Q&A: Migrating from a PC to an iPhone

Q To support the purchase of an iPhone, I need to move my contacts from Outlook running on a PC to Contacts on my Mac. I tried exporting the contacts as a .pst file, but this is not recognised on my Mac. What is the simplest way to do this?

A If you want to support your Mac and an iPhone, the best approach is to migrate your existing contacts into Contacts, and then sync them using iCloud, although as you have discovered, Contacts cannot import .pst files direct. There are several options open to solve this.

Probably the neatest and cleanest is to use iCloud as an intermediary. Although a bit more fiddly to connect a Windows system to iCloud than it is for a Mac, Apple provides full details here. Because cloud services need to be fairly platform-agnostic, they are often the best way of transferring data like this between different platforms. (Thanks to Duncan Marshall for pointing this out.)

If you cannot do that, you could use Thunderbird (free) or Microsoft Outlook for Mac to import the .pst file. You should then be able to drag and drop contacts from within those into a folder, as vCards (extension .vcf) which Address Book can import. You might be able to get Outlook’s Sync Services to automatically sync its contact into your Address Book, by enabling the service in Outlook’s preferences.

Alternatively you could export contacts to tab-delimited text which can be imported into Address Book, and there are several products available in the App Store, such as PST Converter Pro (£21.99), PST Bridge (in-app purchases), and PST Easy Convert (£3.99).

Updated from the originals, which were first published in MacUser volume 29 issues 1 and 5, 2013.