Issues Syncing Outlook and iCloud Contacts

Last reviewed on December 30, 2013

Applies to: Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook 2007

General issues are at iCloud and Outlook Problems and issues specific to Calendar sync are at Calendar Sync Issues. iCloud 2 users should check iCloud 2: What you need to know and iCloud default data files

When you create new contacts in Microsoft Outlook, the contacts may not be added to the iCloud contacts folder. Try clicking the Refresh button. If this doesn't work, you'll need to either move the Contacts or create them in the iCloud Contact folder. See Save and Move Contacts to the iCloud Folder Tutorial.

Don't use iCloud calendar, contact, or tasks sync for Exchange, Gmail, or Hotmail accounts.

Contacts Disappeared | Sync Stops Working | Show iCloud Contacts First | Sync Tools
Save and Move Contacts to the iCloud Folder Tutorial | More Information

Contacts Disappeared from Outlook

All of my contacts disappeared from Outlook. How do I get them back?

icloud contacts folderiCloud creates a new contacts folder in your profile and moves your contacts to it. You can view the iCloud contacts in Outlook.

Go to the Contacts navigation pane and select the "Contacts - iCloud" folder to view your contacts.

If you want your contacts in Outlook's default contacts folder, you'll need to drag them to it: select all and drag or use the Move to Folder command.

Sync Stops Working

When Contacts disappear from Outlook's iCloud contacts folder because syncing has stopped, close Outlook, open the iCloud control panel then sign out and sign back in.

Just deselecting Contacts (and Calendar) sync, clicking Apply, then re-enabling both may also work.

If the sync stopped working and the iCloud add-in is shown as disabled in File > Options > Trust Center > Add-ins. Select Disabled Add-ins from the menu next to Go button then click Go. Enable iCloud in the dialog.

Show iCloud Contacts First in the Address Book

When sending an e-mail, & hitting the "To" button, iCloud isn't the default. How do i make iCloud the default address book?

You can't make it the default contacts folder, but you can show it first when you open the address book or click the To button in a new message.

Open the Address Book (on the Home ribbon or Standard toolbar) to open the Address Book. Click on it's Tools, Options. Choose iCloud from the dropdown.

Show the icloud contacts before Outlook's contacts

In Outlook 2010, the dropdown is at the bottom (see screenshot below).

Change address book order in outlook 2010 and 2013

You can change the search order there too, if desired. This order is used for auto-resolution, when a name is not in the autocomplete list.

Sync Tools

As an alternative, you can use a sync tool. Although How to sync Outlook (Exchange) with iCloud (in the Apple Forums) uses CodeTwo FolderSync with Exchange, it will work with non-Exchange accounts. FolderSync copies the items between two folders so the contents are identical and should only be used to sync folders that won't sync with the iDevices, otherwise you will have duplicates (or triplicates) on your devices as it does a 2-way sync.

While the sync tools can do one or two way sync, if you just want to save all newly created contacts to the icloud folder, you can use VBA top move them on save. See Save appointments to a non-default Outlook calendar folder for a code sample that works with Contacts.

Tools in the Spotlight

Companionlink for Outlook

CompanionLink synchronizes Outlook data with phones and other supported desktop applications and web-based services (like Google). Companionlink supports all versions of Outlook, including Outlook 2013 32-bit and 64-bit, and Windows 8, and Windows 8 Phones.

Tools

CodeTwo FolderSync Addin

CodeTwo FolderSync Addin is an Outlook add-in that enables synchronization of folders. The synchronization of data will always take place between selected folders and the user can choose several pairs of folders that need synchronizing. Freeware.

CodeTwo Sync for iCloud

CodeTwo Sync for iCloud syncs Outlook folders with iCloud folders automatically synchronizes Outlook contacts, calendars and tasks with the iCloud data file in Outlook. CodeTwo Sync for iCloud will let you keep the iCloud and Outlook folders in sync, so you don't need to move or copy contacts and appointments between the default Outlook folders and iCloud folders. 30 day trial available.

