Sunday, April 10, 2011

Duplicate Contacts Calendars with MobileMe iPhone

I signed up for Mac MobileMe after it was first released and I am hooked. I love being able to sync  photos, contacts, and calendars in the cloud. Everything is automatically 'pushed' to your devices to keep your constantly changing information in sync. Add a new contact and there it is, already in sync on all of your Mac devices and in Outlook on your PC. I love not
having to connect my iPhone to the computer to sync data.

The new Find My iPhone is a great addition. If you misplace your iPhone, you can sign into your MobileMe account from another device and find its location. I tested it and it works like a charm.

Unfortunately, with anything tech related, if the device settings are not correct, problems are likely to occur. I have been walking around with duplicate iPhone entries in my address book for quite some time. Not all, but most of my contacts were duplicated. My Calendar also had a number of duplicate entries.  The following is a description of what I did to get rid of the duplicates and set the data straight on ALL of my devices.

According to Apple, duplicates can occur when you sign up for MobileMe. A dialog appears asking you to merge your data. If you choose NOT to merge, the calendars and data will be kept separate causing  duplicate entries. The duplicate information also occurs if you have iTunes set up to sync calendars and contacts. It is logical that you DO NOT need to sync calendars and contacts in iTunes, if you have MobileMe.

Before you do anything, sign into MobileMe and determine where your Contacts and/or Calendars are duplicated. Where is the data correct and up to date? Is it in MobileMe, on your Mac, or in your iPhone? Once you have determined exactly where the problem is, then you can start troubleshooting.

First, you should back up your Calendar and Contacts by launching the application and choosing File and Export!!! You can NEVER have enough backups!

note: If you have corrupt data in all places, I suggest you call an Apple Support technician to assist in more advanced troubleshooting since multiple variables are involved. Ultimately, you might have to restore your iPhone to factory settings and re-enable your MobileMe account and then do further troubleshooting to resolve the issues.

Itunes - Connect your iPhone to the computer. Open iTunes. Go to the iTunes Summary tab and click the Check for Update button to get the latest release of iTunes. Go to the Info tab - Turn off syncing for Contacts and Address Books.

Mac - Go to System Preferences on the Mac. Choose MobileMe. Choose Sync Manually and check off the problem items just to make sure nothing syncs automatically while you are working.

Mac - If your Address book has duplicates, launch the app and choose Card. Select Look for Duplicates. This will get rid of your contact duplicates by merging the contact data and dismissing the redundant information.
iPhone - Go to Settings on the iPhone. Choose Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Select the MobileMe account. Turn off whatever problem you are working with at the moment, be it Contacts or Calendars. You should only try to repair one problem at a time.

A dialog appears asking you what to do with the previously synced MobileMe contacts on your iPhone. Select Delete from My iPhone.
This deletes your iPhone contacts. Don't worry, the contacts are still in your MobileMe account in the cloud.

Next, turn Contacts slider back On to re-enable syncing with MobileMe. Choose to Merge with MobileMe.

Voila! Your contacts should be back and duplicates gone.

Sometimes while syncing with MobileMe, you may receive a message that the system is unable to sync because of inconsistent data. Try to Reset Sync Data on Mobile Me if your data is up to date and correct on either MobileMe or your computer. note: if you have the new MobileMe Calendar, don't try resetting your sync data to reset your calendar. You should use these Apple troubleshooting steps for troubleshooting the new MobileMe Calendar,

To reset MobileMe sync data, follow these steps as instructed on the Apple site. Choose the computer where you want to Reset Sync Data. A replace pop-up menu lets you choose what data you want to replace and whether you want the MobileMe data replaced with your computer data, or vice versa.

After you have everything set up correctly, you can reset Mobile Me in System Preferences on your Mac, to Sync Automatically.


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  1. nice! thanks for the info

    Broken iPhone

  2. Your tip about MobileMe saved me about a day of arranging my contacts and calendar. Thanks for sharing.


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