24902 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Mar 3, 2010 5:41 PM by FormerPCer
Normally, contacts are already a part of the backup. Backup ≠ sync. Syncing means syncing with the contacts list on your computer's address book (Mac Address Book, Outlook, etc.). If that contact list is empty, iTunes assumes (wrongly, IMO) that you want the same on your iPhone, and deletes the contacts. Same goes for calendars, although those are not backed up by iTunes. If you have at least one contact/event on your computer and you sync, you get a merge.replace prompt and choosing Merge transfers the contacts from the phone to the computer.
At this point, since your contacts were erased from the phone and you have none on your computer, and you've synced again to overwrite the one backup iTunes keeps, your contacts may be gone.
The one possibility is if you have a previous backup saved on an external drive from the last time you backed up your hard drive. (You do back up regularly, right?!?) If so, you can Restore from that by copying it from the external backup to the proper location on your internal drive, then performing a Restore.
In Vista, the backup is stored at:
Thanks for the reply. I did try to restore from the backup that wiped them...no luck. I found that they "synced" with "Windows contacts", which I assume would be any contacts in the contacts user folder. Regardless...they are all gone.
I have to wonder why Apple doesn't provide an easy option to back up your phone. Every Motorola and Nokia phone I have had does this. As I don't maintain a list of phone numbers on my PC, it is not intuitive for me to "sync" the phone.
Oh well...one of the "minuses" of the iPhone for me, I guess.
I have to wonder why Apple doesn't provide an easy option to back up your phone.
It does but as you've found if you tell it to not backup something, and to oevrwrite the backup its not that helpful.
If you have a Time Capsule and are running Time Machine, you get backups every hour of the iPhone syncs which allows us to go back to pretty much any previous state.
I completely agree that the sync options in iTunes are not at all intuitive and it is very easy to accidentally lose all your contacts. If you use MobileMe as well, the problems can multiply as they can also disappear from apps on other computers that are synced with it.
I have set MobileMe to prompt me if it is going to make any changes at all to the details on my computer (rather than just if more than 5/25/50% of the data is being changed) to give me some damage limitation.
The number of entries on this forum about this should prompt Apple to have another look to see if the sync process could be made easier.
I no longer trust the syncing feature and regularly export my contacts from Outlook (which is synced with my iPhone via MobileMe) to a file and save it on my computer and on an external back-up drive. I have hundreds of contact details built up over years which could all disappear irretrievably in seconds by a slight error in the sync settings or even, in my experience, sometimes when the sync settings are correct.
I have hundreds of contact details built up over years which could all disappear irretrievably in seconds by a slight error in the sync settings or even, in my experience, sometimes when the sync settings are correct.
No, they will only disappear if you don't keep a computer backup and thats personal choice, not a computer decision. I am glad however that you are doing a manual backup as that will cover you for 'user error' as well.
Experience has taught me the hard way about how essential it is to back up everything regularly. I am pretty computer literate but not everyone will think/know about exporting Outlook contacts as a .csv file and then backing that up as well.
MobileMe is supposed to make things easy not just for the experienced computer user but also (if not especially) for those who may not be as familiar. If you look at the number of entries in the MobileMe forum (in itself not a something a novice may post to) from people who have lost their contacts, it looks as if it is having the opposite effect and lots of people are losing data regularly and getting pretty worked up about it.
I am pretty computer literate but not everyone will think/know about exporting Outlook contacts as a .csv file and then backing that up as well.
I agree 100% however that kind of selectivity is both unnecessary and complicated. Backing up the hard disc in its entirety is much simpler and effective. Disc space is so cheap, and the programmes so effective its really easy. Programs like "Second Copy" do ALL the hard work but people just don't think about it until they arrive here
Thanks guys. Yes, I am an IT manager and back up everything. The only thing I didn't have backed up were phone number contacts on my phone. The reason being is that I always had them either on a SIM card or in the phone's memory.
While I love the iPhone, I absolutely hate iTunes. The Sync feature is just unnecessarily cryptic, as is evident from the multitude of people complaining about it online. I do hope they offer an option to just backup/export and save your contacts or settings into some type of file. A CVS spreadsheet file would be ideal.
Some other Sync issues I have noticed have been the removal of my ringtones and some interesting formatting of picture folders (with no input from me).
Regardless, I have started populating my Google contact list with phone numbers so I can use that as a backup and a Sync springboard.
I think that if an IT Manager is having issues, it confirms the point that the syncing process needs to be re-examined by Apple. The popularity of the iPhone means it is used by far more than just the technologically aware and yet their contacts are just as important as anyone else's.
Whilst most people seem to understand the importance of backing up data, a lot still don't do it often enough or, in some cases, at all. It is also possible for valuable data to be created between back-ups.
Something must be wrong if a product that aims to simplify the sharing of data between mobile and static devices increases significantly the need to rely on back-ups (as the evidence on these forums clearly suggests iTunes and MobileMe do). I am sure more people that use iTunes/MobileMe have lost data due to confusion or errors during a sync than through hard-drive failure.