Running Catalina 10.15.7 on a mid 2013 Mac Air. When I open the Contacts app, it seems to open ok except that there is no content in any of the three columns. The search box and 'add contact' (plus sign) button are there, but that's it. When I open preferences, all my accounts and their settings are listed correctly. Contacts all show up fine in my iCloud (through browser) and iPhone Contacts app. I reinstalled Catalina just this morning. Everything else seems to be working normally. How can I make Contacts love me again? Thanks!

1 Answer 1


After a very frustrating, fruitless journey through all the online suggested fixes I could find, I eventually figured out the problem, somewhat by accident. Apparently, my system had two versions of the Contacts app installed, one that worked and one that didn't. I'm not sure how this happened but I have an idea.

I keep my frequently used apps, including Contacts, in categorized folders within the Programs system folder. I drag these folders to my dock and open everything from there. The nonfunctional version of Contacts was in the dock folder. The functional version was in its default place in the Programs folder. Maybe the docked version became 'disconnected' from the contacts system database when I upgraded to Catalina and a new version of Contacts was installed in Programs?

To fix the problem, all I had to do was delete the nonfunctional version of Contacts and move the functional one to the dock where the old one used to be. Everything works as normal now.

  • Trying to move system apps is a bad idea. If you must, use aliases.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Feb 15 at 18:16

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