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Address book won't re-import .abbu file

4831 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Mar 23, 2014 2:06 PM by Jeffrey Lee RSS
mugisha Calculating status...
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Apr 8, 2012 2:01 AM

Searching in my address book didn't work anymore so I exported the whole address book as an .abbu file and deleted all entries. Now when I try to import that file, it looks for busy for a few minutes and then ends up having no entries. I tried disconnecting from the internet as I read somewhere to avoid interference with iCloud. I also tried creating a new account and import it there so I could change it into vCards, but it wouldn't import there either. It's a 1.3 GB file. I don't have a back-up file or something I can use instead (which wouldn't be up to date) and unfortunately it already synced with my iPhone which has now an empty address book. I also opened the .abbu file and tried to import the .abcdg files but that doesn't work either

  • putnik Level 3 Level 3 (620 points)
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    Apr 8, 2012 2:56 AM (in response to mugisha)

    When you say you disconnected from the internet, perhaps you should have just unchecked Address Book in iCloud System Preferences instead.  Then do the import and re-check the option.  Otherwise, as you say, it just syncs back down and overwrites the import.

  • putnik Level 3 Level 3 (620 points)
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    Apr 8, 2012 8:04 AM (in response to mugisha)

    It's some time since I went through these same shenanegans and I'd need to get back to my own computer and go through the motions again. 


    You may need to sign out of your iCloud account completely, before the import, then back in again afterwards. There may be an option for where the import goes on the computer, "iCloud" or "On my Mac". Also a default view the same.


    Make another copy of the .icbu file before changing anything there!

  • putnik Level 3 Level 3 (620 points)
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    Apr 8, 2012 9:21 AM (in response to mugisha)

    I synced it with my GMail, then unchecked the syncing and tried the .abbu file again then it was empty again. But the file is 1.3GB.


    Was the address book ok on the computer after this sync with Gmail?  If so, you would need to export it again, to know you had a valid .abbu archive (keep the existing one just now too). 


    iCloud is the master dataset and syncs down, so if it is empty, then it will cause the other devices to be as well.  This is why you need to be logged out of iCloud during the import.


    Sorry, if this doesn't help, I am out of ideas.



  • rick0211 Calculating status...
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    May 28, 2012 5:42 AM (in response to mugisha)

    I had the same issue wth my mac and I did the folowing:


    1. Disconnect Internet

    2. Import Contacts - it seems to be, since it cannot sync to iCloud, you won't loose it all again

    3. Create a folder anywhere on your computer and open it

    4. Select all your contacts from your list

    5. Drag and drop all of them in the folder you have created - it's gonna take a while but it's going to create a single VCF file with all your contacts

    6. Reconnect internet and you contacts will, again disappear (because it will sync with iCloud)

    7. After that happens, simply drag and drop the VCF file back to your address book


    So far, it's working for me.

    I hope it works for you too.

  • SteveB49 Calculating status...
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    Aug 10, 2012 1:18 AM (in response to putnik)



    Thanks!  This was the exact solution for me.  Problem: .abbu loaded then disappeared in a few seconds.  As soon as I read your post, it was obvious that iCloud was wiping out the reload, because it had taken a fresh—and empty—copy right after I created the .abbu file.  My configuration is basically a MacPro via Ethernet to an Airport.  A MacBook  via Ethernet and WiFi to the Airport, and an iPhone WiFi to the airport.  The situation at it’s worst had no data in the MacBook, MacPro, iPhone Or iCloud.  What I did have was the good .abbu file.


    My solution:

       1. Move the good abbu file to the MacBook.

       2. Pull power from the Airport—kills all local Ethernet and WiFi. 

       3. Put the iPhone in airplane mode just in case—probably not needed. 

       4. Do a local import from the .abbu file on the MacBook to the address book on the MacBook .


    I now have a clean copy of my thousands of irreplaceable contacts on the MacBook . 


    I'm pretty sure that since the data in the MacBook address book has most recent date stamp, all will be well, i.e., the MacPro, iPhone and iCloud will  sync to the MacBook . But I figure good logic says to think that through a little more, pour a few fingers of Scotch, then synch everything else tomorrow.  The contacts  on the MacPro are what I need for work now. 


    <Apple: BTW, You did iCloud well, solid, and fast‑Woulda been nice if you had documented how it REALLY works  also. Need any good tech writers who understand both software and hardware?   >

  • putnik Level 3 Level 3 (620 points)
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    Aug 10, 2012 5:23 AM (in response to SteveB49)

    I agree that we were left to find solutions on our own, for replacing the iCloud dataset.  I'm glad you have good data now, but would definitely make a new archive .abbu file of it, before it attempts to sync it again (and maybe before the Scotch)


    Then check the Contact Preferences are set to iCloud and not On my Mac.

  • Farfallina Calculating status...
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    Aug 31, 2012 8:44 AM (in response to rick0211)

    Many thanks to you!

    It realy helped me!

  • lewax Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 27, 2013 4:48 PM (in response to SteveB49)

    SteveB49's solution works great if you have a second computer. And after you've done his solution, just go in Addressbook preferences and under "accounts", delete the icloud account. The system will ask you if you want to delete or keep contacts on the mac. Choose to keep them on the mac. After that, you can export your contacts as an archive and import it where you want...

  • Jeffrey Lee Level 4 Level 4 (2,495 points)
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    Mar 23, 2014 2:06 PM (in response to Farfallina)

    Ok so I have yet another strange Contacts problem...


    I'm exporting data from an old Palm desktop app.  They export as a vcard file, and it is complete.


    I can drag that card into my Contact app, and see all the contacts.... sort them, search for them, etc.. but once I quit the app and re-open it, all the contats are gone. Poof!


    Any suggestions?


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