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How can I remove 300 groups from my iCloud Contacts?

5478 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Sep 24, 2013 5:28 AM by rozziebee RSS
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jfaughnan Level 3 Level 3 (780 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 7, 2012 7:41 PM

My OS X Address Book started out with about 10 groups, but now has about 300 groups.


The replication arose because of a bug in how iCloud handles a mixture of Address Book Cards with both OS X and Windows line terminated Notes (LF vs. CRLF - it helps if you once used a typewriter).


I figured out how to convert Address Book to all LF terminated line feeds and I was able to get working on a different account, but my core account is stuck with 300 groups (some replicated 50 times).


I know how to delete all Cards/Contacts in Contacts, but, unfortunately that doesn't remove Groups. (Groups have an interesting behavior in iCloud, almost as though Apple has a special plan for them.)


I can delete Groups one at a time on, but that's tedious. Unfortunately deleting them on Address Book, and trusting in sync to clear up, is equally tedious.


Has anyone heard of a way to delete all Groups on iCloud or Address Book 6? Perhaps an AppleScript?


Has anyone heard of Apple resetting a corrupt iCloud account to clear out bad data? (I have a clean version of Address Book I can use to restart -- that, by the way, is harder than you'd think. Again because Groups are special).


Advice appreciated. If I get some free time I might take may laptop by the Genius bar and see what they say...

  • Winston Churchill Level 10 Level 10 (81,650 points)
  • rhammock Calculating status...

    I apologize for jumping in, as I don't have an answer -- I found this because I have the same problem. I did want to clarify something, however: If I have to hand-delete a mass of groups (not as many as yours, but 100+), I am guessing that I should change the default address book to wherever I am deleting. Currently I have the iCloud version as a default, but I can't find where to even manually delete groups there..


    I hope you get your answer -- I've subscribed to this tread just in case.

  • jacabeza Calculating status...

    I have exactly the same problem.


    I use iClud as default in all my devices and they all show the same contacts, including the groups. I dont have duplicate contacts, but hundreds of empy groups (groups with no name). It seems that an empty group replicates several times a day. I dont know how to stop this replication process and, additionally,  I dont know how to remove hundreds of groups (apart from one at a time).


    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  • rhammock Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I apologize for asking what may be an obvious question, but I've probably use Scripts once in the past decade.


    My 300+ Groups don't even have a name -- it's just a list of empty groups called "Group Name" -- Do I need to change your script to reflect something different in the quotation marks?


    Thanks for your help.



  • SDH57 Calculating status...

    I had a similar problem (Lion OS X).  Hundreds of duplicates of 3 Groups. Was driving me nuts trying to work a way of deleting them. 


    For the record, my problem started when I created multiple tags in Cobook which syncs with Address book. These tags create Groups in Address Book.


    The script sorted it in 15 mins once I'd worked out how to use it.  Thanks jfaughnan!



  • Jon Hammersley Calculating status...

    I have the same with duplicate groups, I have a few thousand and it's taking ages to remove them.


    I think the reason for my duplicates was becuase I have two email addresses registered with itunes and iCloud (my personall email and my .me address. This is what triggered it, however I now I have the nightmare of deleting them.

  • LWH1966 Calculating status...



    I have run scripts in setting up OpenGL programs on my Macs.  I cannot get your script to execute, however, and have tens of thousands of "untitled group"s in my contacts in the cloud.  Does each line in the script need to be entered separately into Terminal, all in one line, or something different yet?  Please advise.



  • Sarah Dolk Calculating status...

    The script works. It turns out I had over 10,000 of these untitled groups, as a result of trying to get these groups out of several devices and re-syncing over and over. Don't do that. Do this...

    1 - MUST have ALL devices set to sync the Contacts with icloud - iCloud Contacts turned on.

    2 - don't run any apps or use the internet while doing this - it really slows down the response time of everything.

    3 - run the script on your computer that has the contacts as many times as it takes until it tells you if is unable to find the groups you are trying to delete. You may have to adjust the number you are wanting to delete to a lower number when it gets close to the end. You know you are close because the script runs much faster towards the end.

    4 - give it a lot more time to sync with all  the devises - just walk away.  I went to bed and the next day all the untitled groups were gone from all devices, my computer and my iCloud account.

    This script did not run on 10.7.5, but worked fine in 10.8.3

  • Corsica76 Calculating status...


    it is the first time I use AppleScript


    So I try to do the script, but I make mistakes


    Can you help me ?


    In Contacts, I have more than 1 500 groupes called "groupesanstitre"

    So can you tell me how to change your script to fit mine?



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