Memotoo

Backup and synchronize your personal data (contacts, calendar, files, bookmarks, etc.)with your phone, tablet and computer

OLMixedFolders

Your sync-software can sync only default folders of Outlook, but you need also subfolders and public folders? OLMixedFolders can synchronize any Microsoft Outlook subfolder or public folders with your Outlook default folders. It uses categories to keep in touch with the origin folder. It is possible to create elements for the linked folders directly on your mobile phone. After synchronization, the element goes to the specified folder.

Pst Mail

Pst Mail is a pst viewer for iPad. With Pst Mail, you can use your legacy Outlook email on iPad, without a complicated email conversion process. You can search and view your Microsoft Outlook PST files. This pst file viewer supports iOS 6 and also iPhone 5. It has built in support for Dropbox and iTunes files. Given iPad's inability to receive standard USB drives, being able to load large files from a cloud drive is a huge plus.

Save and Move Contacts to the iCloud Folder Video Tutorial

The following tutorial shows you how to use the Move to Folder command to move new contacts to a different contacts folder. This will also work with appointments.

On the open contact form, click Save then go to File menu and choose the Move to folder command. If you previously used the folder, it will be listed on the MRU, otherwise you will need to select the folder.

To make Move to folder easier to use (and remember!), you can customize the ribbon, adding the Move to folder command to the Home ribbon, placing it next to Save and close.
Note: In Outlook 2007, you'll need to add the command to the Quick Access Toolbar.

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

90 responses to “Issues Syncing Outlook and iCloud Contacts”

  1. Jessi

    The new Icloud is great, but has anyone encountered that new contacts are not updating to the cloud if you are imputing them into Outlook 2010? It goes into the default database, but does not update into Icloud since that uses a seperate database. Does anyone have any suggestions? I either want to make new contacts save to the Icloud database or make the two sync. Thanks

  2. John

    I have Windows 7, Outlook 2010 32 bit. I had MobileMe synced with my Outlook. I tried to move everything to iCloud which worked. Now I can not sync iCloud with Outlook. When I try to sync contacts I get the error message "Your setup couldn't be started because of an unexpected error." When I try to sync my calendar I get the message "Apple Outlook DAV Config has stopped working." I spend almost 6 hours with Apple support. They finally told me to contact Microsoft. Any ideas?

  3. Jason

    I too am having problems with iCloud. I was a paying MobileMe user and contacts synced well between my two desktops (home PC with Outlook and work PC with Outlook) and kept my iPhone synced between the two. Now, with iCloud, one computer has succesfully synced but on the other, I repeatedly get the "encountered unexpected error" when turning on "contacts" to sync. I even tried uninstalling the iCloud PC control panel, rebooting, and trying again. No luck. Anyone know how to revert back to MobileMe?? (I've scoured the web and have not yet found instructions to do so)

  4. Michael

    To make the iCloud contact folder your default contact folder in Outlook, follow these steps:

    Open Outlook's Address Book. Click on Tools. Then click on Options. The active window should be titled "Addressing." Under "When sending e-mail, check address lists in this order:" choose "Custom." Move "iCloud" to the top of the list. Next, under "When opening the address book, show this address list first:" select

    "iCloud." With these configuration changes, your iCloud address book will become your default address book in Outlook.

  5. may west

    It's good to know my problems were not user error. :)

  6. Mike

    I am having the exact same problem as John (Nov 1) I cannot sync my contacts to iCloud, but was doing fine with MobileMe. I get the same unexpected error message and, to make matters worse, all of my contacts disappeared in Outlook. Does anyone know what is going on yet?

  7. Keith

    Hi,
    I am using Outlook 2010 on windows 7 64 bit.

    I have installed Icloud functions through the control panel and am using the addin "iCloud Outlook Add in"

    When I make a new appointment, or contact in Outlook, it appears in Icloud and goes to my iphone.

