Nasty Bug in iOS 5.0.1 OTA Update screws up Address Book on the iPhone 4S

I updated my iPhone 4S earlier today (using the OTA method), and I discovered a nasty bug. My iPhone could no longer remember the names of any of my contacts! I opened up the contacts app on my phone and discovered that all of entries were still there but if I got a text or a call my iPhone would have a sudden bout of amnesia and forget the contacts name.

It’s even more bizarre when you’re trying to create a new text. In the example above I texted Erin Hontz. After I selected her as the contact, I wrote my message and hit send. In the message pane (pictured on the right) it would forget my contact’s name and just show the number.

I mentioned this on Twitter and many of my followers had similar experiences.

How to trigger the bug:

• Use the Delta Update (The OTA version)
• Be on an iPhone 4S (I haven’t had reports with the 4)
• Be On Verizon

Disabling (and re-enabling) iCloud contacts did not solve the issue.

Have you had any issues upgrading to iOS 5.0.1?

Update: Here is a partial fix

This method fixed my incoming calls but not incoming text messages. Your milage may vary.
via TSF reader James Foster

1) Open the Phone and dial *228. This is a Verizon over-the-air programming number.
2) When the system answer press 1 for “Program or activate your phone”
3) Wait for the call to disconnect. You should get a prompt stating something like, “Settings updated.”
4) Open the Task Manager (double click the home button) and kill the Phone, Message, and Contacts Applications
5) Wait a few minutes (I waited 3 just to be extra safe)
6) Open the Message App to verify the fix.

If you are still broken, kill the Message App again, then reboot your phone.

  • Jimmy

    I had a similar issue when I first got my iPhone 4S. I remember playing with iCloud settings and I got it to work again.

    • Anonymous

      Can you recall what you did that made it work? I tried turning it on and off several times but it didn’t work.

      • Ljordan27

        Im on AT&T and this has happened 2 x on my iphone 3gs and 1x on my daughters iphone4… i just reimported the contacts from the settings.. general settings > mail,contacts,calendars > scroll down to import SIM contacts.  hope that helps 🙂

      • Tblum14

        I did a system restore and then restored my contacts from iCloud. It put all my contacts back in the correct way. If you go to your contacts, does it look like xxxxxxxxxx or (xxx) xxx-xxxx? My contact phone numbers looked like the first one and when I tried to change it, it would not revert back to the regular formatting of a phone number. Restoring my phone did the trick and all messages/phone calls fixed!

  • Collinslash89

    I’m having the same problem here. If you figure it out how to fix it please update.

    • Ebassprodtwitter

      FYI – The phone is actually deleting the “+1” from the beginning of all of the contact numbers. If you need an immediate fix for certain people in your contacts, just go to their contact and add the +1 back to their number. Worked for me for a quick fix. Wouldn’t want to have to do it for everybody in my contacts though!!!

      • guest

        this is temporary and is not an actual solution.

        • Aufisn

          I’m facing the same issue and many others I talked to are having this problem. The strange thing is if the name appear with text messages it won’t appear on phone calls and if it appear on phone calls it won’t appear on text messages. For example, Andrew +968 12345678. If Andrew text me I see Andrew on the message header, but if he call I will see +968 12345678. If I change Andrew to 12345678 and he call me I see Andrew on the incoming call, but if text me I see +968 12345678.

          I did the Language change as suggested above, no improvement, did the delete contact and add as new, no change,what else is there?

          • .tomaZ

            Same issue here, iOS 5.0.1 on an iPhone 4 (not s) any clue?

  • Ad21635

    My phone won’t accept the OTA update.  I had to connect the device to my PC to complete the update but I’ll be looking for this bug as soon as I’m done.

    • Anonymous

      I haven’t seen it happen with updates that occur “the old fashioned way” (meaning: updates via iTunes), so hopefully you’ll be fine.

      • Pinkmoose

        Sure have a lot of problems with Apple phones. I’m glad I stuck with Motorola.

  • James Foster

    Here is the summary of the steps I took to correct the issue:
    1) Open the Phone and dial *228. This is a Verizon over-the-air programming number.
    2) When the system answer press 1 for “Program or activate your phone”
    3) Wait for the call to disconnect. You should get a prompt stating something like, “Settings updated.”
    4) Open the Task Manager and kill the Phone, Message, and Contacts Applications
    5) Wait a few minutes (I waited 3 just to be extra safe)
    6) Open the Message App to verify the fix.
    If you are still broken, kill the Message App again, then reboot your phone.
    Good luck!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks James, this fixed my phone contacts, but strangely enough, not my texts. 

  • I was looking forward to upgrading this weekend because my battery keeps dying because of iOS 5, but after reading all the issues, I’m going to pass.

    • Anonymous

      Andrew, update. This isn’t a widespread 5.0.1 OTA Update bug. I’ve an iPhone 4s, updated to ios 5.0.1 OTA, and haven’t had any problems. Nor have any of the people in the group I code with.

