MobileMe: Losing Contacts, Lost Reviewers?

MobileMe: Apple Apologizes Again

"Another day, another MobileMe problem" is rapidly becoming a -- very tired -- cliche. This time around its with contacts and calendars. Or more accurately -- without them. Yesterday TUAW covered how some users' data would disappear from their iPhone after syncing from MobileMe (to be clear, it would disappear from the iPhone but remain in MobileMe).

Late yesterday evening, Apple posted a status update addressing the issue:

Some MobileMe members may be unable to sync new, edited, or deleted contacts, calendars, and bookmarks over the air between computers and mobile devices (iPhone and iPod Touch). Service will be restored ASAP. We apologize for any inconvenience.

An hour or so later still, Apple updated again:

Apple identified and resolved an issue with MobileMe Sync on iPhone and iPod touch. Although no action is required for most members, some may need to reset their data from MobileMe to sync normally again.

Is it safe yet to call MobileMe the "rockiest" launch in Apple's history? Read on to find out why it just might be...

Even the Big 3 reviewers have been giving MobileMe negative reviews -- quite atypical for anything Apple spun.

Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal says, "Apple's MobileMe is Far Too Flawed to Be Reliable". David Pogue of the New York Times is more blunt, "Apple's MobileMess".

On the plus side, Paul Thurrott reports that the gallery features are now working properly for Windows Users. Small miracles.

To be fair to Apple, they're new Status "Blog" is working towards addressing the concerns about the previously egregious lack of communication, and for my part, MobileMe is doing everything I need it to do -- keeping a laptop, desktop, and iPhone in synch (I hit the sync now menu item on the computers when I make a change, work-around'ing the 15-minute "non-push" problem). Likewise, I'm a big Mac sync and Back to My Mac user, and both have been fine previous to, during, and post transition.

But if I was still one of those 60% of the 1% who were STILL waiting on 90% of their email to be restored -- yup, easy bet -- I'd be feeling differently.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

MobileMe: Losing Contacts, Lost Reviewers?


I was one of the ones who had to reset my Contact data by deleting it off the iphone and then re syncing. VERY frustrating. Just all of the sudden yesterday my Contacts went hay wire on my iphone. Other than being slow the other parts of MobileMe has been working OK for me.

when it first happened to me, I thought I had wiped out half my contacts when editing some details. but it got restored suddenly.
Now, its been almost 24 hours since my contacts have been wiped out of the phone and I haven't found a trick to bring them back from the cloud. Any suggestions?

I just cancelled my Mobile Me service (or lack of service). I started with .Mac and even though I wished for a cheaper email only option, I did enjoy the fact it synchronized
between my Mac's. But Mobile Me not only added features but so far has added a lot of unstableness to the service. It may improve over time, but I for one have little faith in cloud computing. I have a Hotmail account too and they experienced problems not to long ago also. Although I could not get mail for a couple of days, I was not paying for the service ether. Apple has given some credit in the form of subscriber extension. But lost email is not something you can reimburse for. Steve Jobs is a person who pushes his staff beyond reasonable expectations sometimes and it shows up in poorly implemented products.

has anyone figured out how to restore the contacts on your iphone? my contact names are there (titles, company name too) but all contact details are empty.
they appear in my mobileme account online and also within outlook on my PC.
this is strange.

whoops, thanks ncbuilder. went back here to post how i did it not realizing your answered the question already. thanks!

With all the negative press and the failed functionality of Mobile Me, I expected this to happen. Hopefully Apple can get their acts together before they lose more subs.

I had the same problem. Contacts all there with Name and Surname but all information within contact entry had disappeared. Only birthdays and notes had been left untouched.
Although, yes, I did reset the iPhone settings in 'Settings>General>Reset>Reset All Settings'(following phone advice from Apple Support), that didn´t solve the problem. What did solve the problem is that when I went to 'Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendars>' suddenly under my username in the accounts section the only data registered to be synced for the account was 'Mail'. By selecting my account name I realised that out-of-nowhere suddenly only 'Mail' was set to on, while Contacts, Calendars and Bookmarks where all set to 'OFF'. I certainly hadn´t set those up that way, so if you have the problem, before doing all the apple support article steps do yourself a favour and just check that syncing your contacts, etc. hasn´t been disabled by the bug. Good luck and hope it helps.