    When I try it the other way round, ie creating an appointment or contact on the iphone, it sends it to iCloud OK, but outlook doesnt receive it, even after hitting the refresh button.

    Any ideas how to resolve please??

    Thanks

    Keith, UK.

  8. Hamad

    Hi Diane,

    I use my iPhone to sync my email, contacts and calendar with my 2010 exchange account from work. In that setup, any contact I save on my phone is immediately pushed to outlook on my desktop PC and vice versa (when I save a contact or accept a meeting invite, it shows on my iPhone).
    I would like to be able to synchronize with my Gmail account simultaneously; i.e. when I save a contact or an event on my iPhone, I would like it to be automatically saved in both address books or calendars.

    Is that possible?

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  9. David W

    Hi Diane - thanks for your informative article! I was wondering if you have come across this strange issue when syncing calendars from Outlook to icloud/iPhone:
    when entering a meeting in outlook it always appears one hour earlier on my iPhone and on iCloud. Very frustrating. The time zones on my PC, iPhone and iCloud are exactly the same (Jerusalem GMT +2).
    I have noticed that this does not happen when I enter the meeting on the iPhone or iCloud site - it appears the same time on outlook 2010. Only when I put in say a 10 am meeting in outlook, it comes out as 9 am on iCloud/iPad. I am running win 7 64 bit with office 2010. The only reference to this issue are the couple of web hits I get when searching - but it seems to vbe people cannot define the right time zone on iCloud; In my case, the PC, iPhone and iCloud are ALL on the same timezone.

    DO you have any idea what is causing this?

  10. David W

    Thanks for the prompt reply!
    I am using a pst file (pop mail), have tried with and without DST.
    I tried d/ling the hot fix but it told me (in Hebrew) that nothing would be resolved with this fix. I am running English Win 7 64 bit sp1.

    After reading the articles around the issue and found that outlook will ONLY sync correctly when the time zone of my PC, Iphone and iCloud site are set to use a timezone that does not use DST - in my case Harare/pretoria which is also GMT +2. The problem seems to be with MS and not apple - remember, that entering appointments either in an IOS device or straight into the icloud web calendar, results in a sync to my outlook with the correct times. A most inelegant and inconvenient workaround tho - will have to be resetting the time zones and fooling around with the config on at least three interfaces every time the clocks moves forward or back....

    It was strange that the fix you listed said there was nothing to fix......

    Thanks Diane

  11. Marna

    When I change anything in a contact on my ipad or iphone, it immediately updates Icloud. But Icloud does not sync back to Outlook (2007). Yet everything else goes back and forth. If I edit a contact in Outlook, it migrates to Icloud and my other devices. Even if I add a new contact on the ipad/iphone, it DOES add to Outlook. Only changes within an existing contact will not sync back to Outlook. Any suggestions/thoughts? Thanks!

  12. Tony

    If there is one reason I'd go back to an android phone, this syc issue is it - contacts in iCloud don't syc back to outlook s 2010

  13. David W

    Hi Diane
    Did you ever find out anything about the calendar sync issue with time zones using DST? I am still on Harare time as I cannot use Jerusalem (DST).
    David W

  14. David W

    . Am just about to give up on IOS-MS..seriously considering ANdroid. I like IOS but it HAS to work properly with calendar sync.....
    Thanks for your efforts :)

  15. Danny

    I use to be able to plug in my phone and the calendar/contacts would sync through Wi-Fi from my phone to Outlook 2010. Or I could add the calendar/contact items in Outlook and there was a "Refrese iCloud" icon on the Outlook ribbon and it would sync to my phone. That icon is gone now and the iCloud Outlook addin shows as disabled. When I try and add the addin I get a message stating “There are no add-in property pages to display".

    Any ideas on how to get things working again? I tried unscyncing the calander/contacts by unchecking them from the iCloud control panel. I then uninstalled iCloud from the of and did a repair on outlook. After all that was done I reinstalled iCloud and sync'd the calander and contact items. The ones from the cloud sync'd down to Outlook but nothing new that I added went up or to my phone.

