My Fix for Removing Facebook Pictures (& Birthdays) from Mac/iPhone Contacts

19 Jan

For starters, my phone is the iPhone 5, the Facebook app is version 6.8, my computer is a 2008 MacBook, now running Mavericks 10.9.1

BIG WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This is what worked for me with the software and hardware versions I’ve listed .

I CANNOT GUARANTEE THIS WILL WORK FOR YOU OR THAT YOU WILL NOT LOSE OR ACCIDENTALLY DELETE IMPORTANT FILES/CONTACTS/ETC… I’m writing this because I could not find anything even remotely helpful in getting Facebook out of my contacts! Also, I am not a computer tech.

I recently upgraded my computer operating system from Snow Leopard 10.6.8 to the new Mavericks 10.9.1. My main reason for doing this was to be able to use iCloud enabling my iPhone, iPad and computer to be in sync, particularly for calendar and address book updates.

In syncing, I accidentally included Facebook in my address book sync. What this does is include pictures of every person in my address book that has a Facebook account, including people who I’m not even Facebook friends with. To say this was infuriating is putting things incredibly mildly. This happened once before, and the only way to get these non-friend mugs off my phone was to cease using iCloud. However, this time I refused to just give up.

Thus began the process of scouring the web for people who had this same issue and what their solution was. What I found was the biggest mess of unhelpful garbage I’ve ever come across. Frustrating BEYOND belief. There was not a single thing I came across in my hours of searching that provided any help, thus making me more and more irate.

I must add that I find the whole syncing of every Facebook picture associated with an e-mail address on my phone, completely obnoxious because I have business contacts in there, and I DO NOT want to be toting around pictures of these people.

In a moment of clarity from my seething rage, I realized the root of all this evil really stemmed back to the files stored ON iCloud, ON the internet, not on my computer. The following is my solution to getting unwanted Facebook pictures from my address book & Facebook birthdays from my calendar…

  1. First I made sure no apps (specifically contact, calendars, Facebook) were allowed to use my account. (This is in the Facebook settings under settings on your phone.) In many posts this was listed as the obvious fix to the Facebook invasion problem – this did nothing to solve my problem, but nevertheless these should definitely not be allowed.
  2. Then I went to the iCloud setting (under the settings menu) on my phone and turned off contacts. When prompted I chose “Delete from My iPhone”, which left me with no contacts on the phone. (Scary yes, but they were still saved on my computer).
  3. Next, on my computer I went to System Preferences, to iCloud and unselected contacts. When prompted whether or not to save on my Mac, I chose to save on Mac. When I went back to my address book, the Facebook pictures and heading that said Facebook were gone. However, this will not clear the Facebook info. from the actual iCloud. I’m not totally sure how or why the file that saved to my computer didn’t have the Facebook contacts included, but it didn’t, and hopefully yours won’t either. It may or may not have reverted to a previously saved contact book…
  4. NEXT, you must actually log on to the “physical” Cloud, if that makes any sense… As in go to www.icloud.com, and sign in with your Apple ID to access your Cloud. Click the Contacts icon, which will pull up all your contacts (still contaminated by Facebook), go to the gear icon in the lower left corner, click “select all”, then go to the gear icon again, and click “Delete”.
  5. Go back to System Preference, to iCloud (on your computer) and reselect Contacts. In selecting this will allow you to repopulate your iCloud with the clean & (hopefully) Facebook-free version stored on the Mac.
  6. Once the iCloud has repopulated, you can go back to your iPhone and/or iPad, go into settings, and iCloud, and turn back on Contacts. Your phone may need a few to re-populate, but it will be doing so from the clean iCloud version.

Regarding Birthdays that also seem to appear on the Calendar, I do think this fix resolves that too, as the information comes from Facebook, which was embedded in the Contacts, and Calendar gets birthday information from Contacts. I went through a whole year on my Calendar, and didn’t notice any extraneous birthdays after my Facebook removal fix as detailed above.

I sincerely hope people find this post and it helps resolve this issue!!

Side note: I did discover later that several newly added contacts disappeared from my phone…. Make sure you have a backup file somewhere. Just don’t try reimporting from there if the Facebook contacts are in there.

Also, if this had not worked, I would have tried to retrieve an older version of my contacts from my TimeMachine backup, and deleted everything as stated above. The biggest problem seemed to be clearing out the web accessed iCloud, from which everything was populated.

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