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Michelle
Michelle, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 752
Experience:  Apple Computers and Mobile support with 10 years of exp.
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I just turned on iCloud, and it has deleted all the Contacts

Resolved Question:

I just turned on iCloud, and it has deleted all the Contacts from my MacBook Pro, and some of the contacts from my iPhone. I suppose it is because I didn't have contacts on the cloud, but now I'm stuck. Is there a way to use iCloud and prevent it from automatically deleting anything...ever?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Michelle replied 1 year ago.

Appleologist :

Hi, and welcome to JustAnswer! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am excited to get started with you.

Whenever you enable iCloud initially, it is normally suppose to ask you if you would like to either merge or replace your contacts. If you did not receive that message and your contacts were deleted (luckily you had a back up) you will need to enable iCloud first and then re-import your contacts

Appleologist :

Unfortunately it is normal that contacts are deleted upon initial setup. After that it will sync all of your devices together

Customer:

Okay, how do I do that?

Appleologist :

Have you located the files from your backup?

Customer:

No, I looked and can't find them.

Appleologist :

What operating system are you running so I can better guide you?

Customer:

OS-X 10.8.4

Appleologist :

Connect your external hard drive where your backup is stored of you have not done so already.

Customer:

It is on Time Capsule, through wireless network. No way to connect in another way.

Appleologist :

Open finder by clicking on the happy face icon on your dock. In the left column, you should see your time capsule under devices

Customer:

Yes, Time Capsule is under SHARED

Appleologist :

Ok good. Click on it to see if you are connected. If not, enter your password

Customer:

Yes, I'm connected to it

Appleologist :

Now open Address book. Then open time machine. You can click on the magnifying glass in the upper right corner and type in time machine. Once you enter time machine, go back in time and find the date where all your contacts were backed up. Then hit restore in the bottom right corner

Appleologist :

Make sure iCloud is still enabled

Customer:

I don't know where to find the contact backup on my Time Capsule backup. Where is it located, and what is it names?

Customer:

I went back in time to before I turned on iCloud, found the file called "backup" but don't know where to find the Contacts. Applications is there, but the items within that folder are greyed-out.

Customer:

Hello?

Appleologist :

My apologies, we are experiencing issues with the site.

Appleologist :

Is address book still open

Customer:

Yes

Appleologist :

Open address book first and then launch time machine

Customer:

Yes, I did that.

Appleologist :

Then you should see other address book pages behind it

Appleologist :

You can also use the scrolling dial to the right

Appleologist :

Do you see the arrows in the right side?

Customer:

Yes, I see the arrows on the right side. For some reason, it shows a window called "Desktop" when I enter Time Capsule instead of the Contacts folder.

Appleologist :

That means you are hitting the desktop first and then entering time machine. You will need to have the address book both opened and the first page before entering time machine

Customer:

Okay. I didn't realize I hit the desktop. I'll try again.

Appleologist :

Ok

Customer:

Well, I went back to July 11, opened the folder called Applications, clicked on Contacts then clicked on Restore. I got the message that Contacts could not be deleted because it was required by Mac. It didn't make sense, because I was not trying to delete anything.

Appleologist :

As soon as you open time machine, you should only see the address book and not the desktop. I just tried it to make sure

Customer:

I suppose I should continue trying to restore a backup. Once I do that, I need to know how to use iCloud so that it will never delete anything on it's own. I want to control what gets deleted. I only want iCloud to add items when I add something in one of my devices....any idea how to do that?

Appleologist :

Once you get your contacts back, icloud will not delete your contacts. Do you remember if you got a notification asking if you would like to merge or replace?

Customer:

Oh. I see the desktop window. I tried it several times. I'm obviously doing something wrong. I closed all windows except Safari. Then I opened Contacts from the Dock. Then I opened Time Capsule from the menu bar at the top.

Customer:

I don't recall that merge/replace question coming up.

Appleologist :

After opening Address book and entering time machine, what did you see

Customer:

The "outer space" background, and a window called "Desktop" with the folders like Applications, Documents, My named house icon, and so on.

Customer:

Oh, it was stacked with the dates going back

Appleologist :

It should defiantly go into outerspace. But your address book should be first

Appleologist :

It should look like this

Full Size Image

Customer:

Okay, I tried it again, and this time it worked as you described. Unfortunately, it only goes back to last THursday when I switched to this Retina computer from my MacBook Pro. I know the backups from the prior MacBook have to be there, but it is only showing me the backup from this new Retina laptop starting Thursday.

Appleologist :

Hmm ok what operating system was the old computer running?

Customer:

The same one as this one. 10.8.4

Appleologist :

When did your contacts disappear?

Customer:

When I switched to this new computer the contacts were there (I did that on Thursday). Then I turned on iCloud yesterday and the contact info disappeared when I looked today.

Appleologist :

Ok if you go back to thursday on your time machine, does it appear?

Customer:

The reason I looked, is because I was trying to call someone on my iPhone, and the contact was gone, so I checked the laptop, and it was ALL gone from the laptop.

Customer:

Yes, the backups go back to the 11th, but the contacts looked empty to me. I'll go look again.

