I have two exchange accounts on my iPhone 4. One that connects to my gmail, the other connects to my work's Lotus Notes. There are no overlapping contacts in the two accounts. There are also no contacts saved locally on my phone.

When I enable contacts in both accounts, I get two identical entries for each of the contacts in my gmail. If I disable the Notes exchange account, then there are no more duplicates. If I have Notes contacts enabled, and gmail contacts disabled then I have no contacts at all.

Does anyone know what is going on? Is this a problem with having multiple exchange accounts or is it a Lotus Traveler problem? (I tend to blame Notes for all the trouble in the world, but that is just my bias)

Thanks all.

  • same problem here (2 dif. accounts on traveler)... got it to work but don't know how... works on my iphone but cannot recreate it on another iphone...
    – Bart
    Feb 8, 2011 at 1:17

1 Answer 1


The data stores can get confused. It's usually a server issue but you seem to have narrowed that out by the details you posted.

Giving the iPhone a totally fresh database then re-establishing sync often helps when the databases are failing to sync correctly.

Since there is no way to just start over for contacts only, you have a short dance of steps.

  1. Disable all contact syncing over the air.
  2. Power cycle the phone
  3. Use a test account (i make a new user account on my mac with an empty address book) - syncing from iTunes to overwrite all contacts stored on the phone clears the data store well. You can have iTunes only overwrite the contacts and not affect any other data on the iPhone.
  4. Sync back to your main iTunes if desired, then finally re-enable contact sync over the air.

Since the contact database gets restored from a backup, restoring the phone won't cure contact database errors. If you can re-set up the phone, you could restore and set it up as a new device also.

  • Out of curiosity - do you have Smart Traveler or just experienced a similar issue in another context?
    – rafraf
    Jun 20, 2011 at 5:49
  • I rarely (and not currently) work with exchange. Sadly I've never used smart traveler so only have an educated research. I have seen hundreds of phones with corrupt contacts databases where enabling or disabling an account produces surprising results. So lots of similar issues and generally clearing the database helps. Often it fixes the issue, but if not it also squarely points the blame to a systematic software conflict.
    – bmike
    Jun 20, 2011 at 16:27
  • I will give this a go. I was concerned because when the problem first started occurring I was in a position to clear and recreate my contacts and the duplication always came back... but I will try this. Thanks.
    – rafraf
    Jun 22, 2011 at 5:51

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