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iCloud: Troubleshooting iCloud Contacts

Symptoms

Learn how to troubleshoot iCloud Contacts. 

Resolution

Always begin with the General Troubleshooting steps below. If these steps don't resolve your issue, follow the instructions for the operating system that you're having issues with.

Note: Before troubleshooting, make sure you have made copies of your contacts. Learn how to make copies of your contacts.

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General troubleshooting

  • Check the System Status page to make sure there aren't any issues affecting Contacts.
  • Check your settings and preferences, because something may not be set up correctly. For example, having incorrect date and time settings can cause issues that are easily resolved by entering the appropriate settings.

 

Troubleshooting with iOS devices

First, confirm that you've turned on iCloud Contacts by tapping Settings > iCloud on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, then checking that Contacts is turned on.

Next try these steps, testing after each to see if the issue is resolved.

  • Make sure you're using iOS 5 or later. If you meet these requirements but your issue continues, try installing the latest version of iOS supported by your device.
  • Make sure your iOS device is online. Attempt to view www.apple.com in Safari. If you can't connect to the Internet, your iCloud Contacts will not update in the Contacts application. Learn how to troubleshoot your Internet connection.
  • Open a secure website from your iOS device to test if ports 80 and 443 are accessible. Contacts requires port 443 access to iCloud in order to push and fetch updates to and from the iCloud Contacts servers.
  • If recent changes don't appear in Contacts on your iOS device, try refreshing:
    • In iOS 7, tap Groups in the upper-left corner of Contacts, then pull down on the list of groups to refresh.
    • In iOS 6 and iOS 5, tap Groups in the top-left corner of Contacts, and then tap the Refresh button in the upper-left corner of the Groups window.
  • If recent changes to Contacts on your iOS device don't appear on your other devices, and you are syncing contacts with multiple accounts on your device (iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo), make sure that iCloud is your default account for Contacts:
    • Tap Settings > Mail, Contacts and Calendars.
    • In the Contacts section, tap Default Account, then tap iCloud.
  • If you're using iOS 7, quit and restart the Contacts app on your iOS device:
    1. Press the Home button twice to see preview screens of the apps you have open.
    2. Find the Contacts preview screen and swipe it up and out of preview to quit the application.
    3. Tap the Home button to return to your Home screen.
    4. Wait a minute before reopening the Contacts app.
  • If you're using iOS 6 or iOS 5, quit and restart the Contacts app on your iOS device:
    1. Press the Home button twice to open the multitasking menu.
    2. Touch and hold the Contacts icon until it jiggles.
    3. Tap the "X" to remove it from the list.
    4. Press the Home button to get back to your Home screen. Wait a minute before reopening the Contacts app.
  • Turn iCloud Contacts off and back on:
    1. Tap Settings > iCloud.
    2. Turn Contacts off. Choose to delete data only if your data exists at icloud.com/contacts and on one or more of your devices. Otherwise, choose Keep Data.
    3. Wait a few minutes before turning Contacts back on.
  • Restart your iOS device by holding down the Sleep/Wake button and then swiping the screen when prompted to power off. Then turn your device back on. This may sound simple, but it does reinitialize your network and application settings and can frequently resolve issues.

 

Troubleshooting iCloud Contacts in Contacts on OS X Mountain Lion or later (or Address Book on OS X Lion)

First, confirm that you've turned on iCloud Contacts by choosing System Preferences from the Apple () menu and clicking iCloud. Check that Contacts is selected.

If you are having trouble using iCloud Contacts with either Contacts or Address Book on a Mac, try each of these steps, testing after each to see if the issue is resolved.