      • Daryl2313

        My battery became much worse after the update. I thought it was good before, could almost make it the whole day. Now I’m lucky to make it till the evening.

  • Ipjohnson123

    I fixed it by
    1) Setting -> iCloud
    2) Turn of contact sync (save local option)
    3) Turn sync contacts back on.

    • Anonymous

      I tried this, but the problem persisted. Thanks for sharing though!

  • Alan C

    With my update I found a duplicate of all my contacts at the bottom of the contacts list under # with the contact name listed in the: other : category = weird.
    After about 20 min of delete I’m back in perfect shape.   I also ran the above listed fix before I found this bit of info.  A bit of manual labor and I’m fine.

  • mimosa

    My Verizon iPhone came with this issue (5.0.0).

    I tried dialing *228 a bunch of times and restarting the phone. This inconsistently worked (I wiped the phone to try many different backups and restores).

    A trick that works well for me is to go to Settings > International > Language and change the language (ex. to British) and back to (American) English. This seems to work every time.

    • Hayloft_mi

      Thanks, this cleared up my problems as well!

  • Zach

    Mine geeked out before I updated to 5.0.1 the morning of the release all my call/text history reverted to just numbers no contact names and I couldn’t place any calls from contacts but I could direct dial the same number and it would go thru. Then it all cleared after I did the update so I’m not sure it was 5.0.1 that caused it.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had this problem randomly over my last few iPhone models. Weird.

  • Dannymenny

    I deleted the texts of the contacts who only showed numbers for and resent texts and it worked for every contact except the contacts with an iPhone

  • Bbach

    Same issue, fixed by blowing doing a complete erase and restore from backup prior to 5.01 update. Clearing settings did not fix it. Had to do complete erase the restore.

  • quidam823

    Thank you so much!! I was having the same problem, and your update fixed it immediately.

  • Chris

    I used mimosa’s trick and set the phone language to British English, quit the phone, messaging, and contacts apps, then set the phone back to US English and everything is back to normal.

  • Spazll

    I had this issue today and contacted apple and verizon.  I spoke with an awesome service tech from Verizon as the apple guy had no idea.  Essentially it’s and issue with the CDMA networks and GSM.  So to make a long story short do this:

    1) Dial *22899 (99 – is key to an iphone)
    2) Let it download and then restart the phone.
    3) When phone reboots hit your home key twice and kill ALL open apps.
    4) Restart phone again and you should be golden. 

    Best of luck…

    • Timah27

      Awesome!!! Thank you!! This worked perfectly!

    • Willy

      Thank you!!

    • Thanks, it worked! I had that for over 2 months, so i kept calling everyone to know who was that. -_-

    • Jemyjam

      After you update to the iPhone 4g S 5.0.1 there is a problem you do not see the nameAndtgay call, although he recorded in the phone book company communicationsVeruzon Yemen Mobile 11.2 (Cdma) I solution quickly and simplified explanation in detail

    • Phi941

      This happened to me after traveling to Japan with my phone. Dialed *228 – 2 fixed the problem !! thanks

  • Scott Amber1986

    I have a Verizon iPhone 4 s and the updated fucked my phone up! The contacts are all there but when I go to text or call the name disappears this is stupid and I have tried everything on here…is there anything else I can do???????

  • Dom S

    This happened with my daughter’s phone. We tried restore and reboot with no luck. We then went to a contact and changed something like delete name and re-add and the name came back. However, the interesting thing is that it only worked with contacts that had iPhones (not sure if common carrier was a thread). We did find that if we deleted all the text msgs and phone calls for the other contacts and then texted or called the person, the name came back for that person (this is for the non-iPhone users like my wife). Not a good solution if there is a lot of time devoted to text msgs. Fortunately, my daughter just got her iPhone and dear ole dad suggested she update to 5.0.1.

  • Pingback: Fix iOS 5.0.1 Contact Bug Issue On iPhone 4S [How-To] | iPhone 4s Guide()

  • Paul Hontz of The Startup Foundry didnt find the bug, its been addressed since the update of iOS 5, wonder why people don’t do research before boasting like this…shame shame….this issue has been address all over apples forum and on redmondpie, green poison and many other idevice forums….apple pls fix this for us…

  • Leonard-75

    had same problem, went to genius bar and it has been a problem for those doing the update over the air only.  they said its the first time apple has does such a thing so they are still working out the kinks.  the firmware is bad and the only way to fix it is have them wipe your phone as to make it just like a brand new phone and then you go home and sync at home.  when they wipe your phone, your phone will have iOS 5.0.1 already so you won’t have to update and then go home and sync or cloud sync and all is fine.  painful but true.  

  • CardsWin2011

    I had this exact problem…Dial *22899 WORKED!!! Thanks Spazll

  • Pamb850

    Switching to British English and back to English seems to have fixed my address book and contacts! Thank you!!!

