Facebook friends disappearing from iOS Contacts? It’s a new feature!

By , Jun 6, 2013

iOS 6 (Facebook, Contacts sync 001)

If you’ve ever used Facebook integration in iOS 6, you may have noticed iOS lets you grant the Contact app access your Facebook account in Settings > Facebook. Enabling this feature creates a new ‘Facebook’ group in Contacts which contains entries for all of the people you’re friends with on Facebook. According to a thread over at Apple’s support forums, a number of people are experiencing an issue where some of the entries are dissapearing from the Facebook group in iOS Contacts.

If you have noticed similar symptoms, don’t panic – it’s a feature rather than a bug…

Jordan Kahn of 9to5Mac reached over to Facebook and was told it’s part of the social networking giant’s decluttering effort which was designed to remove “phone book entries that were not useful.”

In Facebook’s parlance, a useless contact item is one without any contact information on Facebook other than a @facebook.com email address (seriously, who’s using these anyway?).

In other words, Facebook is trying to remove some of the spam from your iOS Contacts app by no longer syncing friends that have no useful contact information.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, friends that have no contact information on their profile other than a @facebook.com email address will not be synced to the Contacts address book going forward.

It’s actually a useful feature.

I regularly sync my Facebook and Twitter contacts with my iOS devices and these useless entries with no information apart from first and last name have been driving me crazy.

If you want to check out how Facebook contact sync in iOS works, go to Settings, scroll down to the Facebook section and sign into Facebook. From there, set the Contacts toggle in Settings > Facebook to on and you’re done.

iOS 6 (Facebook, Contacts sync 002)

Rather than replace your existing contacts on the device, Facebook sync creates a new ‘Facebook’ group in the Contacts app. It’s a one-way sync: when your friends update their email address or phone number on Facebook, those changes will be reflected in your Contacts.

Needles to say, updating an entry for a Facebook friend in Contacts doesn’t update their information on Facebook.

Keep in mind that the Contacts app defaults to showing all your contacts gathered from a bunch of sources in a single view. To browse just your Facebook contacts on the device, hit the Groups button in the upper-left of the Contacts app and choose Facebook.

iOS 6 can also update your existing contacts with their Facebook profile names and photos: go to Settings > Facebook, scroll down to the bottom and hit the ‘Update All Contacts’ button.

Just out of curiousty: are you taking advantage of built-in Facebook contacts sync in iOS 6?

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  • Max

    Disappearing******

  • bd

    This sucks because i have conversation pictures for text and some of my friends contact pics disspeared and gave me some random guy’s.

    • Raul Henriquez

      Same here this is bad

    • Vaca

      Same to me, I liked the profile picture was up to date and also the birthday date shows up… It would be nice to have option for this

  • Palmer Paul

    I already was using it :) This feature is definitely a smart one. They should allow you to select individual contacts to import though…

  • nedisonn

    I use it to see if i’m friend with someone fast haha and for pictures. It should let you select a group of facebook friends as well, like one group with all your friends but you don’t want to show it all and another with the friends you want to show IDK

  • http://theeyesofmarch.wordpress.com/ Timothy

    The only thing I dislike about Facebook contact sync is that it syncs that @facebook.com email address, which you can’t remove. That would be fine, if it weren’t for the fact that Safari takes *that* for its Autofill function, so I always have to manually enter my email address!

  • Mkondrak

    Too bad I deleted Facebook yesterday and removed the integration on my iphone today. I just don’t use facebook like I did back in 2009. Now I only log in to Facebook when my email tells me that I have a notification. I don’t miss it one bit. :)

  • J™

    tried it some time ago but un-sync it 2-3 minutes later becos it simply mess up my contacts

  • Sn0wFl4kz

    Lol, I got like 6 contacts in the app now with this new ‘feature’. But I never use the contacts app, I go straight into Facebook ;)

  • rasengan720 .

    I don’t want them to disappear even if it is jus a email address that’s is displaying.. Jus wanna look at some contacts with their pics on it… Any idea how I can stop them from being deleted?

  • Hey TC

    I actually liked having birthdays synced to my iPhone calendar. Now most of these have gone because many friends don’t share phone numbers or email on Facebook. Would be great to have an option to sync if only birthday info available

    • mahe

      Same for me …
      Some usefull information is missing now …

  • mahe

    I Just recognized I got some new phone numbers of facebook contacts which I should not see :X

    It would be nice if they sync contacts which I’ve stored in my normal phone contacts too …
    Just because of the picture …

  • vozf17

    Then how to add them back manually? Any ideas?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1496513068 Zach Krase

    I don’t need Facebook in my contacts, I have all the real friends in there already

  • Sara Gan

    i used to search up my facebook friend’s name and save their number under their name when i’ve got their number, and now i try to do the same thing, i can’t find their name in the contacts anymore, i’ve to create as a new contact, this sucks.

  • Lala23

    This really sucks I’ve lost at least 10 numbers I stored under the actual facebook name that was synced to my phone, they have now disappeared because they didn’t actually have it stored online. Pretty upset.

  • Jade Starr™

    This is ridiculous now I have 100 birthdays left in my iOS calendar out of 1000 fb contacts. FB are such morons!

  • Ryan Good

    This is crap. Now I don’t get birthday reminders.

  • suburban_home

    Well this is silly. None of my closest friends post their email address or cell number on Facebook, so they are all no longer “unified” and I have no photographs, birthday info, etc. in my contacts list. I don’t post my number on Facebook either, so I guess I’ve disappeared from my friends’ contacts too. I’m definitely not a fan of this new “feature” — I just spent four hours trying to unify my contacts thinking this was a bug.

  • Adrian Miska

    Yey, now I will have a good time entering the birthdays manually -.-‘

  • Jon De La Cruz

    I am pissed that this happened. Most of my contacts were facebook based.

  • stellar981

    This is stupid. I lost all my facebook birthday reminders. Is there anyway around this change???

  • Aaron De Bruyne

    Instead off deciding this die us they should give us the option what we wanna sync .. No i Miss so much info again..

  • ChopperCharles

    Okay, so how do I turn this new “feature” off? I want every single facebook contact to show up in my iPhone’s contact list. Just today I went to add a phone number to a friend in the facebook group, and she was nowhere to be found. I had to create a new entry for her, which is now not linked to her facebook info (birthday, age, photo, etc). That’s EXTREMELY annoying.