ok -- so my wife lost her contacts on her macbook pro (and icloud as well), but we use time machine -- i was trying to look around for help in how to restore ALL her contacts using time machine -- is there a file somewhere that contains all the contacts on the system that by replacing it with a full batch of contacts would replace the empty one i have how???




To add to what @n1000 said above, some more details:

  • connect your time machine backup drive
  • you may need to login as root to get access to that Library folder
  • choose Finder->Go To folder-> <path-to-library>, where <path-to-libary> is something like "/Volumes/MyTimeMachineDrive/.../Users/keith/Library"
  • in there you can then browse to Application Support->AddressBook (I forget the details of where exactly it is)
  • copy the AddressBook back to your MBP and change ownership on it (if you are root) so that it can be read/written to by "keith"
  • re-login as "keith" and move the AddressBook to same location on your MBP "/Users/keith/Library/Application Support" (I think)
  • you will be asked to overwrite - go ahead if you want to turf the old AddressBook
  • open your contacts and voila! all should be well after that...

Please note that I had to do the the above because I had to restore contacts from a time machine backup drive of an old MBP to a new one (and the old MBP was dead, so I could not simply export contacts from it...).


As far as I can ascertain, all the data is stored in ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/

Might be safest to zip the existing structure (if any) & copy the backup in its entirety to that location, rather than try pick bits out of it. I'm uncertain what checksumming/history it might keep in each file.

Also, I'm not sure how much iCloud might want to argue with that change :(

  • ok -- it's just that on my macbook pro with yosemite installed, i can't see anything that looks like "AddressBook" in the folder called "Application Support" -- that's why i asked specifically regarding yosemite (10.10) of OS X – keith Nov 10 '14 at 15:48
  • @keith The ~ stands for your home folder, i. e. /Users/keith/. Normally Library is invisible. You can paste the path given in the answer after pressing cmd + shift + g in Finder. Once you are in that Folder, enter Time Machine. – n1000 Aug 29 '15 at 18:19

If you have removed contacts in Contacts and want to restore them and have Time Machine backups.

  • Open up the Contacts app.
  • Enter Time Machine by using the drop down Menu "Enter Time Machine" in the TM menu bar.

You can now browse through previous contacts, select and restore them.

When you restore, the contacts app will ask you if you want to add #n cards to Contacts.

As far as I know this has always been possible in previous OS X versions. Although I just tested this to make sure on El Capitan.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .