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Get help using iCloud Contacts

Symptoms

Learn what to do if you're having issues using iCloud Contacts. For example, your contacts might be duplicated or might not show up at all.

Resolution

Try these steps first:

  1. Check the System Status page to see if there are any issues affecting iCloud Contacts.
  2. Make sure that you have copies of your contacts. If you don't have a copy, you can make one.

If you see duplicate contacts, you can get help removing duplicates.

To see what to do next, select the operating system that you're having issues with:
iOS
OS X Lion or later
iCloud.com
Microsoft Windows (Microsoft Outlook)

iOS

After each step, check to see if the issue still exists.

Make sure that iCloud Contacts is on

Tap Settings > iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and make sure that Contacts is on.

Update your iOS device

Make sure that you're using iOS 5 or later. To see your version, Go to Settings > General > About > Version.

If your issue continues, install the latest version of iOS that's supported by your device.

Check your Internet connection

  1. Try to go to www.apple.com in Safari. If you can't connect to the Internet, your iCloud contacts won't update in the Contacts app. You can get help with your Internet connection.
  2. Open a secure website from your iOS device to see if you can access ports 80 and 443. Contacts requires access to port 443 to push updates to and from the iCloud Contacts servers.

Refresh your contacts

If recent changes don't appear in Contacts on your iOS device, try refreshing:

  • In iOS 7, open Contacts, tap Groups in the upper-left corner, then swipe down to refresh the list of groups.
  • In iOS 6 and iOS 5, open Contacts, tap Groups in the upper-left corner, then tap the Refresh button in the upper-left corner.

Check your settings

Make sure that your device is set to display iCloud contacts:

  1. Open Contacts and tap Groups in the upper-left corner.
  2. Make sure All iCloud is selected.

See if a contact is stored with iCloud or another service, such as Google or Yahoo:

  1. Open Contacts and tap Groups in the upper-left corner.
  2. Deselect the All [account] option for any third-party, such as Gmail or Yahoo.
  3. Make sure All iCloud is selected.
  4. View your contacts. If the contact isn't visible, then it exists in a third-party account.
  5. You can import the contact from a third-party service into iCloud. iCloud won't sync contacts that are associated with a different service.

You need to make sure that iCloud is your default account for Contacts:

  • If you want new contacts to appear automatically on your devices.
  • If you're syncing contacts with multiple accounts on your device (iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo) and recent changes to Contacts on your iOS device don't appear on your other devices.

See if iCloud is your default account:

  1. Tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  2. In the Contacts section, tap Default Account.
  3. Make sure iCloud is selected.

Restart Contacts

Close and restart the Contacts app on your iOS device:

iOS 7:

  1. Double-click the Home button to see your open apps.
  2. Find the Contacts preview screen and swipe it up to close the app.
  3. Press the Home button to return to your Home screen.
  4. Wait a minute, then reopen the Contacts app.

iOS 6 or iOS 5:

  1. Double-click the Home button 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 return to the Home screen.
  5. Wait a minute, then reopen the Contacts app.

Turn iCloud Contacts off and back on

  1. Tap Settings > iCloud.
  2. Turn Contacts off.
  3. You can choose Delete from My [device] if your data exists at icloud.com/contacts and on one or more of your devices. Otherwise, choose Keep on My [device].
  4. Wait a few minutes, then turn Contacts back on.

Restart your device

Hold down the Sleep/Wake button, then drag the slider when asked to power off. Turn your device back on.

OS X Lion or later

You can use these steps with Contacts on OS X Mountain Lion or later or Address Book on OS X Lion. After each step, check to see if the issue still exists.

Make sure iCloud Contacts is on

Choose Apple () > System Preferences, click iCloud, and select Contacts. 

See which version of OS X you're using

Make sure that you're using OS X Lion v10.7.5 or later. Learn how to see which version of OS X you're using.

Check your Internet connection

  • Try to go to www.apple.com. If you can't connect to the Internet, your iCloud contacts won't update in Contacts or Address Book. Get help with your Internet connection.
  • Open a secure website to see if you can access ports 80 and 443. Safari requires access to port 443 to push and fetch updates to and from the iCloud Contacts servers.

Check your account details

Choose Apple () > System Preferences, and click iCloud. Make sure that you're signed in to the same iCloud account that you're using on your other supported devices.

Refresh Contacts or Address Book

If recent changes don't appear in Contacts or Address Book, try to refresh by quitting and reopening the app.