    *** the calander/contact items are in the iCloud folder.

  16. Ron

    I'm using iCloud with Outlook, and all my distribution lists disappeared. I still have all the contacts, in the correct folders, and if I open an email and hit the "To" button I can see the distribution lists, but can't see them when I open the folders in iCloud contacts. I need to be able to get to the distribution lists to make changes in them; it looks like they're still there, just can't see them in iCloud contacts. Any suggestions?

  17. Fred

    Diane - I have the same problem as Marna, July 6: changes to contacts made in my iPhone or iPad don't sync back to Outlook 2010. New contacts made in iPhone/iPad do sync, but changes to contacts do not. All changes and new contacts made in Outlook do sync with iPhone/iPad.
    Suggestions?

  18. Fred

    They are in the iCloud folder in Outlook.

  19. Prinolan Pillay

    Hi there
    i am having a major problem with my icloud calendar. i use it for business and use outlook 2007. i do not have a microsoft exchange account and use an imap setting for my icloud link into outlook with the icloud control panel.
    also important to note is that my itunes account is a gmail account.

    2 things that happen specifically when dealing with people who are running microsoft exchange accounts.
    if i send a meeting invite to someone, firstly if goes from my gmail account but using ical.
    secondly, it sends either 1 or 2 invites. if its just 1 invite they received then the person receives it for an hour earlier than the time i have specified. if they receive 2 invites, 1 is for an hour earlier and 1 is for the right time.

    problem is its confusing the hell out of people i deal with and they never know what time i mean.
    can someone help solve this issue. i have changed my time zone from cape town to harare as i am based in johannesburg, south africa but its still happening

    please help

  20. Steve Janovec

    I recently purchased an Iphone and want to sync at a minimum, outlook contacts, calendars, tasks with categories. Ideal world I would also like to have two way syncing between iphone and outlook subfolders. What are my options to do this? Thanks.

  21. ray dicks

    ok now im tottaly freaked out,

    I was coping my outlook.pst files as well as the weir long name file that looks to windows like a folder that ends in .aplzod

    I closed outlook to copy these files and then I rebooted

    next think I know when I go to open outlook the i cloud isn't there? all contacts etc are gone.

    what did I do?did I move a file I doubt it but ?? help please OMG

  22. charles

    Diane,
    I tried to select icloud in my address book drop down menu in outlook 2007 but I don't have that option. I lost my contacts after sync with iphone 5. Cant find .pst file or .vcf file anywhere either.
    I tried to create a .vcf file using icloud. But how do I get it to explode into outlook contacts????
    Thanks
    Charles

  23. charles

    Are you talking about my icon labeled as contacts on the icloud home page?
    When I right click on contacts icon properties is not an option...
    I get, open on a new tab , bookmark , save as.. etc...
    If you are talking about the icloud contacts folder in outlook, I don't have that as a drop down option on my 2007. But on your tutorial I saw it as a drop down... Can't figure why mine doesn't have it..
    Signed,
    HELP again..

  24. charles

    More FYI Diane,
    I also tried selecting all contacts and then clicking on make a V-card and I can't get outlook to recognize it.. It only opens the first contact and adds to contact list ... The rest go ..

  25. charles

    correct... and thats what i just finished doing..
    Thanks

  26. Noor

    Thanks Diane, very comprehensive and valuable.

  27. Dain Bramage

    Am I missing something... is it possible to make iCloud the default folder for the iPhone? I find that any time I create a new contact on my iPhone, it never makes it to Outlook OR iCloud.

  28. Dain Bramage

    Perfect, thanks Diane. I must have looked everywhere but there!

