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My husband and I sync contacts across iPhones, iPad, MacBook Air and iMac. The base account was his, so in my contacts/settings/default account some years ago, I entered his Apple ID. Now, whilst my cloud syncs info entered on iMac and MacBook Air to my iPhone, it no longer syncs from the iPhone.

My husband's entries, meanwhile, sync to my iMac/MacBook Air, but not to my iPhone. Entries I make on my iPhone now go nowhere other than staying on the iPhone. I have tried changing the default account in my iPhone/contacts/settings to iCloud but that doesn't help. It feels as though a previous 'fetch and push' between the two IDs no longer functions via the iPhones.

How do I setup a system that achieves the desired result?

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This is always a complicated question and the answer is usually a puzzle that boils down to a per/user-setup basis.

Before I can give you a proper answer, I'm going to need some clarification on your setup. I will need you to correct me and/or fill in the blanks on any assumptions I may make about your setup.

Can you please elaborate on

so in my contacts/settings/default account some years ago, I entered his Apple ID.

Where did you enter his apple ID? In your iPhone, on your iPad, iMac, MBAir etc.? Does that Apple ID continue to be on the device it was originally entered in?

Furthermore, (correct me if I am wrong),it seems like your setup goes as follows:

  1. Your husband and you share a "household" ipad, macbook air, and imac. Then, each of you have your own seperate iPhones. True/false?
  2. On each of your phones, you and your husband are both logged into icloud (Iphone>Settings>Accounts & Passwords>Accounts>icloud address) using your individual "WifeiCloudaddress@icloud.com" and "husbandiCloudaddress@icloud.com" accounts. True/False?
  3. On each of your iPhones, under the "Iphone>Settings>Accounts & Passwords" screen, there are no other accounts that your phone is linked to, ONLY, your icloud accounts. T/F?
  4. On each of your iPhones, under Iphone>Settings>Accounts & Passwords>iCloud>yourname, you have the "Contacts" ticker ticked to on (should be green". T/F?
  5. On your ipad, macbook air, and iMac, under "System Preferences>iCloud" you are logged into icloud as "husbandicloudaddress@icloud.com". T/F?
  6. On your ipad, macbook air, and iMac, under "System Preferences>Internet Accounts" you are logged in with "husbandiCloudaddress@icloud.com" as the primary icloud address, and below that "wifeiCloudaddress@icloud.com" as a secondary icloud address. T/F?
  7. Neither of you are not syncing contacts on any of your devices through gmail,outlook, or any other cloud services are you?

There still may be more details that I need to know but they aren't coming to me right now. If you think of any other specifics (extra accounts/family sharing, gmail,outlook,etc.), please elaborate and let me know.

  • Thank you for responding. I (actually the man in the Apple shop) entered my husband's apple id on all my equipment (my Iphone, my MBAir, my iMac into settings/contacts/Default Account. – jack2244 Sep 15 '18 at 11:07
  • Hi I wrote a full reply but am not sure that it went through, possibly I did not do it in the correct place. Shall I resend it? – jack2244 Sep 15 '18 at 12:26
  • The only reply i see is " Thank you for responding. I (actually the man in the Apple shop) entered my husband's apple id on all my equipment (my Iphone, my MBAir, my iMac into settings/contacts/Default Account. –" If you wrote something else, please resend it. – DanRan Sep 16 '18 at 4:09
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+50

This is one of the more challenging setups to get right.

It used to be that 3-way sync was a logistical nightmare, and you're looking to do at least a 5-way sync.

Thankfully, Apple and a few other companies have been dealing with this for a while and have mostly gotten the hang of it, but I will caution you before you commit fully that there are risks: One device may update the phone number for a contact and that might get reset by another device, a device may mess up the sync and lose contacts, then sync that loss across all devices (much less likely in the past 5 years, but still a chance), one device may need to be re-set up, and knowing the risks you may feel dread at the process, etc.

With that to the side: there is only 1 general way to do this, and a myriad of companies to choose.

You must use a central host for your contacts, with all devices talking directly to it.

Of course, with Apple, this the iCloud account. This could also be a Gmail account, or some other contact-hosting service. It could even be a generic MS Exchange server.


Going with the setup you've already detailed, it seems your best choice is to wipe accounts on the non-syncing iPhone and re-do them: starting with your own, making sure contact sync is OFF, then adding your husband's AppleID and making sure contact sync is ON.

Any additional accounts need to have contact sync off to prevent problems in future.

I would also suggest that you choose to wipe you phone's contacts before you add his AppleID, allowing his contact list to anchor in as the baseline.

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