Check your settings

Make sure that the contacts are syncing through iCloud and not through a third-party, such as Google or Yahoo. iCloud won't sync contacts that are associated with a different service.

  1. Open Contacts (or Address Book on OS X Lion).
  2. Click All [iCloud Account Name] in the left sidebar.
  3. Search for the contact that wasn't syncing properly.
  4. If the contact isn't visible, then the contact exists in a third-party account, not iCloud.
  5. You can import the contact from a third-party account into iCloud.

If recent changes to contacts on OS X don't appear on your other devices and you're syncing contacts with multiple accounts on your device (iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo), make sure that iCloud is your default account for Contacts:

  1. Open Contacts (or Address Book on OS X Lion).
  2. Choose Contacts > Preferences (or Address Book > Preferences on OS X Lion).
  3. On the General tab, make sure that your iCloud account is the default.

After setting up iCloud Contacts, you might need to quit and reopen Contacts or Address Book on your Mac. Then make sure that you set up your account correctly in Contacts or Address Book:

  1. Open Contacts (or Address Book on OS X Lion).
  2. Choose Contacts > Preferences (or Address Book > Preferences on OS X Lion).
  3. Click Accounts.
  4. Make sure that your iCloud account has the correct name in the Apple ID field.

Turn iCloud Contacts off and back on

  1. Quit Contacts (or Address Book on OS X Lion).
  2. Choose Apple () > System Preferences and click iCloud.
  3. Deselect Contacts.
  4. Click Keep Contacts.
  5. Close System Preferences and wait about a minute.
  6. Open System Preferences and choose iCloud.
  7. Select Contacts.
  8. Open Contacts (or Address Book).

Restart your computer

Restart your computer and check the issue.

iCloud.com

  1. If you have issues with web-based iCloud contacts at icloud.com/contacts, check your browser.
  2. Go to iCloud Help and search for information about your issue.
  3. If you don't see updates from other devices or Contacts doesn't appear as expected, switch to another app. To switch, click iCloud in the upper-left corner of the browser window, then select the app, such as Calendar, you wish to use.
  4. Go back to Contacts.
  5. If you still see the issue, sign out of iCloud:
    1. Click your name in the upper-right corner.
    2. Choose Sign Out.
    3. Sign back in.

If you see an issue while using iCloud Contacts on the web, you might see a message with a Send to Apple button. If you click this button, you can help iCloud fix issues.

Microsoft Windows (Microsoft Outlook)

After each step, check to see if the issue still exists.

Check the system requirements

Make sure that your PC meets the iCloud system requirements.

iCloud Control Panel doesn't support Outlook 2010 Personal Edition.

Check your Internet connection

  1. Try to go to www.apple.com. If you can't connect to the Internet, your iCloud contacts and events won't update in Outlook. Get help with your Internet connection.
  2. Open a secure website to see if you can access ports 80 and 443. Outlook requires access to port 443 to push and fetch updates to and from the iCloud Contacts servers.

Check your settings

Open the iCloud Control Panel and make sure that you're signed in to the same iCloud account that you're using on your other supported devices.

Refresh Outlook

If you recently made changes in Outlook and they're 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.
  4. Wait a few seconds, select Mail, Contacts, Calendars & Tasks, and click Apply.
  5. Open Outlook.

Make sure the iCloud Outlook Add-in is active within Outlook

For Outlook 2013 and 2010, follow these steps to make sure that 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.
  4. Click Add-Ins in the left panel of the Outlook Options window.
  5. Look at the list of add-ins in the Active Application Add-Ins section.
  6. Look for the iCloud Outlook Add-in.

For Outlook 2007, follow these steps to make sure that 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 in the Active Application Add-Ins section.
  5. Select the iCloud Outlook Add-in.

Make sure that iCloud isn't 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

After you restart your computer, see if the issue was resolved.

Find your contacts in Microsoft Outlook

Learn how to manage Add-ins with Microsoft Outlook.

When you turn on Mail, Contacts, Calendars & Tasks in the iCloud Control Panel, iCloud copies your contacts data from the default Outlook .pst file to iCloud, then removes 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.  

After you enable Contacts in the iCloud Control Panel, make sure that you're looking for your data in the iCloud folder within Outlook. If you need to, you can see the deleted file by viewing the Deleted Items in your Outlook Folder List. This isn't iCloud removing your data, just moving it to iCloud.

Learn more

See how to use Facebook, Twitter, and iCloud Contacts

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Last Modified: Aug 28, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Aug 28, 2014
  • Article: TS3998
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