I have several iDevices that I use: iPad, iPhone and an iPod, all of which sync contacts with iCloud. I am experiencing the phenomenon where I update a contact on my iPhone and instead of syncing the new data to iCloud where the other devices can pick it up, the phone is pulling the old data down from iCloud and over-writing the updates I just made.

Any ideas what the problem could be?

  • Workaround: log into iCloud.com with a regular browser and try updating there.
    – Tyson
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 20:03

6 Answers 6


Hmmm... In general when I run into syncing problems like this I'll log in on icloud.com with my Mac to see what's in the cloud (versus what my devices show).

For problematic devices it's recommended to remove the account (or just disable Contacts from iCloud in this case). When prompted, choose to delete the local data. After a few minutes enable it again and then be patient everything syncs.


I found the issue was due to Linked Contacts and using multiple email contact accounts.

Solution 1: Scroll to the bottom of the contact when editing, select the linked contacts and edit them in turn. Note, when editing a linked contact there is the option to remove it as well.

Solution 2: Stop iOS devices using multiple contact sources (gmail, iCloud, outlook etc.) and chose ONE of these - I suspect iCloud best. Give this some thought as you may 'lose' contacts from your device although they'll still be in that account (unless you remove the duplicates using solution 1 first) 'Settings > Contacts > Default' will let you chose default contacts account. 'Settings > Accounts & Passwords' will let you control what accounts are accessed for what purposes.

Hope this helps.


I've had this problem as well. My problem is that I changed the ringtone of my wife to ALARM so I could hear it on a noisy day and wanted to change it back. I deleted the European numbers associated with the contact and changed the ringtone to the default. After a random amount of time, it reverted to ALARM and added the erased European numbers. Hmm.

Go to the contact. Tap edit. Scroll to the bottom. See if the contact is LINKED to another contact. In my case "Baby" (my wife) was LINKED to another contact called "Baby" that had that European number. Somehow it kept reverting and merging the two. Not only that, it would say "Call from Baby or two others" each time the ALARM would sound. I just erased the LINKED contact and changed the ringtone again. Hopefully this is the answer.


I have the same problem, but attribute it to poorly formed contacts that I have been dragging around for over a decade, migrating from one system to another, to another, and so on.

I now just create a new contact when I want to edit an old one, manually duplicating the various fields, then deleting the old contact.


For me I had iCloud contacts and gmail contacts, they are somewhat the same contacts, but I had to disable the iCloud group - edit the contact (the gmail one), then disable gmail group and enable iCloud - edit the contact, then re-enable gmail contact group.


It seems to happen a lot, if you sync with Google (or maybe even iCloud), what works for me is to Disable Google DAV cards in Contacts preferences (and maybe the iCloud one in your case.. And you can turn it straight on again afterwards with no issue - in fact keep the Contacts preferences open, uncheck the "Enable this account", create/update your contact, and then check the box again and you're done)

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