Send All" then then hit done, and it sent all the contacts! The only tricky part was that the computer reported that it was receiving contacts... and then did nothing. I had to go into the bluetooth software on my computer and edit the settings for the PIM Item Transfer service. By default it did nothing, I had to change it to save the contacts to a folder (which folder??) and then hunt around for the folder, which ended up being in My Documents under Bluetooth Exchange Folder. I repeated the process on the phone, and this time I saw a list of VCF (vCard format contact files) show up in the exchange folder. Awesome!

VCF's are the common format for contacts, so they can be sync'd with almost anything. I copied them to the mac, dragged them on the Address Book, then opened iTunes and told it to sync the contacts with the Address Book. And bam, it's done! I'm really impressed that samsung made it so easy to send all contacts via bluetooth, and even more impressed that I didn't have to spend all that time typing it in. Hopefully this will help others that are migrating off old cell phones avoid the endless typing. It should even work if you have two non-smart phones... once you've got the VCF files, connect to the new phone and send them via bluetooth PIM Item Transfer. Let me know if it works.