How to sync Facebook contacts with iPhone

For many people, Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, not to mention the fervent sharing of the latest viral videos. Outside of calling all of your friends, it also happens to be a great way to get the latest address information, phone number, birthday and more. Calling all of your friends and manually entering this information isn’t exactly a time friendly pursuit. If you wish to sync Facebook contacts with iPhone, you’ll be pleased to know that the entire process only takes a matter of minutes.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we are going to assume you are using iOS 6. Follow these easy steps:

Enter Facebook credentials

    1. Open Settings > Facebook.
    2. If you are not logged in yet, enter your Facebook login information which consists of your email address and the password you use to login to Facebook.
    3. By default, signing into Facebook gives them permission to “Download your Facebook friends to the Contacts app and keep their information up to date.”
    4. You’l notice the Contacts app is switched to On and you have the option to Update All Contacts. For those who were already logged in, you’ll want to switch Contacts to the On position.

sync facebook contacts

You should see a message that reads:
Photos and user names are automatically updated for Facebook friends. Choose “Update All Contacts” to temporarily provide Facebook with email addresses and phone numbers from your contacts to update photos and user names for all matching contacts.

Click on Update All Contacts to sync your Facebook contacts with iPhone. You’ll start to see a progress bar that alerts you of what’s happening. It should take a minute or two to complete. If you are a popular person, maybe a bit more.

Updating contacts

To check that it’s completed successfully, navigate to your Contacts app. If you cannot locate it, press the Home button, swipe right and type Contacts to find it. You should see all of your Facebook friends in your contacts. If they were previously among your contacts, the information from Facebook will update the existing contact. If a photo was updated from Facebook, you’ll see a tiny Facebook logo next to the image.

Contacts photo sync

At any time, you can press update to repeat the process. It will not duplicate your contacts, but will check for new contacts who might not be synced to your iPhone.

A Word Of Caution
While in theory, the idea of having updated contact information sounds great, it can create a number of contacts that might be worthy of that position in your iPhone. Let’s face it, we all have the ‘friend’ on Facebook who we wouldn’t call in; well ever. At any point, you can turn off the sync, but switching the preference to Off. The trouble here is that your Contacts are forever tainted by the merging of your Facebook friends and the Contacts app on your iPhone. Depending on your setup, these could then be syncing to iCloud, your iPad and your Macs.

Wrapping Up
The process of syncing Facebook contacts to iPhone is easily accomplished in a few steps. The advantages are numerous in that you will always have the most up to date information and it’s accomplished with very little effort. Turning off the feature is easy, but you cannot easily reverse the influx of Facebook friends into your Contacts.

  • Carla Thomas

    What happens when the sync attaches the wrong pictures to the wrong contacts? My beautiful daughter now has a picture of my high school best friend Larry and my mom looks like a chubby boy I teach in High School Sunday School. How do I fix this mess?

  • Dan

    This is all good and fine, but where are the PHONE NUMBERS!!! The contacts came over with their facebook email and picture, but no phone numbers…

  • Michelle

    Mines doing the same… parents call, and there some hot guy I met at a bar showing up every time … oops – least i smile when i’m answering :)