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Time Machine No Longer Recovers Individual Contacts, E-Mails, etc

CJ Dorschel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 14, 2019
I've used Time Machine since its introduction as well as .Mac/iCloud. Recently I upgraded my Mac Pro to Catalina as I held off updating any Mac's to the latest OS X release for various reasons. I attempted to restore a deleted contact as I normally could via Time Machine (open Contacts, then Time Machine, select contact, restore). It shows the dates on the right hand side but if I go back to any point in time Contacts show nothing. I've researched it online and some have stated that iCloud syncing no longer keeps backups of Contacts, Mail, etc in Time Machine and the only way to restore Contacts is via but that would restore an entire backup and not an individual contact.

I find this hard to believe as I've always been able to restore a deleted contact or email, etc with the exact same configuration until updating to 10.15. I deleted my Time Machine backup and started a fresh one with Catalina hoping it would clear out any issues with older Mojave backups but the issue persists.

Did Apple really remove the ability to restore individual contacts from local Time Machine backups? I'm hoping it's something else as I'll be downgrading to Mojave if so.

UPDATE: I may have found a solution. Apparently, unless you have "On My Mac" as a Contacts section, Time Machine will not backup contacts locally. I found this guide that shows you how to create the "On My Mac" section for local Contacts and then enabling iCloud syncing again. Afterwards, I simply selected duplicate Contacts and linked them. Thus I have each Contact saved on iCloud and On My Mac.

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