How to Fix iPhone Contacts Not Syncing with Apple Watch

Question from Ike: My iPhone contacts are not staying synced with my Apple Watch. I have done the recent watchOS update, and I have also done the reset and pair again. Any ideas why the watch keeps “unsycing” and not recognizing contacts? This is a brand new 3-month-old Apple Watch. Please help.

Occasionally, the contact list on your iPhone may just disappear from your Apple Watch due to unknown reasons. Below are some possible solutions to fix the contacts syncing issue.


Solution #1: Restart your Apple Watch

To restart your Apple Watch, do this:

  1. Press and hold the side button until the Power Off slider popup
  2. Swipe the slider to the right entirely
  3. To turn it back on, just press and hold the side button again

When you start seeing the Apple logo, let go of it. If the watch isn’t responding, force restart it.

Solution #2: Check for Connectivity

If your iPhone contacts are not showing on your Apple Watch at all, it might be that both devices are not connected to each other. To double check, access the Settings glance by swiping up on the watch face. Look for the word Connected with a green phone icon. If you have Airplane Mode enabled on your watch, be sure to disable it.

Solution #3: Reset Sync Data


And here it comes, our last solution to this problem. At this point, I guess that nothing has helped you. But don’t worry because we got one more workaround to try.

  1. Go on your iPhone, go to the Watch app
  2. Tap on My Watch > General > Reset
  3. Choose Reset Sync Data.

You won’t see any changes, but don’t do anything yet. The operation is running in the background so wait patiently. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes.

Solution #4: Fix Contact Profile Photos Disappear from Apple Watch

  1. Login to the iCloud on your computer
  2. Check that your Contacts have sync to iCloud, if not, allow it to do so
  3. On iPhone, go to Settings > iCloud > Turn off Contacts and delete them from iPhone
  4. Now turn both devices off and turn on your iPhone first
  5. Once your Apple Watch and iPhone are turned back On, go to the iCloud options again and toggle On for Contacts

All you have to do now is wait for the two devices to reconnect and let the data sync up.

Apple Watch Users with Similar Issues…

Christy Thurman

My friend just got the series 3, non cellular. And we can’t get her contacts to sync. We have googled the issue and tried all the suggested things. But nothing works. Anyone have any suggestions?

Colletta Harnisch

Not sure if this has been discussed before but can someone help me figure out why my Apple Watch series 6 won’t sync all my contacts. I have them programmed into my phone and they have been for long time. The name use to show up on my watch if I would get a call or text but now certain contacts it has no name, just shows the number like it isn’t a contact in my phone.

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  1. The Reset Sync Data one worked s treat for me.
    I had an issue with a new watch and iPhone 6, all patched up, and SOME of the contacts, but only some, would show the number instead of the contact name, other contacts showed fine. This wasn’t specific to contacts having Apple devices or not.
    Did the resync thing and a couple of minutes later, the name info was showing correctly.
    A little surprised to find that tapping the option in the watch app on the ‘phone didn’t give me any clues that it was doing anything !
    Very many thanks for sharing the information, much appreciated

  2. My contacts and my favorites all of a sudden are not synced with my phone. I tried all the above and no luck. Strange thing is my calls are synced. Seems I started having issues when the update came out for the watch. Now every time charge my watch it gets really hot. And now it’s not syncing. Time to make an appointment.

  3. None of the above works for me on my watch series 1. Al of my contacts are stil missing. I guess I have to unpair and pair with my iPhone for the 3rd time.

  4. wow…. the “Reset Sync Data” option did it…. yeah it would be nice to know something is happening and be patient once the Reset Sync Data is pressed!!!!

  5. None of the above worked for me, but unpairing and repairing did! So happy, and there’s a backup saved so you don’t have to redo your settings (maybe you guys knew that but I wasn’t sure, so it was a second-to-last resort before a full factory reset).

  6. Hi everybody,
    i found the solution to this problem: it’s a bug… and restarting your apple watch or resetting it or dis activating icloud on your phone… won’t fixe this bug.
    The only solution a found to fixe it… is :

    you have to edit your contacts in your iPhone, those who doesn’t appear in your watch (but appear in your iphone) one by one by changing whatever you want! You can just put a space barre behind your name for exemple… and save the contact by pressing ok!

    2 Seconds later… the invisible contact will appear into your watch 😉
    so if you have 20 or 30 invisible contacts… it’s not a big deal. Just be patient and edit them… if you have 3000 invisible contacts, it’s another story!

    Mr Apple! Please! Time to make an update to fixe this bug!!!
    And sorry for my English 😉


  7. Thank you! Worked a treat with re sync but had to turn off and on first. Apple forum just suggested resync and that doesn’t do it

  8. Can’t get my contacts to sync since the update. Apple can’t even help. Ive tried everything I can find on-line…resync, signing out, restarting, repairing…

  9. After trying the “Reset” that everyone talks about, I still had no luck. I unpaired my watch, re-paired it. Everything listed. Some contacts would still only show up as phone numbers on my Apple Watch. What fixed it was adding the country code (+1) to the beginning of the phone number. Hope this helps someone else.

  10. The steps listed on here did not fix mine and I tried multiple times so I just completely unpaired and started over and now everything works and all of my contacts are showing again

  11. Paid too much money for this silly bug BUT I digress. I have never had any issues before… Only the phone numbers started showing 🙁 which defeated one of my favorite features of the watch! I went into my contacts after the most recent update (for the phone and watch and mac) and noticed I had a few duplicates (strange). I deleted and went through each contact as some numbers on the contact were duplicated as well (lame!). Once everything was cleared I have unpaired 3 times, I have restarted (with iPhone on first) and continued with no changes. After walking away from this annoyance, I decided to restart my mac and log into iCloud on my mac and continued the steps for “Contact Pictures Disappear” again. Apparently restarting my mac and completing the steps again did the trick.
    Lessons Learned:
    If you have a Mac, iPhone, and Watch be sure to restart and ensure sync for all 3.
    Shouldn’t have to unpair/ pair more than once (or at all).
    If prompted on iPhone that I need to log back into iCloud, I should restart mac and log back in there as well.

  12. There is a setting within the Apple Watch app that allows you to re-sync. I was having the same issue a few months ago and the re-sync resolves it. I will find the steps and send it through.

  13. Third party apps that request contact data on the watch also seem to be a possible cause of this issue. Removing the apps. Then restarting the watch seems to fix the issue. Next u can install them back a few at a time to see which one was the problem. Alternatively by its purpose u may just know exactly which app may be causing it.

  14. Anyone know why all the sudden my contacts have changed to my child’s phone contacts??!! For example my information now shows up as Mom, and all texts I get from my husband show up as Daddy. I tried to go into my name listed in my contacts and I changed everything including my newly update mailing address, work phone etc but it all keeps reverting back to whatever information is stored as my kid’s contacts. Yes my child has her own iCloud account under the family sharing plan which includes my husband also. But for some reason her contacts keeps syncing with mine! This is annoying AF! Please help.

    • To the best of my knowledge you cannot sync Contacts across different Apple ID accounts. You can share Contacts with others but that involves sending them in an email, via Messages, etc. Just check your devices to see what Apple ID you are logged into iCloud with.


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