  29. Pelicanrick

    I have tried to use the Icloud calendar as a default so that it will sinc with my phone and ipads as well as show up in my Outlook schedule with alerts as well but I can't sem to get it to show up on my Oulook Today page which would tell me it is working. It will let me use it as a default but won't mesh with outlook other than just being there. Is there something that can be done in that they have done away with the manual sync in Itunes for both calendars and contacts?

  30. Pelicanrick

    I appreciate the prompt response and it will save me hours of digging and speculation. One last thing, can i revert back to the manual sync with my Outlook and my Iphone without disabeling Icloud?

  31. lisatierney@comcast.net

    Diane,
    Thank you so much for all the knowledge you share here! When iCloud control panel on my Win 7-64 PC uploaded all my contacts and created its own folder in Outlook 2010, I now have duplicates for every contact in my iPhone. Can you walk me through the "safest" way to manage this? To make sure every contact is in iCloud, then purge and re-sync?

  32. Brandon

    I have an iPhone 4 that I downloaded a Groups app to be able to mass text msg various groups of people that I need to. When I synced iCloud with Microsoft Outlook 2007, iCloud seems to have deleted my EMAIL distribution lists in Outlook & replaced them with my phone groups lists (that I use for text messaging). I cannot locate my email distribution lists at all - and they included hundreds of different emails. How can I recover those email distribution lists and can I remove iCloud from Outlook and return my Outlook to exactly the way it was before I synced it with iCloud?

  33. Brandon

    I did not have a backup of my contact list or my distribution lists, at least not to my knowledge, unless Outlook automatically saved them somewhere deep in the bowels of my computer files that I'm unaware of. To the best of searching ability, those distribution lists are gone for good. Not at all a happy camper right now.

    I did what you suggested in signing out of iCloud, and it seems stalled - it's "running" in whatever it's doing, but I can't close it now. I'm quite fed up with iCloud and ready to simply remove it from all of my devices.

  34. Craig G

    I have an iPhone 4S, Windows 7 and Outlook 2007. I have a gmail account that goes through the phone via Exchange. Until a few months ago, my Outlook address book and calendar synched seamlessly, one to the other. Now, they don't. I can't get the PC address book or calendar to push to the phone, and adding contacts/calendar info on the phone no longer pushes to the PC. I've tried manually synching from iCloud and logging in/out of iCloud and Outlook. No joy. Any insight??

  35. Ramon Ender

    The normal functions between outlook 2010 and icloud 2.1 are doing a great job, but I have the big problem with the outlook contact mailing lists to sync with icloud, in the 1.1 update of icloud this issue should be fixed, but it doesn´t work. For any help I will be very thankfull.

  36. Nick Hughes

    Hi Diane, I was struggling with this for a couple of days and have managed to solve. By going to the File>options>add-Inns and instead of selecting Manage Comm Add-Inns, select Manage Disabled Items then hit go. Enable iCloud, restart Outlook and this worked. By the way, I did have a number of calendars in my deleted items which I also emptied to clear any issues with locating the right files.

  37. Nick Hughes

    So far so good as I have had it fully operational for a week. I recall I had an Outlook crash prior to this and when I went to restart, asked me to start in safe mode. I chose No but I think this is when Outlook determined iCloud was an issue and disabled the add-in.

    I was having the same issue where you would enable from Manage Comm Add Inns. It simply would not enable. By managing Disabled Items, and then enabling, has worked. You soon know as in Outlook the calendar does not load under icloud but load as another calendar under your normal calendar.

  38. Daryl Johnston

    I have set Contact name order in Outlook 2010 (ie first name, last name). When I enter a new contact in OL - no problem. However when I enter a new contact on my iPhone and OL updates via an iCloud sync, it lists that contact as (last name, first name). Starting to drive me crazy!!

  39. Robert James

    Can you help me understand what is the difference between the two files in my Outlook: Contacts in iCloud vs. Contacts from iCloud? Hopefully I can delete one of them without losing anything important.

