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Address Book Contacts

Back Up or Move Your Address Book Contacts to a New Mac

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Address Book Contacts – Back Up or Move Your Address Book Contacts to a New Mac

Your Address Book contact list is too valuable to overlook.

You've spent a long time building your Address Book contact list, so why aren't you backing it up? Sure, Apple's Time Machine will back up your contact list, but it's not easy to restore just your Address Book data from a Time Machine backup.

Thankfully, there is a simple solution, though the method changed a bit from OS X 10.4 to OS X 10.5 and later. The method I'm going to describe will allow you to copy the Address Book contact list into a single file that you can easily move to another Mac or use as a backup. There are other methods for keeping current Address Book data on multiple Macs or in multiple locations that involve syncing the contact list with various services. Syncing will work fine, but this method can work for everyone, even those who have no services or devices with which to sync data.

Backing Up Address Book Data With OS X 10.5 or Later

  1. Launch the Address Book application by clicking its icon in the Dock, or use the Finder to navigate to /Applications, then double-click the Address Book application.

  2. From the File menu, select 'Export, Address Book Archive.'

  3. In the Save As dialog box that opens, enter a name for the archive file or use the default name provided.

  4. Use the disclosure triangle next to the Save As field to expand the dialog box. This will allow you to navigate to any location on your Mac to store the Address Book archive file.

  5. Select a destination, then click the 'Save' button.

Backing Up Address Book Data With OS X 10.4 and Earlier

  1. Launch the Address Book application by clicking its icon in the Dock, or use the Finder to navigate to /Applications, then double-click the Address Book application.

  2. From the File menu, select 'Back Up Address Book.'

  3. In the Save As dialog box that opens, enter a name for the archive file or use the default name provided.

  4. Use the disclosure triangle next to the Save As field to expand the dialog box. This will allow you to navigate to any location on your Mac to store the Address Book archive file.

  5. Select a destination, then click the 'Save' button.

Restoring Address Book Data with OS X 10.5 or Later

  1. Launch the Address Book application by clicking its icon in the Dock, or use the Finder to navigate to /Applications, then double-click the Address Book application.

  2. From the File menu, select 'Import.'

  3. In the dialog box that opens, navigate to the Address Book archive you created earlier, then click the 'Open' button.

  4. You will be asked if you wish to replace all of the contacts with the ones from the selected archive. Click 'Replace All.'

That's it; you've restored your Address Book contact list.

Restoring Address Book Data with OS X 10.4 or Earlier

  1. Launch the Address Book application by clicking its icon in the Dock, or use the Finder to navigate to /Applications, and double-click the Address Book application.

  2. From the File menu, select 'Revert to Address Book Backup.'

  3. In the dialog box that opens, navigate to the Address Book backup you created earlier, then click the 'Open' button.

  4. You will be asked if you wish to replace all of the contacts with the ones from the selected archive. Click 'Replace All.'

That's it; you've restored your Address Book contact list.

Moving Address Book Contacts to a New Mac

When moving your Address Book contacts to a new Mac, use the Export option to create the Address Book archive, rather than create an Address Book backup. The Export function will create an archive file that's readable by a new version of OS X and Address Book, which is likely to be the case when you're moving your Address Book contacts.

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