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New Problem Sync'ing Contacts

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 8:02 am
by JerryFreilich
I was very unhappy when Apple decided to remove the ability of iOS 7 to sync Contacts using a USB connection to a computer. They made the decision that everything else would be sync'ed to your local computer EXCEPT Contacts, which, all of a sudden, and for no apparent reason, was suddenly left out. Starting at that point, Contacts could only be sync'ed to iCloud. And that sync only occurs when the iOS device is "plugged in, locked and connected to WiFi." I am astounded that more people didn't immediately protest this completely arbitrary and unintuitive path. And moreover, except for folks who chanced to notice the problem and then went to look up the cause (of their Contacts suddenly not being in sync) .... most users were completely unaware that this change had been made.

Fast forward to the latest update to Mavericks 10.9.3 and iOS 7.1.1 .... Apple has supposedly now restored the ability to sync Contacts just like all the other data on your iOS device. People are writing online about how this has fixed a nasty problem.

OK... here's my problem. During the time that Contacts could only be sync'ed to the Cloud, my new Contacts appeared on the Cloud and on my Mac. I see them on the Mac in my Contacts. But since the new upgrade, those Cloud contacts are NOT being sync'ed back to my iPhone! How is one supposed to make this happen?

I see in the iTunes page during sync that there is a checkbox in the Advanced section that says basically, replace what's on the iPhone with the contents of this computer. I have trying sync'ing with that box checked and unchecked and it doesn't make any difference. There is information in my Contacts app on the computer that Contacts believes to be in the Cloud and which are not being transferred to the iPhone. Is there some way to end this dilemma?

Those of you posting regularly on the Forum will know that I've never liked and never trusted Apple's implementation of the Cloud or Cloud services. It's not that the concept is bad. It's that the implementation is flawed and leaves users unsure about what's happening or how to manage things. OK you gurus.... how does one solve this?

Re: New Problem Sync'ing Contacts

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 9:07 am
by JerryFreilich
Here's another piece of curiosity. After one more time checking the "Replace iPhone contents with those of this computer" checkbox and sync'ing again..... The contacts I mentioned above are again NOT sync'ed to the iPhone but I notice that SOME names in the iPhone Contacts app are now shown in italics. What does that mean?

Then, a few minutes later, the italics are gone. Contacts are still not synchronized.

Re: New Problem Sync'ing Contacts

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 1:44 pm
by Stephen Hart
Starting at that point, Contacts could only be sync'ed to iCloud. And that sync only occurs when the iOS device is "plugged in, locked and connected to WiFi."
It's true that until the latest updates, syncing via USB has not worked for a while.
I'm not sure what you mean by the latter half of this statement, though. We've always synced via iCloud, and syncing of all of our info occurs without our iPhones being plugged in. WiFi isn't necessary if you allow your iPhone to use cell data. And the iPhone does not have to go to the lock screen. I just tested this (with my iPhone on WiFi) and a contact updated almost as soon as I clicked Done in Contacts on the Mac. This works for editing an existing contact on either my iPhone or Mac, and creating or deleting a contact on either my iPhone or my Mac.

I don't understand why your syncing isn't working. I'd check all relevant settings on the iPhone and the Mac including cell data. If you don't find anything that might be set wrong, I'd try restarting the iPhone. You could turn all syncing off, then back on again.

Re: New Problem Sync'ing Contacts

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 9:56 am
by JerryFreilich
Have been trying various things including sync'ing again via the Cloud and then changing back ... all to no avail. There are contacts in my Contacts on the computer that simply DO NOT sync to the iPhone. What in the world to do?

Do you know of a way to export all the contacts in Contacts and then perhaps reimport them back? I could delete everything in Contacts. Then reimport the names back in. I'm stumped!

Re: New Problem Sync'ing Contacts

Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 3:53 pm
by Stephen Hart
If the problem is that you have contacts on the Mac that aren't syncing to the iPhone, you could try the nuclear option: reset the iPhone as new and then sync everything. If you just reset to the latest backup of the iPhone, it may just reimport what was there before. That's time consuming, but not dangerous. I've done this a few times because of having to replace an iPhone, and nothing was ever lost.

But before you do that, is it only Contacts that aren't syncing properly? You could experiment with Reminders, Notes or Calendars.

Disclaimer: I'm only familiar with syncing by way of iCloud. I think we've used iCloud since we got iPhones. Maybe some other SMUG member will be familiar with syncing via USB.

Re: New Problem Sync'ing Contacts

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:19 am
by JerryFreilich
This is still driving me crazy. I thought that the most recent update to iOS7 was supposed to RESTORE the ability to sync contacts via a USB connection to iTunes. That ability was lost a version or two back when Apple changed things so that Contacts, but only Contacts, could only be sync'ed via iCloud. That decision in itself to me was crazy, illogical, ill-conceived, and stupid. But now, I thought that after major protest from everyone online that they had changed things back so that Contacts would sync just like all the other things on your iPhone.

There are THREE places where these settings need to be in alignment.
1. In iTunes on the "Info" tab, there is a section at the top that (on my computer now) says "Your contacts are being synced over the air over iCloud. Over-the-air sync settings can be changed on your iPhone."

2. On my iPhone 5, in Settings, on the section "iCloud" there is a list of apps that are ostensibly being sync'ed by iCloud. Contacts is one of those slider switches and I've experimented with having it ON and having it OFF. Right now it is OFF.

3. At the bottom of the Settings, iPhone 5, iCloud page, "Storage and Backup" there is an additional slider switch for "iCloud Backup." I have experimented with having this ON and OFF. Right now it is OFF.

With these settings as they are now (and note that there is an apparent CONTRADICTION between what iTunes says (that I'm syncing Contacts via iCloud) and what the iPhone says (that iCloud syncing is OFF)...... contacts that I am adding to my iPhone are NOT being sync'ed to Contacts on my computer. I don't want to use iCloud. I just want to plug in the phone to my computer via USB, click SYNC, and have everything synced. Simple as that.

Since no one seems able to suggest ways to fix this. Who do you suggest I might call to get an expert opinion?

Re: New Problem Sync'ing Contacts

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:10 am
by Stephen Hart
If I remember correctly, the change was in the latest version of iTunes, 11.2.2 and/or OS X 10.9.3.

If I select my iPhone in iTunes, and click info, I see a different page than before. (See image below.) The new one appears to offer the option to sync via iTunes.

If you want to sync via iCloud, you'll want that unchecked. In System Preferences > iCloud, you can see what's set to sync. I have everything checked except Find My Mac (because it's a 27" iMac that's not going anywhere).

It sounds like you have the phone set not to sync. I have everything on except keychain (because I'm using 1Password for the moment).