Lost contacts on Mac and iDevices--restore from backup

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by camner, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. camner macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    I managed to hose my contacts on my iPhone, and my amateur troubleshooting just made things worse. The end result is no contacts on my Mac or iDevices or in my iCloud account.

    I thought I could easily fix this by restore the Address Book folder (within ~/Library/Application Support from a Time Machine backup, but this doesn't seem to work.

    What happens is that after restoring the Address Book folder, when I open Contacts, the screen briefly flashes the (correct) contacts, and then all the contacts disappear.

    Thinking that this is because I was connect to iCloud, I disconnected from iCloud by signing out from iCloud from within System Preferences. Alas, the same problem occurred...a brief flash of the correct contacts followed by all contacts disappearing.

    Obviously the Address Book folder backup does have a copy of all my contacts. How do restore this and then resync these to my iCloud account?
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    It might be re-syncing from a (now-empty) iDevice. Have you tried uncoupling those from your computer and iCloud accounts before restoring?
  3. camner thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    Yes, I thought of that. But if I restore from an earlier version, shouldn't that override what's in the cloud?

    I also tried something else. I disconnected from the Internet, and restored the address book folder, and then those contacts "took."but as soon as I reconnected to the Internet, the contacts disappeared again, verifying that you're Saying about what was happening was accurate.

    I then did it again, only this time, before reconnecting to the Internet, I created a back up of the contacts. But then, when I reconnected to the Internet, and tried to restore from those back ups, the same thing happened.
    It seems that no matter what I do, the version that is up in the cloud is always taken to be the latest version, and that's overwriting what I do locally.

    There's got to be a way around this!
  4. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    If you go into the Contacts app on your Mac, and while it's the active app, you go into Time Machine, will it not let you restore from there? (vs you directly restoring files to ~/Library/Application Support)?
  5. camner, Aug 8, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014

    camner thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    So, I opened Contacts, and from within Contacts entered TM. I then navigated to an earlier time (when the contacts were there, and then hit Restore. I saw the contacts! Thinking I was a happy camper, I exited TM, and when back in "normal" mode, no contacts were there.
  6. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    On mine, while in Time Machine, I had to specificly select the contacts I wanted restored. I went to the first, clicked, then went to the last and shift-clicked. That highlighted them all and I hit restore.
  7. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I got myself in this endless loop a year or two ago and the key was disconnecting form the Internet. You can leave iCloud on. So disconnect and do the restore then open Contacts and command-a to select all and go to File menu>Export...>Export vcard... and save this file to the desktop.

    Now go ahead and connect to the Internet and Contacts will be wiped again by iCloud. Now go to File menu Import and import that vcard file and they will upload to iCloud and you will be all set.

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