Import a Contacts archive file (.abbu)?

(David Brostoff) #1

I have a Contacts archive file (.abbu) that I created in 2016 by following the instructions of AppleCare when I had called about some issue with iCloud.

I would like to open the file and look at some of the contacts but don’t want to replace my current Contacts database with it, so I created a Test account (10.13.6).

When I log in to the test account and click Contacts > File > Import > Replace All, no contacts are imported. In the Contacts window it just says, “No Cards.”

I know there is data in the file because I can open it in BBEdit and read some of the information, although most of it is gibberish.

I don’t think the problem is the file itself because I get the same results with Contacts archive files I export from my current setup.

AppleCare says they only support .vcf imports, although that seems to be contradicted by this Apple support page, under “Import from an archive file (.abbu)”:

Any ideas on how to import this file, or perhaps convert it to a .vcf format?

Thank you,


(Richard Rettke) #2

Don’t try to import the .abbu file. Just double click it and contacts will open. It may ask to replace everything already there so be sure to do this on your test account.

(David Brostoff) #3

Thank you for the suggestion, but unfortunately the same thing happens as when I try to import the file (“No Cards”).


(Richard Rettke) #4

Hmm, It worked fine when I did it, so I would suspect that perhaps the file is corrupted. I did see a couple entries on google about various techniques to convert a .abbu file to a .csv file. That’s not what you need but it may tell you what’s in the file.

(David Brostoff) #5

I get the same results with a newly exported .abbu file with my current setup, so I don’t think the file in question is corrupt.

I looked into converting the .abbu file to .csv, but it seems to involve first importing the .abbu into Address Book, which 10.13 does not have, or requires having the .abbu file contents already imported into Contacts.


(David Brostoff) #6

Did you import the .abbu file it into Contacts in the same account you exported it from, or a test account?

Also, what OS are you running? (I’m running 10.13.6).


(Richard Rettke) #7

I used a test account. I’m running 10.12.6