Q&A: Putting an iPad’s address book into FileMaker Pro

Q How can I transfer the contacts stored on an iPad, to build them into a FileMaker Pro database on my MacBook Pro?

A FileMaker Pro or Go cannot directly access the Contacts database on an iPad. There are several ways that you could get the entries back to your Mac in a manner that will make them accessible.

You could sync the iPad in iTunes, setting it to transfer contacts into the host Mac’s Address Book as part of the sync settings, so populating the Mac with all the contacts from the iPad. If both the iPad and MacBook Pro have the same iCloud account, you could of course share the same address book. You could also use a different intermediary cloud-based address book, a good option if you already use that with the iPad or Mac, although these can sometimes prove fiddly to sync properly.

Once in the Mac’s Address Book, FileMaker’s now dead Bento can open the contacts, and FileMaker Pro can in turn import the Bento database.

If you do not have access to Bento there are several third party utilities that can do this, including Contacts Plugin (from €19) and Address Book Manipulator ($79.95). A more cumbersome way is to export the contacts to comma-separated (CSV), tab-delimited text, or vCard (VCF) format, which should also be amenable to scripting using AppleScript.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 30 issue 4, 2014. Updated further on 15 January 2018 with a new link to Froodware, thanks to Dow.