Partially Restoring Mac Contacts Backup

Back in December, I decided I’d try Contacts Cleaner after hearing about it on MPU. I followed everybody (including the dev’s) advice and properly backed up my contacts database before touching it with the app. I then proceeded to get a bit overzealous, but everything seems to be fine.

However, every now and then I’ll be looking for a contact that I know used to be in there and is now missing. It’s been a slow trickle, but I’d like to import what’s missing from the backup. Unfortunately, if I try and import the .abbu file directly into, it wants to restore to December. I’ve added a lot of contacts since December, so that’s not an option. I can go through the package contents, but I’m not sure exactly who I’m missing, and that’s a lot of data to manually compare. Is there a good solution for this? I don’t know much about CSV nor am I a spreadsheet God (and I’m not sure how I’d be able to get my contacts data into a CSV file without restoring in the first place), but is there a way to compare the two databases? Any great contacts app for Mac that will help me bridge these two databases?

This reply is probably too late to help the original poster, but in case anyone else runs into a similar problem, here is what I would suggest.

Create a new user on your Mac (don’t connect it to your iCloud account), and then copy the contacts backup to that user, either by copying it to /Users/Shared/ or by putting it on a thumb drive or something similar.

Once you have it installed as that other user, you can look for old contacts as needed.

If you want to be able to refer back to your old contacts database frequently, I would export the backup as a vCard. You can do this by selecting all of your contacts in the and then choosing the Export > vCard option (otherwise it will only export one contact into the vCard).

Once you have the vCard backup, you can open it in a plain-text editor (vCard is just a plain text format, so it’s fairly easy to read. The only problem is if you have images for contacts, obviously those are encoded so they look like long blocks of gibberish).

Another option is to take the vCard archive and run a script on it that will splice it into individual vCards (one for each person or company). I found AppleScript and shell scripts that will do this by searching Google/GitHub.

Hope this helps someone, someday.