Why are my iTunes contacts not syncing with my iPhone?

Having your contacts synced properly between iTunes and your iPhone is important for staying organized and connected. However, sometimes contacts get out of sync and don’t transfer over correctly. There are a few potential reasons why your iTunes contacts aren’t syncing to your iPhone and some steps you can take to fix it.

Quick Answer

Here are some quick things to check if your iTunes contacts aren’t syncing to your iPhone:

  • Make sure Contacts syncing is enabled in iTunes
  • Check that the same Apple ID is signed into both iTunes and your iPhone
  • Confirm you have enough iCloud storage if you use iCloud Contacts
  • Update to the latest iOS software version on your iPhone
  • Force quit and re-open iTunes on your computer
  • Try disabling Contacts syncing and re-enabling it

Possible Causes of iTunes Contacts Not Syncing

Contacts Syncing Disabled in iTunes

The most common reason for contacts not syncing properly is having Contacts syncing disabled in iTunes. To enable it:

  1. Open iTunes on your computer and connect your iPhone
  2. Select your iPhone icon in iTunes
  3. Go to the Info tab
  4. Check the box next to “Sync Contacts” to enable contact syncing

Different Apple IDs Signed In

iTunes and your iPhone must be signed into the same Apple ID for contact syncing to work properly. If you use different Apple IDs, your contacts may not transfer over.

  • Make sure you are signed into the same Apple ID in iTunes as on your iPhone
  • You can check this under Account > View My Account in iTunes
  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > [your name] to see the signed in Apple ID

Not Enough iCloud Storage

If you use iCloud Contacts on your iPhone, you’ll need sufficient iCloud storage for syncing to work properly.

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud on your iPhone
  • Check that you have enough storage remaining
  • Upgrade your iCloud storage plan if needed

Software Version Out of Date

Make sure your iPhone is updated to the latest iOS version. Software updates sometimes include bug fixes for syncing issues.

  • Go to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone
  • Install any available iOS updates

Corrupted iTunes Library

In some cases, your iTunes library may become corrupted and cause contact syncing problems. Trying the following may help:

  • Force quit iTunes on your computer then re-open it
  • Disable and re-enable Contacts syncing in iTunes
  • Sign out of iTunes and sign back in on your computer

How to Troubleshoot iTunes Contact Syncing Issues

If contacts still aren’t syncing properly after checking the common causes, here are some steps to troubleshoot further:

1. Update and Restart Devices

As a first step, install any available updates and restart your iPhone and computer:

  • On your iPhone, install iOS updates in Settings > General > Software Update
  • Update iTunes to the latest version on your computer
  • Power cycle both devices by turning them fully off and back on

2. Check Sync Settings

Carefully review your sync settings in iTunes on your computer:

  1. Open iTunes and connect your iPhone
  2. Select your iPhone icon
  3. Go to the Info tab
  4. Confirm “Sync Contacts” is checked
  5. Select which contacts groups you want to sync
  6. Ensure “Sync only selected contacts” is not checked

3. Disable and Re-Enable Syncing

Try turning syncing off and back on. This resets things and often fixes issues:

  1. In iTunes, uncheck “Sync Contacts” to disable it
  2. Apply this change and let syncing finish
  3. Re-check “Sync Contacts” to re-enable it
  4. Sync your iPhone again

4. Sign Out of iCloud

If using iCloud Contacts, sign out of iCloud on your devices then sign back in:

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > [your name] and tap Sign Out
  • Sign out of iCloud on your computer if signed in
  • Enter your Apple ID and password to sign back into iCloud
  • Wait for contacts to sync back over iCloud

5. Sync With One Group

Narrow down syncing to just one contact group:

  1. In iTunes, select only one contacts group to sync
  2. Sync your iPhone
  3. If that group syncs correctly, the issue is with other groups
  4. Slowly enable syncing for other groups until you find the problem group

6. Restore From Backup

As a last resort, restore your iPhone from a backup:

  • Create an up to date iTunes or iCloud backup if you don’t have one
  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Reset and choose “Erase All Content and Settings”
  • Follow prompts to restore your phone from the backup
  • Sync contacts again once restoration is complete

Preventing iTunes Contact Syncing Problems

Here are some tips to help prevent iTunes contact syncing issues in the future:

Update Your Devices Regularly

Keep your iPhone and iTunes up to date so you always have the latest bug fixes and improvements for syncing.

Limit Contacts Synced

If you have a very large contacts list, try limiting it to syncing only your most important groups or contacts.

Keep Backups Current

Regularly back up your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud so you always have a working backup to restore from if needed.

Avoid Unsigned Apps

Stick to installing apps from the official App Store. Unsigned or third-party apps can sometimes disrupt syncing.

Use a Sync Automation App

Apps like iSyncr can automatically sync your contacts both ways between services like iTunes, iCloud, and Gmail.

When to Contact Apple Support

If you still can’t get your contacts to sync properly after trying all troubleshooting steps, reach out to Apple Support:

  • You can get support online at https://support.apple.com
  • Contact Apple Support by phone at 1-800-275-2273
  • Make a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store for in-person help

Apple’s support team can provide specialized assistance for stubborn iTunes and iCloud contact syncing problems.

Third Party Apps to Sync Contacts

If the built-in contact syncing between iTunes and your iPhone isn’t working, third party apps provide alternative ways to sync your contacts:


  • Syncs contacts two-way between iTunes, iCloud and Android
  • Also syncs calendars, notes, push notifications and more
  • Free lite version available, paid upgrades unlock premium features
  • Works over WiFi so no cables required

Google Contacts

  • Syncs contacts via your Google account
  • Lets you manage contacts online from any browser
  • Syncing handled through cloud rather than direct iTunes connection


  • Automates transferring contacts between accounts
  • Syncs bi-directionally with iCloud, Gmail, Facebook and more
  • Lets you merge duplicate contacts
  • Free version with paid Premium upgrade

These apps provide reliable alternatives if you can’t get the built-in iTunes contact sync process working properly.

Frequently Asked Questions About iTunes Contact Syncing

Why are my contacts showing up twice on my iPhone?

Duplicate contacts usually mean you have the same contact stored in iCloud and also syncing from iTunes or another account. Turn off contact syncing in iTunes to rely solely on iCloud instead.

Some contacts aren’t syncing from iTunes to iPhone – why?

Check that you don’t have “Sync selected contacts only” enabled in iTunes. Ensure all contact groups you want to transfer are checked.

What do I do if my contacts disappear from my iPhone?

First restore your iPhone from a recent backup to retrieve missing contacts. Then check iTunes to confirm your contacts are still stored there before syncing again.

Why does syncing contacts from iTunes take so long?

Large contacts lists, slow internet connections, outdated software and low device storage can all make syncing contacts take longer. Try limiting synced contacts and upgrading devices and internet speeds.

How do I backup iPhone contacts without iTunes?

You have a few options to backup iPhone contacts without iTunes:

  • Sync contacts to iCloud automatically
  • Manually export contacts to a VCF file then export from iPhone
  • Use a third party app like iSyncr to sync contacts elsewhere

Why won’t my contacts from Android sync to iPhone?

You’ll need to use a third party app to transfer contacts from Android. The Move to iOS app can transfer contacts during initial device setup. iSyncr also syncs contacts between Android and iOS.


Keeping your contacts properly synced between your iPhone and iTunes is important for staying connected and organized on the go. If your iTunes contacts aren’t appearing on your iPhone, double check your sync settings, update your devices, restart them, and review troubleshooting steps. Reach out to Apple support if issues persist after trying self-help fixes. Alternative contact syncing apps can also provide potential workarounds when direct iTunes syncing fails repeatedly.