None of this is working for me. It did on my old iPhone, but I just got the 3G yesterday and I cannot get my contacts to load on the phone--turned sync off and back on, deleted the mm account and set it up again--still, no contacts which are CRITICAL to me. Been an Apple user since the very first Mac, and this is really annoying me!

Followed instructions here a few days ago to restore missing contact info. on old iPhone a few days ago (Contact names were there but details were not.)
But TODAY all contact info. is missing on new 3G iPhone I got yesterday, including names. Tried all steps including deleting and reinstalling MobileMe Account on phone. Nothing works. MobileMe is cool when it works... but this is getting old fast. Anyone have a fix?

WTF??? I thought I had hit a crazy button or something on my phone, I have an original iphone, and HAVE NOT upgraded the software yet. Yesterday afternoon i noticed a call come through and recognized the phone number, but the phone didn't identity the contact...afterwards, noticed that ALL of my contacts were deleted. WTF??? All calendar items were intact...still have not seen any explanation for this. I did notice that about 5 minutes before, my phone looked like it had been taken over and some "AT&T Wireless" thing popped up on the safari browser on my phone, asking me to log phone kinda froze for about maybe 10 secs...make me wonder if this is a hacking problme and/or security breach on the iphone that no one is talking about...I was able to go into itunes and check the advanced boxes at the bottom to replace and overwrite the iphone info with my info from outlook...after a few minutes of syncing, everything is back on my iphone...I have had the iphone since January, and generally love it, best phone i have ever had, then this problem out of the blue...the fact that there are so many posts about this in the last week tells me that Apple has fucked up some how, i do not use mobileme nor have I upgraded the software on itunes or my phone yet...
Have not seen any legit answer to this problem, hopefully it doesn't happen again...

Had to disable Contacts sync from MobileMe and sync with Contacts from Outlook. Nothing else has worked. The Calendar function and the rest work fine in MobileMe.

Just ran the 2.0.2 update. Deleted all my contacts when I tried to add a contact through the iPhone. Very frustrated.

I am having a similar problem with all the phone #, email & address info disappearing from my iPhone. It is fine on my macbook pro & mobileme. I have tried the deleting the mobileme account twice with no luck so far...

Today I noticed that my contacts were not the same on my iPhone 1.0 as they were on my Powerbook 17. This was noticed just after I loaded 2.0.2 into my iPhone. I was actually looking through my powerbook looking for a contact I made last week to buy a new Porsche and could not find him. I know I added him in because the calls he made to me showed his name and picture of the car I am interested in when he called. Finding and reading your blog helped me to see the problem is not just me and led me to corrective action. Thankyou...

HELP! I decide last night to cancel my trial b/c i didntsee any real benefit. So i wake up this morning and all of my contacts have been erased. WTF do i do? Any help is appreciated.

I'm not seeing any posts of this nature since Aug. 30. I've just signed up (and paid, of course) for MobileMe and I'm in the same boat as the rest of you seem to be. Except in addition to my contacts being completely empty, I've also lost all my customized ringtones. Everything else appears to be working fine, however, I've not tried to make a phone call on my iPhone! Does anyone have a solution? Has this problem been fixed or am I at the mercy of having to re enter all my contact info manually? This is very frustrating. C'mon, Apple fix the problem and borrow the credo from the medical profession... FIRST, DO NO HARM!

Wow... I've lit another few hours of precious life on fire dealing with the fact my contacts have disappeared from my iPhone after painfully updating to 2.0.2. If you want to make calls, send and receive emails and manage contacts and a calendar, then a Blackberry worked perfectly for me. But if you want to watch videos on line, then the iPhone works great. Please tell me this is gong to get better.

My MobileMe was definitely corrupting my contacts. Mobile me was deleting phone numbers on my iPhone. I turned off MobileMe syncing on the iPhone and then synced by plugging in my iPhone to my laptop. I then selected sync under the info tab in iTunes and scrolled down to advanced and selected Replace information on this iPhone and checked Contacts. That fixed it. I've turned back on Mobile Me and will see if it happens again.

I have lost all my contacts today. It usually comes back but I never know when!!!! Its bad when you are on the road and need to call someone.

