iCloud Contacts not syncing on macOS High Sierra

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by KoolAid-Drink, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. KoolAid-Drink macrumors 65816

    Sep 18, 2013
    My iCloud contacts has stopped syncing on macOS High Sierra (10.13.2). I've turned off Contacts under iCloud in System Preferences, restarted, even tried doing the same thing in Safe Mode. No matter what, Contacts show old contacts and won't sync properly.

    What should I do, short of turning iCloud off and back on? I've got 25k photos that will re-sync all over again if I turn off iCloud and back on, which will be incredibly long on my slow Wi-Fi connection.

  2. splifingate macrumors 6502


    Nov 27, 2013
  3. therighthonor macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2018
    Count me in as someone who has been dealing with this issue for months, with no solution. Disabling then re-enabling Contacts in iCloud sync sometimes helps, temporarily, by re-populating my Mac Contacts from iCloud, correctly. But then the problem persists - changes made to my Mac Contacts don't go to iCloud, nor do changes made to contacts in iCloud go to Mac Contacts.
  4. bspatafora macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2009
    Had the same issue, fixed it with the advice of a senior advisor at Apple. Here are the steps:

    1. Back up your computer
    2. Go to System Preferences > Internet Accounts
    3. Select your iCloud account, then click the minus button to remove it
    4. When prompted, DO NOT save a local copy of your contacts
    5. Restart your computer
    6. Go to System Preferences > iCloud
    7. Sign back into iCloud
  5. KoolAid-Drink thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 18, 2013
    Would this force my entier iCloud Photo Library, downloaded in full (full files downloaded, NOT optimize storage) on my Mac, to be re-synced after signing back in? I've got about 25,000 photos/videos altogether.

  6. Kekinash macrumors member

    Nov 24, 2016
    Just go to System preferences, open iCloud preferences, leave it a few seconds open and your contacts and bookmarks will be re-sync. Works for me, try if it works for you.
  7. KoolAid-Drink thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 18, 2013
    Answering my own question... unfortunately, yes. Sigh. At least it seems like the syncing issues are finally fixed.

    What a pain, seriously. Apple really needs to improve how the photo library syncing works if you have all originals downloaded to the Mac, sign out and sign back in. A simple, quick, "confirming" re-sync should suffice in this kind of situation, instead of the Mac manually re-downloading everything. Even worse, as the Mac "thought" the photos/videos I had already were local, it said that photos from iCloud would not fit on my Mac... no, the photos from iCloud are ALREADY on my Mac, it just needs to resync. That's all. Pissed me off. Had to re-download my photo library AND was forced to optimize photos instead. Will wait until it finishes, then set as download all originals. All this just for a simple sign out/back in to iCloud.
  8. kylew1212 macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2017
    Huntsville, AL

    I just saw this thread but ran into the same issue a few months ago. I also signed out of iCloud and then signed back in. It was a huge pain.

    Photos is especially a pain, I have less than half the number you stated but it was a pain. Also a rescan for the people album had to take place since I had to re download all pictures.
  9. KoolAid-Drink thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 18, 2013
    Exactly. I don't understand why the OS/iCloud can't just detect that photos/videos are downloaded already and People all set up, and all that needs to be done is a quick verify/rematch then boom, done. This is a seriously bad user experience point with Apple.
  10. kylew1212 macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2017
    Huntsville, AL

    I want a better scan. I hate that every single Apple device I own has to scan the entire library for People. Why can't one device scan the library and then sync it out, or multiple devices scan different parts of the library.
    It's very frustrating, and takes FOREVER.
  11. KoolAid-Drink thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 18, 2013
    I know, right? Not very user-friendly. It's annoying how Apple's intentions are good, but the actual implementation isn't that good. :\
  12. plustgarten macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2013
    New Jersey, US
    I had the same problem and this (turning iCloud off then back on) fixed it ... didn't even have to reboot.
    Phew! What a relief ... I organize my life through my address book, and depend on my iPhone, iPad, laptop and desktop all automatically staying in sync.
  13. csurfr macrumors 68020

    Dec 7, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    I had this same issue yesterday, but it was with my iPad Pro. . . a contact that I had added to it wouldn't zoom up into iCloud. Possibly it wasn't just High Sierra. A restart seemed to give it the nudge it needed.
  14. Sonia Blanco macrumors newbie

    Sonia Blanco

    May 23, 2018
    Málaga, España
    --- Post Merged, May 23, 2018 ---

    It worked for me, but only with contacts, not with groups.
    It is very annoying :/
  15. Lioness~ macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2017
    And it’s not only Contacts that have problem syncing through iCloud.
    Had major disfunction, and I don’t even have HS.

