How do you take a backup of Contacts data stored in the iPhone, without using apps, and without sending Contacts data to the "cloud"?

I've devised the following:

1) Compose a new email
2) Switch to Contacts
3) Tap a Contact and "Share", then "Email"
4) Select the attached VCF file and tap "Cut"
5) Delete the email draft
6) Switch to Email again (email from step 1 is shown)
7) Tap the white area, then tap "Paste"
8) Repeat steps 2-7 for each Contact

You'll have an email full of VCF attachments that you can email to yourself. And it works without apps on the iPhone nor the PC end. It is extremely manual, however.

I found that Martin Szulecki produced a Python script to dump all the contacts into a vCard file, but the git repository has been taken down (http://follow.ourbunny.com/post/2148582357/download-iphone-contacts-to-linux).

It also seems like the eds-to-idevice project (https://gitlab.com/eds-to-idevice/eds-to-idevice/blob/master/lib/eti-sync.c - plugin for something or other?) is able to both send and receive individual contacts plus the entire catalog of contacts from an iPhone.

Apparently it does so by linking to libimobiledevice.so (the standard shared library for talking to an iPhone on open source operating systems), calling mobilesync_start() with an argument of "com.apple.Contacts" and then calling mobilesync_get_all_records_from_device().

Doesn't come with a script though.

Does anyone have a simple method of retrieving all the contacts for backup purposes, with installing apps, enabling cloud storage, etc.?


I found out you can do the following:

  1. Download libplist, libusbmuxd and libimobiledevice from http://www.libimobiledevice.org/

  2. Run

    sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0-dev python-dev cython libssl-dev
    cd libplist-* && ./configure && make && sudo make install
    cd libusbmuxd-* && ./configure && make && sudo make install
    cd libimobiledevice-* && ./configure && make && sudo make install
    sudo ldconfig
    find tools -executable
  3. There's now a "idevicebackup" and "idevicebackup2" executable which backs up the entire device.

But they complain about lack of disk space when I run them, so that probably means they back up everything, including enormous photos, videos and apps, which is going to take way too long. I just need a tool that can make a quick backup of the Contacts (and maybe Notes), so that I can set it to automatically start each time I plug in the phone.

(By the way, the above fulle backup should work on Linux, OSX and Windows, since that's the platforms supported by libimobiledevice...)

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