  40. Scot Hanson

    I can not get my me.com account to send from outlook anymore. it was working but now all it does is give me an error and ask for my password which I am entering correctly. please help

  41. Rajiv

    Has anyone sync'ing iCloud and Outlook 2010 Contacts had problems with duplicate entries being created repeatedly? Some address book entries are existing in 4-5 copies.

    Now, for some reason, my sync'ing stopped happening by itself. My Outlook doesn't even show the iCloud contacts folder. I can go to iCloud control panel to remove and put a tick back to apply the sync settings as advised by some, but the last time this happened, it started duplicating my contacts. I have ~2300 entries in my address book, and any mess-up creates a lot of pain.

    Any advice or suggestions?

  42. Di (@outthere101)

    Hello Diane. I have also LOST all my business distribution lists, they are not anywhere in the contact folder. I do not have to use iCloud and will be happy to uninstall it. But I am desperate to restore my distribution lists pleases advise. Thank you Di

  43. Flo

    Hi Diane. I'm using the latest version of iCloud and Outlook 2007. There are no contacts listed in the Outlook contact folder, but there is an iCloud folder with all of the contacts. My problem is when I start a new email, it does not refer to the iCloud contact folder. I've tried all of the suggestions on the internet, but I cannot do them because either there are no address books to select in tools, or the checkbox is greyed out to select an address book. I am pulling my hair out. I've tried removing iCloud, reinstalling it, unchecking mail/contacts/calendars from iCloud and rechecking it. Nothing works. Help.

  44. Flo

    Yes, the profile was corrupted. I backed up Outlook, signed out of iCloud, deleted the mail profile, which prompted me to create a new one when I opened Outlook. I imported the Outlook backup file and then I logged back into iCloud. Time consuming, but it worked. Thanks for your help.

  45. Michael

    Removed iCloud from my computer totally, but iCloud Contacts folder remains in Outlook 2007 even though it is completely empty. Trying to delete it only gives me the message that I cannot delete the folder. Is there no way to get it out of my program?

  46. Dave

    I've got a wierd one... no iCloud Address book even shows up even though iCloud Contacts and iCloud Calendar show up and function properly! Help! I have Outlook on my laptop and the iCloud Address book shows up there and I can't see any different settings!

  47. Judi Simpson

    When Microsoft Outlook is open on my computer, my iphone will not receive those emails. Is there any way that I can receive those emails even when Outlook is open?

  48. gdaddy

    I have a new surface pro 3 running office 365, which I'm told by Microsoft store is just a license of Office 2013, and that there shouldn't be unique hardware compatibility issues with icloud.

    All of my data has been in icloud, my family has iphones and macs as well as pcs. I'm trying to operate on both MS and OS/iOS platforms.

    The icloud destop program is installed and all of my email folders and calendars and contacts populated Outlook after some work..

    However, when attempting to edit any calendar appointment in Outlook on one of my iCloud calendars I get an error:
    "This item cannot be saved to this folder. The folder was deleted or moved, or you do not have permission. Do you want to save a copy of it in the default folder for the item?"

    Saying yes to this makes a copy of the appointment, as edited, in the default Outlook calendar, for which I have no use as it will no longer be shared with the appropriate party as the icloud calendar is. I need the appointment to stay where it is, but just accept the changes.

    A few weeks ago a senior apple tech told me that icloud control panel does not support the surface when that seemed like the question to ask. After reading countless frustrate threads like this one, it seems that support of Outlook 2013 is the issue, although an 18 month old issue at that.

    Any suggestions? Many thanks

  49. Kurt Monroe

    I deleted a .aplzod file. Can I open it to see what information it holds rather than restoring it? If so, can I use notepad?
    Thank you in advance.

  50. emsipe

    Hello, is there a way of forcing Outlook 2013 to save my new contacts to the icloud by default? I have forced it to 'Show iCloud Contacts First in the Address Book' as above, but cannot find a way around new contacts.
    In Outlook 2007 there was an option to select: "Keep personal addresses in” option to “iCloud", but I can't find it in Outlook 2013.

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