    Been on this with Apple since beginning iOS 11. Until I got tired to work for free for Apple and keep sending in reports, and not much happened. It’s foremost an iCloud issue across devices.
    Sync with my NAS today, it just works :D
  16. arkitect macrumors 603


    Sep 5, 2005
    Bath, United Kingdom
    This is an issue I have just learned to live with… not an ideal situation, but better than me bashing my head against a rock trying to find a solution.

    iCloud Contacts = OK
    iPad contacts = OK
    iPhone Contacts = OK

    Mac Contacts = *sigh* frustration! Missing contacts, empty groups… Add a new one and I might as well not have bothered.

    Oh Apple. Why? Why?
    These are basic things.

    OTOH, Photos work fine.
    Calendar works fine.
  17. clarknewhall macrumors newbie


    May 28, 2018
    Here is the fix that worked for me so far. I have iphone6s, macbook pro with high sierra, and icloud. multiple iphone contacts were missing even though they had been there the week before. checking icloud, it seemed even more contacts were missing. i had done no changes in the intervening week EXCEPT i had deleted multiple duplicate contacts, none of which were even close to the missing contacts. So following advice on one of the posts above I went to the left nav pane of contacts on my macbook because it had all the contacts intact. i checked for the "all contacts" and everything was correct. I then checked the "icloud contacts" and that list was missing the contacts that were missing on my iphone. I went back to "all contacts" and highlighted the entire list of 2850 contacts. I thin dragged this highlighted list to the "icloud contacts" item in the left nav pane. After enduring the spnning wheel for a while, I was asked if i wanted to import all the contacts (2800 were duplicates.) . I answered yes. After more spining wheel, i checked my iphone and my contact list now contained all the missing contacts. So it appears that something was busted in the icloud sync and refilling the icloud contacts with everything seemed to work. By the way, I backed up the contacts first before doing anything.
  18. HUGE AL, Jun 2, 2018
    Last edited: May 24, 2019

    HUGE AL macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2010
    I began this process only to discover that on the Mac, "All Contacts" MATCHED the "iCloud Contacts." They are simply not syncing properly to the iPhone or iPad. :mad:

    Looked into utilizing a third-party apps since AppleCare is ZERO help and Apple Engineering said, "Why doesn't he just sync through iCloud?" o_O

    FullContact Support is located in Latvia and over the past 2 months and 46 messages, still cannot tell me whether their product can solve this problem or not.

    Not only did iCloud duplicate contacts, it also merged contacts that weren't even remotely similar (i.e. Apple Corporate details merged with a pet store). :mad: Since the MobileMe syncing fiasco, Apple has been NOTORIOUSLY bad at syncing and should not even attempt it.

    If anyone can assist with a solution, greatly appreciated.
  19. KoolAid-Drink, Jun 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018

    KoolAid-Drink thread starter macrumors 65816

    Sep 18, 2013

    After signing out and back in to iCloud, it worked okay for a bit, but then stopped working. Apple Support instructed me to remove a few dameons and launch agents, insisting it would fix the issue. No go. They also said to create a new test account to see if the sync with contacts worked - it did. So, it's something with my user account, I guess :\

    Honestly, High Sierra SUCKS. Can't emphasize that enough. Seriously can't wait for 10.14, hoping it'll be much better!
  20. plustgarten, Jun 5, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018

    plustgarten macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2013
    New Jersey, US
    Prior round April 9th; just happened again a few days ago, almost 2 months later. What a pain!

