13 Replies Latest reply: Oct 2, 2012 1:19 PM by Cigano
abubnic Level 1 Level 1

I so identify with anyone who has this problem of having address book duplicates.  Took me at least five tries to get it right!!!!


The directions that Apple gives only really work if you only have one device. There are very few articles that deal with the problem of coordinating multiple devices so it was a trial and error effort to make things work. 


I have 6 desktop and mobile devices attached to my account and wanted them all to sync using ICLOUD.  I'd get one or two set up and then the next one would add in the duplicates.  Was making me crazy.   Here is what I finally did to solve the problem:


1.  Using your desktop app, export a clean copy of your address book to your desktop.  If your file is contaminated with duplicates already, go back and find an older copy.


2. Using your desktop app, delete all of the entries.  Then go to System preferences and turn on the Cloud for Address Book.  It should be empty.


3.  Turn the cloud off for each and every device you own.  It will ask if you want to save the contacts or delete them.  Choose delete.


4. Every device will now be empty of data.


5. I was unsuccessful at bringing my data back in using the Cloud web site.  So I went back to my desktop app and brought it in that way. Then, I turned the Cloud back on.  If you've done it right, all you should see is the Cloud symbol above where it says ALL CONTACTS.  Immediately, all of my devices filled up with the same information.  I double checked by adding a new data entry.  And all of the devices updated with it.


The next day, I noticed that my desktop app was not doing the cloud updates, although all of my other devices were.  So I went to the desktop app preferences, deleted the entries and then turned the cloud back on.  Immediately the desktop app updated with cloud contacts.  Now, it syncs just fine.


BTW, everything is done by an "air sync" and if you actually connect your device to ITUNES, the address book will be greyed out.  Don't change the setting.  You don't ever want to sync the data with ITUNES again -- or you'll get your duplicates back!


The iCloud is genius.  Sure makes life simpler and easier.  So if you have problems in the beginning, don't give up.  The end result is so worth it!!!


Good luck!

  • aimiao Level 1 Level 1

    thanks, it works but still has dupes.

    I found this article http://goo.gl/iih1c to get rid of dupes completely

  • po1969 Level 1 Level 1

    errr please help!


    just followed the advice above, but each time I try and import my back up back in it appears for about 2 seconds and then dissapears, so as it stands i dont have any contacts in on any devices.


    any ideas???

  • abubnic Level 1 Level 1

    To:  po1969


    Go into your system preferences.  Click on ICLOUD.  Make sure you are signed in.  Make sure there is a checkmark next to Contacts.


    Launch your address book.  Go to Address Book Menu (at top of page)-->> Preferences.  Make sure ICLOUD is checked as your default.


    Hope this helps.

  • aimiao Level 1 Level 1

    always remember to make a full backup before doing any permanent changes

  • mcpeck Level 1 Level 1

    Here is an alternate way of cleaning it up:


    I believe the duplicate address book accounts stems from the move from MobileMe to iCloud and both accounts still being active.

    This is how I merged the two address books:

    1) To make sure all the contacts are in both:

    a) I selected On My Mac account - clicked on any address - Command A to select all - drag the contacts to the iCloud account - answered OK to merge and resolve duplicates.

    b) same in reverse: select the iCloud account - click on an address - click Command A to select all - drag the contacts to the On My Mac account - answer OK to merge and resolve duplicates.


    In system preferences I found an iCloud icon and also a MobileMe icon. I was logged in under both.

    1)  In the Address Book preferences I selected iCloud and unchecked Enable this account.

    2)  In the Address Book I selected iCloud and clicked on the minus “-” to remove that account – leaving only the local Mac address book.

    3)  I went into system preferences and logged out of MobileMe

    4)  In system preferences I opened iCloud and the “Contacts” was not selected (from above) and I selected it.

    I got a dialog box asking if I wanted to merge the iCloud contact with the local contacts – clicked YES.

    … spinning wheel for a minute … voila – only one address book account – iCloud with syncing to iCloud and my iPhone.

  • AJ24 Level 1 Level 1

    what is the desktop app?

  • abubnic Level 1 Level 1



    RE: Desktop App


    Look in your application folder and you will see the DeskTop version of Mac OS X Address Book.  It should have also automatically defaulted to your Dock at the bottom of your screen when you installed OS X.


    You won't find this on an IPHONE or IPAD because it is not a mobile app.  It only resides on desktop and laptop computers.


    Good Luck!

  • seaside Level 2 Level 2

    Might be of interest too: Addressbook Tool is another solution to find and remove duplicates.

  • quantxxx Level 1 Level 1

    Yes : 7 users reviews. 1 1/2 star. Don't care to lose my time with lousy apps.

  • Simon Judd Level 1 Level 1

    Hi guys,


    This hasn't helped with me as the MobileMe account won't allow me to disable it or even delete it from the desktop app.


    Here's my issue (https://discussions.apple.com/message/18525465#18525465):

    I am having real problems with Address Book after transfering from MobileMe to iCloud.


    I have two accounts running at the moment:

    MobileMe - xxxxxx

    iCloud - xxxxx (using my Apple ID as they suggest)


    This means that I have two accounts in my Address book with duplicate details.


    I have turned off the MobileMe account on my iMac - and they still show in Address Book.


    I have gone in to Address Book preferences and tried to disable the MobileMe Account by unchecking the 'Enable this account' button ... but it simply checks itself again.  So I still have duplicates.


    I have removed the MobileMe account altogether from the Address Book Accounts pane, but when I restart the app they just come back again!


    I have gone on to the MobileMe Address Book online and deleted all of the contacts - but they have not been deleted off of my Address Book.


    Can someone please tell me how I can remove this account from my Address Book as it's driving me mad, I dont want it anymore and it also means that I now have a duplicate Birthdays account in my iCal as well!!!


    Any idea of any fixes for this?


    <Edited By Host>

  • Cigano Level 1 Level 1



    Worked perfectly, with 2,800 contacts X 2 it was hard going manually.

  • Cigano Level 1 Level 1

    Oops!  This posted as a reply to the wrong message, and now I cannot edit or delete.  I had wanted to reply to mcpeck's excellent post.