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HT2486: Mac Basics: Address Book

Learn about Mac Basics: Address Book

HT2486 Imported contacts disappear after about 5 seconds

3445 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: May 12, 2013 11:24 PM by relloblue RSS
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mfronmark Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 25, 2012 4:11 AM

I'm guessing this has to do with a bug in iCloud.


Before this import I created a backup by using Export -> Address Book Archive.


After importing about 1000 company-wide contacts into my Address Book, Address Book started behaving strangely. It was slow and fan was going at full speed. Next time I looked in Address Book I had 3000 contacts, then later 5000 contacts. I deleted them all, which eventually worked even though Address Book was extremely slow.


So, now I had no more contacts. My iPhone eventually synced as well. So, I then had no contacts in Address Book on my mac and neither on my iPhone.

Then I tried to import that archive again. It said, and I still get this whenever I try: "Are you sure you want to replace all of the contacts in your address book with the contacts in “Address Book - 01-23-2012.abbu”? If you click Replace All, the information in this Address Book archive completely replaces the information in your address book. You can't undo this action."

So I choose Replace All, and for 5 seconds my contacts reappear, and then disappear again.


When I look on there are no contacts. I have tried deleting all the files in ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/ as well as the preference files for Address Book in ~/Library/Preferences/


I have also tried shutting off iCloud Contacts on my desktop before doing the import, and sometimes it talks to iCloud nevertheless. I have run out of ideas...

Anyone got a clue what to do next?

Macbook alu, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • keg55 Level 5 Level 5 (5,615 points)

    Try completely signing out of iCloud on your Mac (System Preference / iCloud). Import your addresses into your Mac again; then sign back into your iCloud account on your Mac.


    Untitled copy 2.png

  • keg55 Level 5 Level 5 (5,615 points)

    Check your Address Book / Preferences /Accounts. What do you have selected as the default account? If it's iCloud this would explain why nothing shows up since you mentioned iCloud is empty also. Select 'On my Mac' as your default and see if they show up.

  • keg55 Level 5 Level 5 (5,615 points)

    Ok, with iCloud off, copy your user ~/Library/Applicaton Support/AddressBook/AddressBook-v22.abcddb off to some other folder and delete it from your user AddressBook folder. Restart Mac and try the import again (Address Book - 01-23-2012.abbu).


    The user ~/Libary is hidden but you can get to it by opening Finder/GO/Go to folder and type ~/Library. Then navigate to the Application Support/AddressBook folder.


    If this doesn't work, I'm out of ideas and hopefully someone more experienced than I can help.

  • keg55 Level 5 Level 5 (5,615 points)

    Glad you figured it out!

  • Neil Stone Calculating status...

    I am now running into this problem. When I import the archive, I see the names flash for a moment, then they all disappear. mfronmark, it sounds like you came up with some tyoe of fix, but it is not clear. I now have a blank address book and would really appreciate any help.

  • Andrew Pollock2 Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    Signing out and signing in solved my address book problems.

  • imcleod Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi, I found that by importing my Address Book Backup while disconnected from the Internet, Address book kept my contacts.  I then opened the iCloud preferences from the System preferences and unchecked the Sync Contacts box.  I turned Airport back on (or reconnected the Ethernet cable in some cases) and rechecked the Sync Contacts box in the iCloud preferences.  All of my contacts were once again synced to iCloud.  That seemed to solve this problem for me.  I had erased all my contacts because I messed up a gmail sync.

  • relloblue Calculating status...

    Same problem.  Importing contacts lets them flash into the contacts app, and then they disappear within a few seconds to match the empty icloud website.

    btw. I'm in Mountain Lion on one of my macs, where Address Book is now Contacts


    Spent 2 hours with apple support today with senior support person, and the following procedure fixed it for me


    1. disconnect from internet (switch off wifi, or unplug ethernet cable)

    2. in Contacts application, import all contacts

    3. in System Preferences/icloud untick contacts

    4.    when prompted to delete or keep, choose keep (moves contacts to "on my mac")

            confirm that the contacts are now on your mac

    5. in System Preferences/icloud tick contacts

    6.    when prompted to replace or merge, choose merge

    7. connect to internet

    8. in Contacts application, drag all contacts from "on my mac" to "icloud"

    9. in Contacts application, drag all groups (one by one) into "icloud"

            confirm that all your contacts have been moved over and the groups are all ok

    10. delete all the contacts in "on my mac"

    11. in Contacts/preferences select default addressbook = "icloud"

    12. sigh with relief


    Come on, Apple, you have to do better than this.

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