Lost address book, restoring to iCloud

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by Richard L, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. Richard L macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2010
    Durham, UK
    I had a problem with address book yesterday and thought it worth sharing in case others have the same and indeed to see if there is an easier solution to it.

    The problem was that having upgraded to IOS 5.0 on my iPad and iPhone and 10.7.2 on my iMac and MacBook I then moved my MobileMe data to iCloud and started using that. Everything was fine no problems with iCal, Mail and Contacts.

    Yesterday, after nearly a week of no problems, I noticed that I now had multiple duplicate entries in my address book. They were not there before yesterday and I think they appeared because I changed the syncing on my iPad from wireless to direct backup to the iMac. I had for a lot of the entries 3, 4 or even 5 copies of them but not all of them. Some had 3, some 4, some 5, some no duplicates but none had only 2 duplicates. Very strange. As I had backed up/archived address book two days ago I thought the easiest solution was to empty it on my iMac and restore from the backup. I did this, it worked for all of 30 seconds and then my address book emptied itself.

    It appears that within seconds of my clearing the address book it also updated iCloud and deleted it there. Not only that iCloud then immediately wiped the address book from my iPhone, iPad and MacBook. All gone.

    I thought the easy solution was simply restore from my backup. I did, all appeared as it should in my iMac, but for all of 30 seconds, iCloud wiped it again. No matter how often I tried any restore of my address book on my iMac or MacBook it did not work. It appeared for 30 seconds and then was wiped iCloud taking control and preferring its empty copy.

    Searching the Internet I could not find a way of forcing a restore into iCloud or overwriting it's data. It seems once there you are stuffed.

    I tried moving my address book archive into iCloud but it does not work. But then the solution presented itself. I got a message saying it did not recognise it as it was not a vCard file. I had exported/archived my address book as simply "address book archive" as that is what we are always told to do. I went back to my iMac, ensured I was logged out of iCloud and there was no way it was updating, restored the address book from the archive. It did not disappear this time as I was not connected to iCloud. I then exported the address book back out as a vCal file. Logged into iCloud again, which again immediately wiped my address book on the iMac. I then opened contacts on the iCloud site and dragged into it the exported vCal file. It all worked, all was restored. Plus it then pushed it out to my other devices.

    There may be some other way of putting things right but it seems:

    (a) if you wipe your address book whilst connected to iCloud then you are knackered as it will immediately wipe it in iCloud and on any other devices you are connected to;

    (b) you cannot then restore into address book on your iMac or MacBook if you are connected to iCloud as it will not accept the update, strange when it accepts changes to entries and new contacts;

    (c) the only solution appears to be to log out of iCloud completely, restore your address book from your normal backup, then archive it again but as a vCal file, then log into iCloud and drag the vCal file into contacts in iCloud;

    (d) take care if you choose to backup up to iTunes other than using WiFi, if you do then you can end up in a mess as I did.

    Can someone tell me there is an easier way of safeguarding data and overwriting iCloud or is this a programming error that the software writers did not pick up before release? All we need is a way of cleaning up from time to time and that means pushing data up to iCloud and getting iCloud to accept it. You could do this with MobileMe, it gave you the choice when syncing, but not with iCloud.:)
  2. Suzeinasia macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2011
    Saigon, Vietnam
    Thanks so much for posting that information - I had been trying for days to get my contacts from my iPad and iMac to somehow upload to 'the cloud' with no luck - calendar seemed to upload to the iCloud okay and has been syncing between devices, but contacts just were stuck where they were. Anyway followed your tip about exporting the contact v.card file thingy, and then putting it back (on the iMac) and now my contacts are up in the magical cloud finally, and it syncs with the iPad... At last! :)
    So thanks again - it was really helpful for me (and relieved to hear that you got your info back after that drama too!)
  3. Poncho macrumors 6502


    Jun 15, 2007
    Thanks for the post as I am in a complete mess here too with multiple entries of everything in Address book and iCal and dare not delete them in case I lose the bloody lot!
  4. HawaiiMacAddict macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2006
    On one of my Macs of course
    Aloha everybody,

    I think the reason we have double entries is that one is the local entry and the second is the iCloud entry. In other words, we sync to iCloud, which creates an entry in iCloud, but then the iCloud entry is synced back to our local computer, creating the second copy on our local machines.