Appleologist :

You have two options. You can see if thursdays data has your contacts. If not, you can restore your computer to an older backup

Appleologist :

Ok. Let me know. If it is still empty, go to icloud.com and enter your apple ID and password

Customer:

Okay. There is no data in the backup for Contacts on July 11. I went to icloud.com and signed on.

Appleologist :

After signing on, click on contacts and see if it is also empty

Customer:

Yeah, it is empty. It has Apple, and that's it.

Appleologist :

Ok so your last option is to restore your entire computer before july 11. Lets check your backup dates. Open finder, click on your time capsule and then choose the Backups.backupdb folder

Customer:

It is only showing backups to July 11. I thought the older backups would show up, too, but only the ones from this particular laptop are there.

Appleologist :

Are there any other folders. Within the backup folder, you should see your new computer name and your old one

Appleologist :

Do you still have access to your old computer?

Customer:

In the Shared section it has Deirdre, then Deirdre's Time Capsule, then it lists two items, Deirdre's MacBOok Pro, and Macintosh. BUt when I click on them, nothing happens. In the Devices section, it lists Time Machine Backups, Remote Disc and Time Machine Backups. Each of these items have different icons in front of them.

Customer:

Oh, no, I sent my old computer to LA...so I don't have it anymore. I had cleaned it up, deleted myself as a user and set it up for someone else.

Appleologist :

When you choose Deirdre's Macbook Pro, you should see folders. Do you see anything at all?

Appleologist :

(Within the Backups.backupdb folder)\

Customer:

Oh, I'm wrong. Under Devices, the two "Time Machine Backups" are for each of the laptops. So, one of them has backups going back to 2011.

Appleologist :

Ok good. Can you connect to the second backup and try to open address book again?

Customer:

Yes, let me try that.

Appleologist :

OK

Customer:

When I "Enter Time Capsule" it takes me to the new backups, and does not give the option to select a different backup. So I tried to just open the backup from the Devices list and it says it cannot open Contacts because it is a Time Machine backup.

Appleologist :

Then what you can do is to drag the backup from the old location and drop it into the new location

Customer:

I just checked my iPad, and all the contacts are gone from it, too. Oddly, most of the contacts are still on my iPhone. Not sure why it left most of them alone, and deleted just a few from the iPhone.

Appleologist :

turn off icloud on your phone

Customer:

Oh, cool. I'll drag it to the new location. I didn't know I could do that.

Appleologist :

Yup

Appleologist :

Make sure you drag then entire date folder

Customer:

Okay. I'll drag the entire "date" to the other backup folder.

Appleologist :

yes and when it is done, try to then enter time machine again

Appleologist :

Roughly how many contacts are missing from your phone?

Customer:

I got a message saying it can't be modified, but it has a button called "Authenticate" in addition to "cancel" Shall I "authenticate"?

Appleologist :

Choose authenticate and type in your password

Appleologist :

Computers password

Customer:

I know of three missing from the iPhone. I'll go through and see if anything else is missing.

Customer:

Okay.

Appleologist :

Ok. Also if you scroll down all the way to the bottom, it will show you how many total contacts you have

Customer:

There are 153 contacts on the iPhone.

Appleologist :

Does that sound like most of them?

Customer:

It is copying right now. It says "preparing to copy XX items", where XX is counting up.

Appleologist :

Ok, it can take some time depending on how much data you have

Customer:

The backup is dated from March (not sure where the more recent stuff is), so that is before I removed all the music from my laptop...it will be a LOT of data. My old laptop was full, 250 GB, which is why I needed to get this new one.

Appleologist :

Hmm. it may be easier to transfer your contacts from your phone and onto your computer. Can you confirm if only 3 contacts are missing

Customer:

Yes, it appears so. It is odd the three it picked to delete are the three I needed to call today. But not folks I call that often.

Appleologist :

Ha ha ok I understand. Would you like to then just transfer the contacts from your phone

Customer:

I can sync my phone. Once I get the contacts back on the computer in Contacts, I'll force a backup. Then I should try iCloud again probably, but only if there is a setting for denying iCloud the ability to delete items without my consent. I only want it to add items (appointments and contacts mostly).

Appleologist :

iCloud is super useful (when it works) not sure why it deleted your contacts. I recommend turning icloud off on all your devices first. Then connect your phone and perform a backup of your phone. This will transfer your contacts into address book and create a backup. Then you can enable icloud again

Customer:

Okay. I'll do that. Then I can sync iPad, and get the contacts back on that device, too. Thanks.

Appleologist :

Yup You got it!

Appleologist :

Then perform another time machine backup :)

Appleologist :

That way you will have a fresh updated one for your new computer

Customer:

Yes, backups! Here all this time I thought I had everything backed up.... oh well. Lesson learned.

Appleologist :

Sounds like a plan. Was there anything els I can assist you with?

Customer:

No, I think you got me through the mess. Thank you very much. The time capsule was a bit tricky with the two different laptops....

Appleologist :

You are very welcome and I appreciate your patience. Have a fantastic rest of your evening

Customer:

Thank you; you too. Bye.

Michelle, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 752
Experience: Apple Computers and Mobile support with 10 years of exp.
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