I'm discovering the Contacts process is a mess. Even worse, it all looks pretty cool, the hidden complications can mess you up. Read on.

I've learned the default account can be set to either iCloud or the device when new contacts are created.

If it's set to the device, new contacts won't sync to iCloud. The process appears the same no matter how it is set. So, it's easy to create a new contact, and it's natural to expect it will sync by default, but maybe it won't.

Two question. 1) How do I identify the non-synching contacts on my device? 2) Once I do, how do I set them as iCloud contacts, so they will sync? Or do I have to re-input them?

2 Answers 2


There are apps which let you manage the contacts (on device, icloud, etc) directly on the phone. I've used the one linked below to do just that. (Create a contact, and remember to copy it to the other side). In the Contacts app, contacts which are in both the device (which is synced to the non-icloud computer) and icloud are shown as "unified info" when the data matches up, and at the bottom of the contact is a link to both cards.



One thing to know, even though this doesn't answer your entire questions, is that the contacts that exist only Only Your Mac, in Contacts on the Mac, can simply be dragged and dropped onto All iCloud, under the iCloud list, or onto whatever group you like. And if it's a duplicate, Contacts will ask you if you really want to import it.

Why there are these two different sections in Contacts, I'm not sure anyone but Apple-in-their-wisdom knows.

But conversely, dragging individuals or Groups to On My Mac provides a handy local copy of your contacts, should something go amiss with iCloud, hard as that is to imagine.

  • For 10.6, this is not an option, because Apple won't let us use the iCloud.
    – Kent
    Jul 18, 2013 at 5:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .