Has anyone noticed some/many Contacts have garbage field-like data being appended to certain fields?
For example, numerous persons in Contacts have phone numbers, addresses, even memo fields with text like “X-SOCIALPROFILE;type=facebook;x-user=”, or “United StatesX-SOCIALPROFILE” for the Country field.
Things I’ve done:
Looks like you have imported poorly formatted vCards containing someone’s contacts. Contact formats apparently are a mess. The following ancient article says you can export the bad contact, look at it in a plain text editor, fix it up or delete parts if you can spot what’s wrong, and re-import it into your Apple Contacts. Then delete the bad contact.
The sad story of the vCard format and its lack of interoperability
EDIT: Actually, it was this site that said “While tedious and a little annoying, you can export the contact card, edit it manually in a text editor, and then import it back into contacts.”
Thank you for the input. The data in that article looks familiar.
I wish I had imported, or taken a known action. The fields are ‘magically’ updating. Today I found more contacts with ‘social profile’, so I simply deleted those contacts, AND, deleted the Facebook app from the iPhone [which did not have permissions on Contacts]. My thinking in deleting the Facebook app is, maybe there is some cruft passed along from prior iOS versions that transferred across phone upgrades. [I do not normally start from scratch when I get a new iPhone – I typically transfer the data for ease of use.]
2023-01-14 Update: Contacts data continues to ‘reset’ labels and add garbage to certain fields.
- randomly, a Contact with multiple phone numbers will be updated so all labels = ‘phone’. The effect is, when I go to text the person, I have no idea what phone I am texting. I’ll correct the fields and within a couple days, those labels might revert to the generic ‘phone’ label
- My personal card updates so that my ‘Home’ address label disappears. The effect is, the iPhone no longer knows where I live. Telling Maps to ‘take me home’ doesn’t work. And there is no ‘Home’ in the Favorites area of iOS Maps
- Many address labels in Contacts have data like this in the ‘Country or Region’ field: "United Statesitem2.X-ABADR:USitem2.X-APPLE-SUBLOCALITY:redacted Parkitem2.X-APPLE-SUBADMINISTRATIVEAREA:redacted
I spoke with Apple and they ultimately suggested Resetting All Settings, or Backing Up and restoring the phone from scratch – neither of which I wish to do (yet…)
Are all of your contacts on the iCloud.com website? Are the unwanted X-fields and the undifferentiated labels also on the iCloud.com website?
If yes, you might consider disabling iCloud just for Contacts on every one of your Macs, iPads, iPhones, watches, etc. Then, on the iCloud.com website, edit any entries that need to be fixed.
Then, turn on iCloud for Contacts on, say, your iPhone, wait a bit, and see what happens. What should happen, in my mind, is that the Source of Truth, iCloud.com, should download the correct data to your iPhone.
If the problem persists, it seems time to follow Apple’s advice to reset your device.
If your phone looks good and you don’t get any more bad entries within a reasonable period of time, you should be able to turn on iCloud for Contacts on all your devices.
Here’s an update. Hopefully it will help others who experience this bizarre situation with Apple Contacts.
Below summarizes the timeline, actions, and findings. Thank you again to @karlnyhus for your input. Bottom line: My Contacts are better than what I found, and my confidence in Apple Contacts has taken quite a hit having found some are missing and others with garbage data appended within
Problem Summary: I noticed many Apple Contacts would have garbage data appended to various fields. Garbage data included words such as ‘item’, ‘label’, ‘showas’, and possibly others. Also noticed My Card and others in Contacts would update itself so all the labels would be generic. For example, my ‘Home’ address and various phone numbers would be labeled ‘address’ and ‘phone’. These updates would affect Favorites in Maps, and would affect how I could text others (because I would no longer know which phone number was a ‘mobile’ or ‘iPhone’).
- deleted Signal app from iPhone [trying to determine if another app was making updates]
- Verified my two work computers do not have access to Contacts in Privacy
2023-01-14 [Log all devices out of Contacts and clean them via iCloud]
- noticed labels within Contacts keep resetting to generic labels (e.g., ‘phone’, ‘address’, etc)
- On iPhone, turned off iCloud Contacts, powered iPhone down, then powered on. Goal is to see if iPhone is causing problems
- Performed remote iPhone diagnostics with Apple Support. No problems found by Apple. Apple suggested erasing and restoring, or Resetting All Settings
- Began following @karlnyhus suggestion: disabled iCloud Contacts on the personal iPad, iMac, and iPhone. Edited many many contacts via iCloud.com, using the search words ‘label’ and ‘item’. Deleted numerous contacts that were LinkedIn-only references (ie, had no phone numbers). Deleted some social media references within some of the Contacts, but not all of them. Cleaned up the LinkedIn references where appropriate
2023-01-15 [All mobile devices still logged out of Contacts]
- Finished cleaning contacts, searching for ‘label’, ‘item’, and ‘america’ [some addresses have United States of America’], and ‘showas’ [several fields had ‘showascompany’]
- Waited a few hours and recheck via iCloud.com. I found different results checking at different times. Some that were corrected reappeared…
2023-01-16 [Wait overnight and verify]
- Confirmed that iCloud.com has no contacts with label, item, or showas
- Enabled Contacts on iPhone 13 Pro running 16.2
- Updated My Card via iPhone so phone, address, and email address labels were correct (and not generic)
- LATER THAT DAY: Noticed one contact on iPhone has ‘item’ in a field. Strangely, this contact also had ‘Relationships’ populated to contacts that I do not even have in my phone! I deleted that contact’s ‘relationship’ fields
2023-01-17 [iCloud count different than iPhone count]
- Compared Contact count between iCloud (750) and iPhone (743)
- Found a couple of the missing contacts and reentered them on the iPhone. I was unable to force the missing contacts via iCloud to appear on the phone, thus making me enter them from scratch
- Down to difference of four contacts [frustrating!!]