  • Make sure you are running OS X Lion v10.7.5 or later. Learn how to verify the version of OS X you are using.
  • Make sure your computer is online by attempting to view www.apple.com. If you can't connect to the Internet, your iCloud Contacts will not update in Contacts or Address Book. Learn about troubleshooting your Internet connection.
  • Open a secure website to test if ports 80 and 443 are accessible. Safari requires port 443 access to iCloud to push and fetch updates to and from the iCloud Contacts servers.
  • Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click iCloud and make sure that you are signed in to the same iCloud account that you are using on your other supported devices.
  • If recent changes don't appear, try to refresh Contacts or Address Book by quitting and reopening the application.
  • Make sure your account was successfully created in Contacts or Address Book on your Mac. After setting up iCloud Contacts, you may need to quit and reopen Contacts or Address Book on your Mac. To confirm your account is configured correctly in Contacts or Address Book:
    1. Open Contacts or Address Book.
    2. Select Preferences from the Contacts menu (Address Book on OS X Lion).
    3. Click Accounts. You should see an iCloud account with your iCloud account name entered in the Apple ID field.
  • Turn iCloud Contacts off and back on.
    1. Quit Contacts (or Address Book on OS X Lion).
    2. Open System Preferences, and choose iCloud.
    3. Deselect the checkbox next to Contacts. Click Keep Contacts.
    4. Close System Preferences, and wait about a minute.
    5. Open System Preferences, and choose iCloud.
    6. Reselect the checkbox next to Contacts.
    7. Close System Preferences.
    8. Open Contacts (or Address Book) and test to see if the issue has been resolved.
  • Restart your computer. This may sound simple, but it does reinitialize your network and application settings and can frequently resolve issues.

 

Troubleshooting iCloud.com Contacts

  • If you're having trouble with the web-based iCloud Contacts at icloud.com/contacts, the first place to start troubleshooting is your browser. Learn how to troubleshoot browser issues for a variety of web browsers on multiple operating systems. Browser troubleshooting should never be skipped for web-based issues.
  • Check iCloud Help (help.apple.com/icloud) for possible information about the issue you are experiencing.
  • If you encounter an issue while using iCloud Contacts on the web, a message may appear with a "Send to Apple" button. Clicking this button helps iCloud to track issues and create fixes.
  • If you aren't seeing updates from other devices, or the Contacts interface does not appear as expected, switch to another application by clicking iCloud in the upper-left corner of the browser window, then selecting the application you wish to use. After visiting a different application, such as Calendar, switch back to Contacts. If issues persist, you may wish to sign out of iCloud by clicking your name in the upper-right corner and then choosing Sign Out. Then sign back in.

 

Troubleshooting iCloud Contacts update or setup issues with Microsoft Windows (Microsoft Outlook)

If you are having trouble with a PC (with Outlook 2007 or later) and iCloud Contacts, try each of these steps, testing after each to see if the issue is resolved.

Note: iCloud Control Panel does not support Outlook 2010 Personal Edition.

  • Verify that you are using a Windows configuration that is supported by iCloud.
  • Make sure your computer is online. Attempt to view www.apple.com. If you can't connect to the Internet, your iCloud Contacts and events will not update in Outlook. Learn about troubleshooting your Internet connection.
  • Open a secure website to test if ports 80 and 443 are accessible. Outlook requires port 443 access to iCloud in order to push and fetch updates to and from the iCloud Contacts servers.
  • Open the iCloud Control Panel and make sure that you are signed in to the same iCloud account that you are using on your other supported devices.
  • If you recently made changes in Outlook, and they are not moving to your other devices or vice versa, click the Refresh button in Outlook.
  • Turn iCloud Contacts off and back on:
    1. Close Outlook.
    2. Open the iCloud Control Panel:
      • In Windows 8.1, go to the Start screen, click the down arrow Down arrow in the lower-left corner, then click the iCloud app.
      • In Windows 8, go to the Start screen and click the iCloud tile.
      • In Windows 7 and Vista, choose Start menu > All Programs > iCloud > iCloud.
    3. Deselect the Mail, Contacts, Calendars & Tasks checkbox, and click Apply. Wait a few seconds, then replace the checkmark, and click Apply.
    4. Open Outlook, and test to see if the issue has been resolved.
  • Ensure the iCloud Outlook Add-in is active within Outlook.
    • For Outlook 2013 and 2010, follow these steps to verify the iCloud Outlook Add-in is active:
      1. Open Outlook 2013 or 2010.
      2. Click the File menu.
      3. Click Options in the left panel of the Outlook window.
      4. Click Add-Ins in the left panel of the Outlook Options window.
      5. Look at the list of add-ins beneath "Active Application Add-Ins," and verify that the "iCloud Outlook Add-in" is listed
    • For Outlook 2007, follow these steps to verify the iCloud Outlook Add-in is active
      1. Open Outlook 2007
      2. From the Tools menu, choose Trust Center.
      3. Select Add-ins from the left column.
      4. Look at the list of add-ins beneath "Active Application Add-Ins," and verify that the "iCloud Outlook Add-in" is listed.
  • Make sure that iCloud is not your default account in Outlook.
    • In Outlook 2013 and 2010, select File > Info > Account Settings > Data Files. If iCloud is listed as the Default account in the Comments column, select a different account and click Set as Default.
    • In Outlook 2007, select File > Data File Management > Data Files. If iCloud is listed as the Default account in the Comments column, select a different account and click Set as Default.
  • Restart your computer. This may sound simple, but it does reinitialize your network and application settings and can frequently resolve issues.
  • Learn more about managing Add-ins with Microsoft Outlook.