    Specifically, Contacts would no longer sync changes between my Mac and iCloud in either direction, even though my iPhone, iPad, and iMac were all still syncing w/ each other and matching the iCloud web view.

    And this time, it really WAS necessary to reboot ... when I tried merely turning Contacts off and then back on, it reloaded only 132 of my 2,600+ contacts. Bizarre.

    This on a 15", 2017 MacBook Pro, running the latest High Sierra 10.13.5. In fact, this failure happened within the same couple days as the update from 10.13.4 to 10.13.5 ... but I don't know the exact sequence.

  21. SpedeRacer macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2018
    So how does this merge any contacts which I entered on my MacBook to the iCloud contacts file? It means I lose that data...
  22. l j m macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2018
    This happened to me. iPhone and iCloud were syncing just fine, BUT the MacBook Pro's contacts (10.13.5) would not sync, plus I couldn't even type new contacts in on the computer, (turned into a no name), nor edit old contacts on the computer.

    I'm just a lay person here, and I was walked through a fix with a local tech guy. I don't remember the entire order of things, so I'd suggest calling Apple AND backing up first!!! (Also, I exported all my Vcards to a thumb drive so I'd have them to import back in if all went wrong!) But, it was something like, (as long as you confirm syncing is working in the cloud but for that computer)- turn off contacts in iCloud. Go to library (a hidden file, it's option something or other) and then Application Support/AddressBook and take those files (all of them, even though on line there's a few people who say just take 3... that didn't work)- and put in a temp folder on desktop (so you can move them back if need be.) I know it's scary, and empty folder, but then I think we turned the sync back on and voila. There might have been other steps in there... but that's the gist. It worked! It repopulated the address book and when I went back to look in library, it repopulated those files. I'd spent hours and hours with Apple techs and no one knew how to do that.

    But if you ask about it, maybe they will know THIS.

    Good luck everyone!
  23. Sandman619 macrumors newbie


    Aug 7, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    My phone has the most recent updates on my contacts. Both iCloud & my Mac were outdated. The solution was to turn off iCloud syncing of Contacts on my iPhone, Settings > Accounts & Passwords > iCloud > Turn off contacts (you can keep the iCloud data on your phone). Then turn it back on a minute later. This re-synced with iCloud so that my Mac would also get the new info.
  24. SoFlaDesigner macrumors newbie


    Jul 24, 2018
    South Florida
    --- Post Merged, Jul 24, 2018 ---
    I also noticed I have contacts that appear only "On My Mac". You can see them in the Contacts sidebar. They may also exist in iCloud as well but the version in the cloud may not have the same information.

    So BEFORE you decide NOT to save a copy of your contacts on the Mac, you may want to check this. If you don't that info may be lost. I noticed this even after I backed up my Mac to the cloud.
  25. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    This tip has solved my Contacts syncing problems -- thank you so much "l j m"!!! I have three Macs and one iPhone. The contacts in my iPhone and one of the Macs were correct and synchronizing with iCloud correctly. One of my Macs was never getting updates, while the other Mac would get new entries, but would not reflect edits to existing entries.

    I basically followed "l j m"'s instructions. Importantly, this method does not turn off syncing of Photos, which in some cases would require you to re-download your entire photo library.

    1. Use a web browser to log into your iCloud account and verify that the Contacts in iCloud are the ones you want to keep.

    2. On a non-syncing Mac, go to System Preferences-->iCloud and turn off (uncheck) Contacts syncing.

    3. Go to ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook. In Finder, use the menu Go-->Library (shift-command-L) to open this normally-hidden folder, then go down to AddressBook. Make a temporary folder on your desktop. Select all the files in AddressBook (cmd-A) and drag (move) them into the temporary folder. This is just in case you want to try to undo these steps.

    4. In System Preferences-->iCloud, turn on (checkmark) Contacts syncing.

    5. After you're convinced you don't need the old files anymore, you can delete the temporary folder on your desktop.

    Now the Contacts (and Groups) on my Macs match what I had in iCloud. Preferences for the Contacts app on each Mac were unchanged. Hope this helps someone!

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24 December 31, 2017