Solved - Missing synced contacts on new iPhone 8

The parents both got new iPhone 8’s for Christmas. I figured it’d take 10 minutes to tranfer them from a 5s and a 6 respectively. Boy was I wrong.

Five hours later I finally had them both working ok. Hopefully this post will save you some of my pain with these magical seamless awesome incredible devices (as Tim likes to call them).

  • Builtin transfer process - Make sure you have Bluetooth on. This also only transfers a few settings. Completely pointless. But ooh pretty picture.
  • iCloud tansfer - here is where 95% of the pain was. Apple insists on lumping everything together into one 5GB bucket unless you pay them. So if some idiotic app uses up all of your 5GB then Apple doesn’t sync your contacts. Who makes product decisions like this? So you go through endless cycles of enabling and disabling apps on iCloud until all that’s left are Contacts and the backup finally doesn’t get stuck saying 8 minutes remaining for an hour. But the Contacts still don’t appear on the new phone
  • iTunes transfer - Of course you have to spend an hour updating iTunes on a slow spare laptop before you can do anything. And it always fails on the first update. And the contacts refuse to appear inside iTunes or Windows Contacts.

At this point you’ll be despairing of ever fixing the problem and maybe having to manually input hundreds of contacts because Apple doesn’t believe in import/export or filesystems or giving people understandable error messages. Or logs.

So you start playing around inside Contacts on the old phone. Hmm, what are “Groups”? And why is there an iPhone Group and a Google Group? What happens if I untick the Google one? Oh, all the contacts disappear.

For fucks sake.

When my Dad switched from Android to iPhone, we obviously pulled his contacts across. At no point did we think these would be treated “differently”. And when we setup the new iPhone, all that Apple AI thought to itself “he has hundreds of contacts in that group and none in his iPhone group. Fuck him, we’re not transferring any of those”. Again who in Apple is making product decisions like this?

Solution? Add the same Google account on the new phone. Contacts appear instantly. Resist urge to throw iPhone out of window. Oh and note that setting up GMail on that phone with the same credentials is not the same as adding a Google account. Set reminder in Google Calendar for 2 years time with a link to this blogpost.

This company will be worth 1 trillion dollars next year.

Long post coming soon on how utterly awful the mobile user experience is on both iOS and Android after 10 years of throwing features into slippery fragile glass slabs.

Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland