On my iPhone running iOS6, I have the following accounts configured:

  • iCloud - Contacts, Reminders, Safari, Passbook, and Find my iPhone
  • Exchange (my work email) - Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders
  • Gmail - Mail and Calendars

I would like to keep my personal contacts (in iCloud) completely separate from my work contacts (in Exchange).

When I add a contact directly on my iPhone, it immediately shows up in Outlook but does not exist in my iCloud contacts (verify by looking in iCloud.com or Contacts app on my Mac).

I would like it so when I add a contact on my iPhone it gets added to my iCloud contacts, not my Exchange contacts.

Is this possible?

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is possible.

Set the default account for Contacts to iCloud. That will add new contacts to iCloud.

To do this

  1. Tap Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  2. Scroll to Contacts, about 2/3rds down the page.
  3. Tap Default Account and then choose iCloud.
  • Note, you won't see the Default Account option unless you have more than one Contacts account available. So, also make sure Contacts is enabled in the account you want to make the default. (Seems obvious, but I couldn't figure out why the option was missing...)
    – rrauenza
    Aug 16, 2016 at 21:06
  • @rrauenza what brought you here without the context of having multiple accounts?
    – Todd
    Aug 16, 2016 at 21:08
  • I had iCloud enabled for some things, but for some reason had iCloud Contacts turned off. Everytime I added a contact, it added to Exchange and I wanted it added to iCloud. The option to set the default wasn't there, which was odd .. then I realized Contacts was specifically turned off in iCloud settings. As a user experience, I would have expected an option with only one choice, Exchange, rather than a lack of the option all together.
    – rrauenza
    Aug 16, 2016 at 21:09
  • @rrauenza ah, gotcha. Glad you figured it out. :)
    – Todd
    Aug 16, 2016 at 21:13

I have experimented quite a bit with this. It does not seem possible. It would seem Apple found including a user-interface where you can select the default address book to be too cumbersome for the user. In Enterprise deployments it would be preferred to sync to the ActiveSync Exchange server and not Apple's servers. I would assume they made this the default behavior to meet this use-case.

You can, however, disable the contacts data being synced from (and thus to) the Exchange server without loosing it's other features. Open Settings: Email, contacts, calendars: The Exchange Account and uncheck Contacts from there.

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