We have an older iPhone (8GB, 1st gen, jailbroken) that my girlfriend got from a friend (now on sabbatical, so no tech support). It's running iOS 3, the last version possible on a 1st-gen phone - I think her friend saw her old nokia and took pity on her.

He erased the phone prior to her getting it, and she's spent some considerable time manually adding phone numbers. Now she'd like to back up her addresses and put some music on it so I downloaded and installed iTunes on her PC (XP) but I was concerned that the first sync might remove her addresses.

• She's got no prior installs of iTunes or an iPhone, so nothing to overwrite • I don't see a way to back up addresses to the SIM, only get them from the SIM • It's on XP (I use a mac) and so where would addresses sync to?

This should just sync and go, right?

Bonus question: I don't think she's got anything running her contacts on, and worse - she's only using a Hotmail account. Does the iOS3 allow the phone to sync with any external systems like Gmail?


  • You could try iDrive Lite
    – user6124
    Jun 13, 2011 at 13:36

2 Answers 2


She shouldn't lose any contacts by syncing with itunes. She might easily end up with duplicates, though, if the same address is in both places. As I understand, every item in the address book is equipped with a UUID. When you delete a record on one device, the UUID is put in a list of deleted records, and so the corresponding record is deleted on other devices during a sync. But that is supposed to be the only way records are deleted from syncing.

Disclaimer: The above is what I have inferred from observation. I haven't seen it in any authoritative documentation, so there is a possibility that it is not entirely accurate. Use this advice at your own risk.

  • sounds like very reasonable observations.
    – cregox
    Jun 14, 2011 at 13:08
  • Duplicates we can live with; we can weed afterwards. She's back from vacation this week - I'll give it a try...thanks!
    – Holland
    Jun 20, 2011 at 14:28

She will loose contacts.

Make sure that before you sync (as soon as you connect your iphone, iTunes will open, but stop it from syncing by unlocking your iPhone by sliding it open), you select the Merge contacts option in the iPhone's Info Tab in iTunes.

I've lost a lot of contact from my iPhone simply because of this reason.

The best option is to download applications like Funambol to backup your iPhone's contacts and data to the Internet. You'll need to create a free Funambol account on the internet first.

  • Best option when she installs iTunes the first time and connects the iPhone is to disable the automatic Syncing (like I told you) and then select Backup in iTunes. That way, all the data in the iPhone will get backed up into iTunes, instead of iTunes erasing the iPhone... Jun 20, 2011 at 22:06
  • Sounds great - I'll give it a try this weekend. Thanks!
    – Holland
    Jun 23, 2011 at 8:14

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