Contacts disappearing or not syncing with iCloud under iOS 7.1.2? Here's the fix!

Contacts disappearing or not syncing with iCloud under iOS 7.1.2? Here's the fix!

Did you add a contact to your iPhone running iOS 7.1.2 only to find that it doesn't show up in your Contacts app? Or perhaps it isn't syncing to your other devices via iCloud like it's supposed to. I recently had a friend experience this issue and a few days later I did too. As it turns out, the problem isn't actually iCloud at all. Luckily, the fix is super simple!

How to default back to saving new contacts to iCloud

For most folks experiencing this problem, the issue is that their iPhone or iPad somehow defaults to the On my iPhone contacts group after upgrading to iOS 7.1.2. The problem actually isn't iCloud sync at all. This explains why they aren't showing up across devices as well. All you've got to do to fix the issue is change the default in Settings back to iCloud.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars — you'll need to scroll down a ways.
  3. Under Contacts, tap on Default Account.
  4. Make sure iCloud is selected and NOT On my iPhone.

Unfortunately, there's no way to toggle where contacts are saved to after adding them so to get the missing contacts into iCloud, you'll need to copy the numbers and create new entries after you've defaulted back to iCloud syncing. Here's how to find the missing contacts so you know which ones you need to re-add:

How to weed out disappearing contacts on your iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Phone app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on Groups at the top left.
  3. Uncheck All iCloud and check All on My iPhone.
  4. Tap Done at the top.
  5. You should now see a list of all the contacts that aren't syncing or are missing from other devices.

For most folks, the problem group will be All on My iPhone. Once you have a list of who you need to re-add, just be sure you have iCloud selected under groups before re-adding. The easiest way to make sure is to hide the On My iPhone group again.

If you've had strange issues with contact syncing under iOS 7.1.2, give the above steps a try and see if you can not only find your missing contacts, but fix the issue permanently.

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

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Contacts disappearing or not syncing with iCloud under iOS 7.1.2? Here's the fix!


Um, "Default Account" is not listed under Contacts on my 5s running 7.1.2

"All iCloud" and "All on My iPhone" are not listed in the phone app under Groups, either.

S'up wit dat?!

The Default Account only appears if you have more than one "account" containing contacts (where "On my iPhone" is counted as one of the accounts). If you do not have the Default Account field, then you're only syncing with one account (or are only using the "On my iPhone" account).

I saw this "On my iPhone" thing happen one time before on a client phone (a few years ago) after a minor update. Not sure what causes it, but it's not completely unheard of.

I had this problem for the past week and wondered why my contacts didn't save properly, thanks for the help!

Sent from the iMore App

Could this be only for GSM phones and Sim Cards because my sprint version doesn't have it??

Sent from the iMore App

I have Sprint phone, and I have the same concern. I don't see an "on my iphone" selection. I have a few contact locations (google, yahoo, icloud) - when I make a change to my icloud contacts on my iphone, I don't see the change in my icloud or on my ipad. When I select icloud contacts as default on all my devices, there is a different number of total contacts on each device.

No Default Option as i sync using iTunes. But i noticed recently that the text of my Contact list was showing in 'Italics' from time to time. It stays Regular/Bold as set but Italics is a mystery as there is no option to enable it. Anyone ?

I've recently experienced this problem after moving to iOS 8. I had already done the above last week, but as I was still having issues I decided to sign out of iCloud and then back in, in the hope this may also help.

Since then I no longer actually have the Default Account option in the Settings (although it was there earlier) and no longer have the Groups option in Contacts (just the refresh icon).

OMG!!!!! Thank you so much! I couldn't figure out why recently my added contacts were not syncing into icloud. I've wasted so much time on this until you!

Thank you for this info, exactly my problem. Good to know it won't happen again since I know about it now, I hope! Unfortunately I lost some contacts and don't know all that I have lost, especially the places I put in on the fly to remember. Alas.
I did however want to share a way to copy the addresses from the on my iPhone to the iCloud group. Personally I hate copying and pasting since you have to do it entry by entry.
So, my short cut is to
1) bring up the phone app and follow the 5 steps per the article
2) tap on an address in the on my iPhone list
3) tap on share the contact
4) message it to your iPhone/iPad
5) stay in the phone app list, after the contact arrives tap Edit
6) delete that contact
7) go to iMessage and tap on the contact received
8) tap create new contact (of course you have done the default to iCloud )
9) tap Done and move on to the next!

Not too fun but way less annoying than copy pasting each entry!

Hi Allyson,

In step 4 of changing back the default, the 2 options I have are "Gmail" and "On my iPhone". There is no iCloud option. How do I fix this?


Thanks so much Allyson, this was helpful. I realized all my contacts were under my Exchange account though there was no account called "On my iPhone". Is there a way I can move all these contacts from my "Exchange" account to "iCloud" in a quicker way than re-adding all of them?

HI i tried to restore through iCloud as mentioned above my contacts on iPhone 5S but it does n t work cause I only get 1/3 of contacts(i transferred all contacts from iPhone 4S on iCloud) and when I try your other procedure for contacts not sync I actually do not have a default setting to select?? on the iPhone 5 S( i checked iPhone 4 S , it has!) same thing with "group " contacts it is not there on the 5S but is on 4S. so please what do I need to do where can I find it or how to restore it??
Thank you for your help.