    I have been trying to find a resolution to this mess for the past couple of days. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't notice this behavior until I upgraded to OS 10.7.2. On my iOS devices, all is good - there is only one entry for all my contacts. Only on my computers are the Address Book entries duplicated.
  5. rcarricato, Oct 24, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011

    rcarricato macrumors newbie


    Jul 11, 2007
    Harrisburg, PA
    Same Issue

    I am having the same issue. I believe that it is creating dual entries for iCloud/Local. Also, I am having another issue where my Mail app on my Mac OS X 10.7.2 is changing the name on my iOS devices when I reply or send an email. For example, I have "Dad" as the First Name and the Last Name is blank but every time I reply to an email it updates my iOS devices and address book with the Last name. I am guessing that this is populating most likely from GMail? Got around the issue my just putting a first and last name in. I am guessing that I could probably remove the email address from my Dad contact and it would solve it as well.
  6. petergpot macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2011
    Multiple address book entries

    Multiple address book entries caused by iCloud settings. Go to System preferences -> iCloud. There you will notice various categories to check. Clicking on 'Contacts' will have generated the duplicated entries in your address book. If you uncheck 'contacts' the duplicated entries will be removed from your Address Book retaining only the original single entries
  7. lipsockisback macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2009
    Brilliant! This is the answer

    Richard - thats an answer that WORKS!
    I've been talking to Apple support for 2 hours today and they couldn't sort it!
    Well done my friend.

  8. Salvation666 macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2012

    Thank you very much Richard L.

    It also fixed the problem which I was trying to solve in the first place: I could not edit the images of some of my contacts.
  9. Richard L thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2010
    Durham, UK
    Pleased what I put in the forum has helped others. Since I had this problem and resolved it has not happened again and all has worked well wherever I am.
  10. harperville macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2011
    I'm having this issue now and have narrowed it down a bit but need more help.

    Hey all,

    This issue is very annoying and I, like the OP, would like to have my archive load back into iCloud.

    The vCard method works, but it doesn't let you keep your groups. I have 20+ groups, each with several members and exporting the archive allows you to maintain the entire AddressBook intact.

    I made an archive of the AddressBook pre iCloud, and one archive post iCloud. What I mean is, before the computers knew anything about iCloud and after the computers began to sync with iCloud.

    If I restore the archive that is pre iCloud, the contacts from my machine are loaded TO iCloud, and then pushed to all of my clients as I would expect. Perhaps this archive tells iCloud, my information is newer and accurate because I've never communicated with you before.

    If I restore the post iCloud archive to a blank iCloud AddressBook, my contacts disappear. This archive tells iCloud, "yo, we used to sync up and the most recent data lives in the cloud, which by the way is empty, so I guess I need to empty myself now" and bam! all my contacts disappear.

    I need somebody's assistance in experimenting with these two archives to determine what it is that allows the pre iCloud archive to tell the cloud to consider its data master (and accept all of my contacts :D) versus the post iCloud archive to allow the cloud to be the master (and remove all of my contacts :mad:)

    So, I have begged :apple:Apple:apple: to escalate this issue since I have two archives, one that works how I want it to work, and one that doesn't. Even though I have my AddressBook back, the issue is that from the day you connect to iCloud moving forward, you can NEVER make an archive and delete all of your iCloud data and load in your archive.

    I hope you understand what I'm trying to say and hope you see the problem. I'm pretty disappointed in :apple:Apple:apple: for not going the extra step (like one more step) with me to get this figured out. Their :apple:AppleCare:apple: is great for hardware issues but if you have anything more complicated than upload a photo into iPhoto, the "senior advisors" just get scared and don't want to talk to you any more. They just ignore your emails because they can, I guess...I mean, why not, they don't care. You can't escalate yourself or give any meaningful feedback, like "How'd I do?" or "Contact my supervisor if I'm ignoring you."

    Anyway, I have two archives, one works, one doesn't. I've "touched" some of the package files, I've moved some of the package contents from one to the other, I've removed some of the package contents, and I've copy/pasted some of the configuration.plist contents from one to the other but I just can't seem to get it right. I rushed through it at first but will and can be more methodical about it. I'm not convinced :apple:Apple:apple: is not going to return my emails. Guess they don't like challenges. Anyone out there up for a challenge? Something in the archive tells iCloud to be master or not be master. I'd love to figure this out. Oh, one other thing...their answer is vCard's, too. I can't seem to explain to them that a bunch of vCards is not the same as an "AddressBook archive", which I need to keep my groups intact.

    Thanks in advance.
  11. late show macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2008
    Thanks for this, a quick note about what happened during my sync:

    As suggested above I imported/exported my address book via TM with no internet connection (no iCloud)

    Exported my contacts to vcard file.

    turned on internet and watched the contacts disappear.

    in safari signed in to iCloud/address book and imported from card file via the setting wheel on the webpage (got an error and it dropped 50 cards) still my local address book was full.

    deleted all my addresses in my address book, but did not see the iCloud update, so I deleted them via safari (got strange error about being unable to destroy a file) and began the process again to get those 50 dropped cards up in the cloud.

    This time when I turned on the internet the iCloud took all my contacts from my address book into the cloud instead of deleting them.

    Strange, and walking away happy ...but plan on doing many (old school) local backups from on...
  12. gondor123 macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2009
    ACK! I spend a good 24hours of my life trying to fix this.

    It is 3am and way too many long hours on this. I will share my findings more later, but Richard and harperville are onto this. Basically there is no way to restore iCloud contacts with groups automatically. Vcards do not store group information. I ended up having to manually do this and it is quite the process. :mad:

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