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One button deletes all your phone contacts

Apple or Android? For your contacts, Android is complicated. For Apple, it's pretty easy.

Unless you turn off That One Button.

iCloud, Apple's storage and backup system, keeps most of your information as a duplicate of your phone information. It's how you can move from one iPhone to another easily. Just sign in to access your old info and you're good to go.

But iCloud doesn't quite work like that with your contacts. Many people do not know that it keeps your contacts strictly in iCloud, not your phone. So, if you turn on That One Button - Poof! All your contacts are gone.

iCloud Contacts

Business Insider writer Jim Edwards tells about his experience with this weird Apple setting.

It is the ultimate smartphone nightmare. I was innocently picking through my phone's "settings" section, trying to figure out how to free up enough space on my phone to accept Apple's latest operating system update when suddenly ... all the contact info for everyone I know just disappeared.

Everyone — gone.

I couldn't even call my mom (she just moved and got a new phone number).

Here's how to avoid deleting iPhone contacts via iCloud.

  1. Go into Settings.
  2. Go into iCloud.
  3. Look but do NOT touch the "Contacts" setting for iCloud.
  4. If iCloud is "off" for contacts — i.e. the slider is white — and your contacts are all still on your phone, then this means your contacts are stored only on your phone. This is great — unless you break your phone. Then your contacts are gone forever. You have no backup.
  5. If iCloud is "on" for contacts — i.e. the slider is green — then your contacts are actually living in iCloud. If you switch iCloud off they will disappear from your phone. This means your contacts are trapped inside iCloud. This is great if you want to get a new Apple device — those contacts will magically transfer when you sign in.
  6. If you do move the slider from on to off (green to white) then you'll be asked whether you want your contacts deleted or stored locally on your phone. Obviously do NOT delete your contacts. If you want them unhooked from iCloud, store them locally on the phone.
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