Note: When enabling Mail, Contacts, Calendars & Tasks in the iCloud Control Panel, part of the setup is to copy your Contacts data from the default Outlook .pst file to iCloud, and then remove the Contacts from the .pst file by placing them in the Deleted Items folder in Outlook. The Contacts data is then stored in the iCloud data set within Outlook so that changes can be pushed to and from Outlook by iCloud. Be sure you are looking for your data within the iCloud folder within Outlook after enabling Contacts in the iCloud Control Panel. The deleted file can be seen by viewing the Deleted Items within your Outlook Folder List. This is not iCloud removing your data; iCloud simply copies your data into the iCloud data set and then removes the local Contacts data by placing it in the Deleted Items folder.

 

Troubleshooting duplicates with iCloud Contacts

If you recently set up iCloud on any of your devices, and you are experiencing an issue where your Contacts data is duplicated, see iCloud: Resolving duplicate Contacts after setting up iCloud Contacts.

If you are seeing duplicates, and you have not recently set up any new devices for iCloud, check to see if your contacts are duplicated at iCloud.com. Checking iCloud.com is a good way to see if the Contacts are actually duplicated on the iCloud servers, in which case the duplicates would also appear online. Otherwise, your contacts may only be duplicated on one of your devices. If your contacts are not duplicated at iCloud.com, the duplication issue might not be affecting iCloud. See iCloud: Resolving duplicate contacts after setting up iCloud Contacts for more information.

You can clean up and resolve the duplicate iCloud Contacts in Contacts on OS X Mountain Lion (or Address Book on OS X Lion), or in Windows Outlook 2007 or later, by following the steps below.

Resolving duplicate Contacts using Contacts (or Address Book)

Both Contacts for OS X and Address Book for OS X Lion have a built-in tool that locates and merges duplicate contact information. In order to effectively use the Look for Duplicates tool, you may need to run the tool a few times. Here's how:

  1. Open Contacts (or Address Book).
  2. Make a copy of your iCloud Contacts.
  3. Select Card > Look for Duplicates from the Card menu in Contacts (or Address Book).
  4. Review the results, and click Merge when prompted.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 until no duplicates are found.
    • Sometimes it takes multiple passes to successfully remove duplicate information from Contacts. If you have repeated steps 3 and 4 six or more times and still are seeing duplicate data, you should quit Contacts (or Address Book) by selecting Quit from the Contacts (or Address Book menu). Then, reopen it, and begin this process again starting with step 1.
  6. After you've removed the duplicates from your contacts, make a new copy of your iCloud Contacts.

Resolving duplicate Contacts using Outlook 2007 or later

Microsoft can assist you with resolving duplicates in Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2007.

 

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Last Modified: Feb 27, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Feb 27, 2014
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