How to Fix Contacts App Not Working on Mac

Wondering how to fix the Contacts app not working on Mac?

When it comes to applications crashing or not synchronizing across all of your devices, Mac, like all other Apple devices, is no exception. This behavior is more common in the installed apps, but it doesn’t mean the default apps, particularly Contacts, would remain free from any error.

The problem in the Contacts app arises due to unknown external or internal issues, but most usually after upgrading the macOS.  As a result, the software either crashes upon startup or in the middle of a task. Under many forum pages, users have also reported being unable to add new contacts or having them disappear altogether.

Whatever problem you’re encountering with the Contacts app on your Mac, we’ve got the solutions. All you have to do is go through this entire guide and experiment with several methods until you discover one that works for you.

So, without further delay, let’s jump to it!

1. Force-Quit the Contacts App.

If the Contacts App is not responding or hangs in the middle of your task, it may be due to high CPU usage, low RAM, or a glitch. To fix it, try quitting the application and restarting it. It is also recommended to close all other programs you’re not using at the moment to free up the resources.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, bring the application’s window to the foreground.
  2. Then, select Quit from the app’s menu. Alternatively, you may also press Cmd + Q from your keyboard.
Contacts App Not Working on Mac

When the Contacts app isn’t responding, this standard method won’t work, and you’ll need to force-quit the app. Follow the steps below to do so:

  1. Click on Apple’s menu and choose Force Quit. You can also press Cmd + Option + Esc from your keyboard.
  2. A Force Quit Applications window will then appear. Select the apps you wish to close, then click on the Force Quit button.
Force Quit apps on Mac

If it doesn’t work, a second attempt may do the job. Or you may try other methods mentioned below.

2. Update and Restart Your Mac.

The Contacts app may be crashing due to a bug that will eventually get fixed in the new updates. For this reason, keep checking for a new software version to keep your Mac up-to-date. This method is tried and tested on several occasions and works most of the time.

Below are the steps you need to follow:

  1. To get started, open System Preferences, either from the Launchpad or from the Apple icon at the top left corner.
System Preferences on Mac
  1. From there, choose Software Update.
Update Software on Mac
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions if an update is available.

If no new update is available, then your Mac is already up-to-date. In cases like these, restart your device and see if that works. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Firstly, click on the Apple icon located at the top left corner of your screen.
  2. From the drop-down menu, choose Restart.
  3. Make sure that you deselect the Reopen windows when logging back in option.
Contacts App Not Working on Mac
  1. Lastly, click on Restart.

3. Restart Your Mac in Safe Mode.

The next solution to fix the Contact app not working on Mac is to boot your computer into Safe Mode. It helps by performing various checks and blocking the startup apps from launching automatically. Instead, only the most important kernel extensions are loaded.

Before proceeding with this method, you need to determine if your Mac uses Apple or Intel silicon chip by following the steps below:

  1. Begin by going to the Apple icon at the top left corner.
  2. Then, click on About This Mac from the drop-down menu. 
  3. Next, in the Overview tab, locate Processor and check if your Mac has an Intel or Apple CPU.
Contacts App Not Working on Mac

Now follow the steps below according to the chipset your Mac owns.

For Intel:

  1. First, click on Shut Down from the Apple menu.
  2. On the confirmation dialog, choose Shut Down.
Shut Down your Mac
  1. Now, turn on your Mac and keep pressing the Shift key from your keyboard until the login screen appears.

For Apple:

  1. To start, click on the Apple logo and click on Shut Down.
  2. Now, turn on your computer and continue to hold the Power button.
  3. Release once the Startup options window displays on your screen.
  4. Then, select your startup disk.
Boot Mac Into Safe Mode
  1. Finally, press and hold the Shift key from your keyboard and click on Continue in Safe Mode.

After that, check to see if the Contacts app works or continue reading to learn other fixes.

4. Check Contacts Preferences.

If you cannot view some or all contacts in the application, there’s a possibility you don’t have your iCloud account enabled. This prevents your contacts from syncing, hence why they’re not visible. The Contacts Disappear on iPhone as well and this fix often solves the problems.

To enable your iCloud account on the Contacts app for Mac, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start by launching the Contacts app on your Mac.
  2. Next, click on Contacts from the menu bar and choose Preferences.
  3. When the window opens, go to the Accounts tab.
  4. Now, make sure that iCloud is selected from the left pane.
  5. Finally, ensure that your iCloud account is added and the box next to Enable this account is checked.
Contacts App Not Working on Mac

Hopefully, this will fix the Contacts app not working on Mac. If not, move to the following method.

5. Fix the Corrupted Database.

When your Contacts app is failing to load or keeps crashing at launch or midway, it means that you may have a corrupted database. To fix this issue, you’ll need to delete the index files of your current database. Subsequently, the Contacts app will automatically rebuild it. 

However, this method will only work if the contacts are saved on your Mac and not in your iCloud account. Before deleting or rebuilding the database, it’s advisable to create a backup of all your contacts. Here’s how:

  1. First, open the Contacts app, then click on File from the menu bar.
  2. Then, click on Export and select Contacts Archive.
Export Contacts Archive on Mac
  1. Lastly, rename the file if you’d like, choose the location where you want to save it, then click on Save.
Contacts App Not Working on Mac

When done, it’s time for you to delete the database. Follow the steps below to do so:

  1. To begin, quit the Contacts app if you have it launched. 
  2. Then, click on Finder and then on Go from the menu bar at the top.
  3. Next, choose Go To Folder.
Contacts App Not Working on Mac
  1. Now, enter the following file path to open your address book
folder:~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook
  1. From there, locate the following files:
  1. Finally, delete these files quickly by dragging and dropping them into the Trash. You may also save these files somewhere as a backup.

Now, check to see if the Contacts app not working on Mac error has been resolved. 

6. Reset the Contacts App.

If you’re facing issues with the iCloud contacts not syncing in the Contacts app on your Mac, you’ll need to delete the contacts and upload them again through the iCloud Contacts vCard. 

vCard is a digital card that will store all your contacts and their information so you can reupload them at any time. But you’ll need to create a backup manually before utilizing the feature.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Begin by launching the iCloud Official Page and signing in with your login credentials.
  2. Next, select Contacts.
  3. Then, press Cmd + A to select all contacts at once.
  4. From the bottom left corner of your screen, click on the Gear icon and select Export vCard. This saved file is extremely important so remember its location.
Export vCard
  1. Now, to delete all your contacts, select them by pressing Cmd + A, click on the Gear icon, and choose Delete.
Delete iCloud Contacts

This will empty the entire contact list, not just on the Mac but on all devices logged in to the same iCloud account. This is when you’ll re-import your contacts from the vCard you created earlier. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. This time, choose Import vCard after clicking on the Gear icon.
Import vCard
  1. Navigate to the vCard file location, select it, and click on the Import button.

The process may take quite a bit of time to sync in all your devices, so don’t panic if you don’t immediately see them.

This was it on how to fix the Contacts app not working on Mac. Hopefully, by now, you’ve successfully regained access to all your contacts. But if you still have any confusion, let us know through the comment section below. We’ll be happy to assist you further.

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • Aimen Choudhry

    Aimen Choudhry is an architecture student who has always been fascinated by science. She now finds her therapy researching and writing about the latest technology and the issues that come alongside. Otherwise, you’ll find her playing video games, listening to music, or watching fantasy/sci-fi movies.

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