I canceled my mobileme trial period and now all my contacts are gone, so is my calendar. My whole life is dependent on some of the events that i did not manually enter into my planner. Help please!!! I can be reached at Thank you

I can't beleive this is still happening. I have had my iPhone contacts wiped THREE times this week alone. It is completely ridiculous to have to rely on phone numbers that suddenly aren't there when you, or in my case my business, needs them.
What are you doing about it apple? This is no good at all.
One thing I have noticed. It doesn't seem to happen if you don't add any contacts to your iPhone directly.

This is unbelievable.. I also cancelled my mobileme trial and now all my contacts and calendar information has been wiped from my iPhone.
Didn't the software development team consider that maybe before a synch is allowed to DELETE ALL RECORDS from the iPhone's calendar/contacts, maybe there should be some user authorisation?
It doesn't take a genius to work out that a little "All your contacts and calendar information is about to be deleted. Is this OK?" dialogue might be needed here..

Another person reeling after losing all their contacts!
Anyone found a way of retrieving them without paying for a years subscription?

Sorry to seem like I'm speaking to myself but thought I would add this from my conversation with MobileMe Support.
I was basically told I could sign up, export my contacts and then cancel the account. So this is what I did. I logged in and low and behold, no contacts, no mail, no images. This is what I then got told by MobileMe Support:
Sie S: Okay Mr. Blackman, in regards to the information quoted you earlier in regards to your data retention on your account, it only applies to full subscriptions, not trial accounts. So unfortunately, you will not be able to get your contacts. I can go ahead and cancel the account, you will get your refund in 2 to five business days.
Massive Apple FAIL!!

I've recently purchased iphone 3g and all is well. Now have mobileme to sync work/home/phone, but I have been worried about losing contacts in phone after syncing for the first time. After reading all your comments, I don't have much faith in the 'cloud.' thus, i have not starting using mobileme. Any new fixes for the losing contacts problem? I am not having much luck from apple in receiving support...too many hoops to jump thru. Can anyone help me?!

Some similar help needed here.
My GF's computer went broken and she just got her new iPhone and she entered all contacts to it, fair enough. But this morning she tried to use MobileMe to "backup" all her contacts (of course I didn't know about it), now all contacts are gone on her iPhone, and I found no contact at all at her MobileMe web account.
Have tried to turn MobileMe sync off then back on on iPhone, yet it didn't take me anywhere.
Can anyone help??? Thanks heaps for the help in advance.

I just lost ALL my contacts... some 400+ of them... WTF? What am I supposed to do now???

I tried mobile me and did not use it really and did not sync my contacts so after i removed the account before it cost me 60 quid all my contacts have been lost forever all they say is sorry. not good enough removing important information from peoples phone without good warnings must be dodgey!

I bought the family pack with Mobile Me. I synced my phone which did not have any contacts. I set up an account for my husband's phone, made sure I was logged in to his account, triple checked that and made sure the settings were to overwrite mobile me with data from phone. It synced, and then 2 seconds later bounced back to my account without me logging out or in, and wiped out all contacts on my husbands phone (about 400 contacts). Very frustrating.

ok I did it! I found my contacts again after deleting mobile me and losing it ALL!!!! GO HERE IT WORKS!!!!
It's easy to restore the contact information from an iPhone backup. Follow these steps:

  1. Using the iPhone Backup Extractor, restore the file "Libray/AddressBook/AddressBook.sqllitedb". This is a SQL Lite database file with all of your contacts.
  2. Download and run the free SQL Lite database browser.
  3. Open the restored file with the database browser, choose the "Execute SQL" tab and paste this into the "SQL string" field:

select ABPerson.first,ABPerson.last,ABMultiValue.value from ABPerson,ABMultiValue where ABMultiValue.record_id=ABPerson.ROWID

  1. When you press the "Execute Query" button, you will see your full contact list shown in the "Data returned" field.

Hope this helps.

This happened to me the day I cancelled my free trial. So now I can never get my contacts back.

You actually make it appear so easy along with your presentation but I in finding this topic to be actually one thing which I believe I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely large for me. I'm looking forward on your subsequent submit, I'll attempt to get the cling of it!

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