Symptoms: I've got a user with 3,051 contacts in his exchange account. We use exchange online. He is able to see and sync his contacts with the Outlook app and his iPhone (running latest iOS, 14 I think?). He has had this issue for over 6 months now on multiple computers and multiple OS versions, all Macs.

Specifically, when we add his exchange account to the Contacts app, either they never sync, or a fraction of them sync. (On macOS 10.12 he gets 900 of them, on macOS 11 he gets 0)

Goal: My user wants his contacts to appear in Contacts, because he uses the Messages app to text, and wants to see who is messaging him. This is a corporate account so we want to keep all the contacts in Exchange unless we have no other options.

I've tried:

  1. Adding and removing the account.
  2. Moving all contacts into a folder. (This worked last year but not anymore)
  3. Creating a new contact in multiple places to see if it syncs. If I make it in Contacts it syncs. If I make it anywhere else, nothing.


  1. Is there a way to check the sync status of Contacts within the Contacts app?
  2. Failing #1, is there a log somewhere I can look at with details about the sync process?
  3. Failing #1 and #2, are there other tools out there we can use as an intermediary between Contacts and his Exchange account?

1 Answer 1


I am not sure whether this is the same issue or if your user has a different bug (triggered by having a ton of contacts), but I had a similar issue after reinstalling Monterey where none of my existing Exchange contacts would sync but modified ones (over the web UI or other devices) would appear. Toggling "contacts" in the Internet Accounts preferences pane did nothing even with a reboot in between, it seems like the contacts infrastructure just got stuck in some broken state and needed a reset.

What worked for me:

  • Disable "Contacts" in the Internet Accounts preferences pane and close preferences (as there is no explicit "save" button I assume closing it is what commits the changes)
  • Run rm Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook/ in a Terminal - note that you will lose all local contacts and any local changes that haven't been synced - it may be preferable to mv it to a backup directory just in case.
  • Enable "Contacts" in the preferences pane and give it some time - in my case the contacts magically appeared all at once after a minute.
  • Thanks André. This drowe me nuts. Your solution almost worked. I had to delete the account and recreate it. Only disabling/enabling the account didnt trigger the sync.
    – Michael
    Feb 21, 2023 at 12:49

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