  • Tombstone16

    My droid does that too

  • Kwanlau

    You be awesome!  Thanks for the fix!

  • Pingback: Fix iOS 5.0.1 Contact Bug Issue On iPhone 4S [How-To] | Articles()

  • Wickwar

    I have this issue on iPhone 4 with ATT?

  • Guest

    Had same problem. However, I noticed a couple of strange things that
    led me down a different path in successfully troubleshooting. I placed a
    LOCAL call this afternoon and an automated message from Verizon
    switched on and told me I didn’t have long distance or INTERNATIONAL
    calling supported by my plan. Not true. I have a nationwide call plan,
    unlimited. Then I noticed that all my call history was just numbers,
    no names. So clearly there was an interconnected issue with how the
    phone was ~looking~ at my contacts numbers. Then, as per advice from
    another source, I turned off International Assist (go to Settings >
    scroll down to Phone > International Assist [switch to OFF]). I
    rebooted my phone but this did not work. However, after activating
    (*228, option 1), the problem was solved. A telling clue was that
    International Assist might have been part of the problem was that after
    the problem was fixed I noticed that any calls to numbers in my contacts
    were listing appropriately. However, for any calls NOT in my contacts,
    there was something amiss. Example: what should have been shown as an
    incoming call from (theoretical) number 555-555-5555 was displaying as
    +55 (5) 555-5555. To me, this looks like it actually was an issue with
    International Assist. Try turning it (IA) off, reactivate the phone,
    reboot. That should do it without having to blow away your settings or
    restore. Good luck!

  • Micfreez

    Hi there

    I am an iPhne 4 user, i do have the same issue, Apple should have spare time to fix this kind of issues.

  • Anonymous

    my sister’s itouch has a similar issue that she had since 5.0, and 5.0.1 where she can’t add or edit contacts in the address book app. She can in the imessage app however…

  • Dhollister

    Thank you Thank you!!! It has been a long day trying to figure out what I had done wrong!!

  • Bradgreen

    All you have to do is switch to British English and the contact names show up again.

  • Mcfad5

    I have an iPhone 4, AT&T and was having this problem after upgrading to iCloud. Just tried the trick mentioned below… went to settings>general>international and changed language to british english, then went back in and changed it back to english. It worked!! Thanks 🙂

    • mn

      Thanks very much. This worked.

      • km63

        I thought I was losing my mind with this bug. I am so glad I finally found the fix. How in the world did someone figure this out I wonder? Thanks for posting it!

    • Buttercup222

      What a strange and super easy fix! Thanks for the help – worked for me!

    • Kurt

      worked! thanks heaps!

    • Guest

      You are a genius!!

    • Peeandily

      Thankyou for saving my sanity!!

    • yena tembarny

      thanks , i think it will work now

  • R8zzberries

    Mimosa’s tip worked!!!!

  • Susans

    The  “partial fix” above was a “total fix” for me.  I did exactly as it said, except I checked the message app immediately…and the phone app and all my contact names are back (instead of phone numbers). 

    Thanks!  I’ve spent so much time trying to discover what I might have accidentally changed.  Good to know I didn’t do anything 🙂

  • Peter

    I want to delete an unwanted e/mail address,and can’t do it.I have tried everything.The contact has been deleted but the e/mail still stay’s in my contact list.IE. I go to the send icon in mail and type in the first letter,and it still appears…HELP please.

  • Cutiepantz64

    OMG I LOVE YOU!!!! I cant believe that actually worked!!! This exact thing happened to me!!!!! THANK YOU!!! ¡Gracias!!!

  • Jewde

    I have a iphone 3G .. I recently updated my phones software on i tunes to ios 5.0.1 and now i have noticed that you cant delete contacts and there is no edit button in contacts.. you can only edit from the called lists but you cant delete contacts …Can anyone help me ?? 

  • Geoff

    I did the OTA update and reboot. Nothing. I changed the language settings from English > Italian > English and all of my text messages had the correct names from my contacts. Thanks all. 

  • Louise4ev

    I have an iPhone 3gs and your method of just killing the messages phone and contacts programs worked a treat, thank you!

  • Ruby084

    It worked great for me too! Thanks! 

  • Jojo

    updated to iOS5.1 on IPAD, apps CW and TV.Com will not work.  

  • Jpetro414

    Has anyone noticed the phone is lower after the 5.01 update? The ringer is not quite as loud

  • Luke Hughes

    this is a very simple fix…. just change language to a different one than set.. then change back automaticly assigns names to numbers in your inbox..

  • Doperush

    Laguage switch worked for me on 4s verizon. thank you. BTW nothing else worked mentioned here.

  • mermaidmadi

    I have tried every single thing listed here…None of it has worked for me. I have tried each of them several times, too… My contacts have gone from about 200 to 67…

  • Joe

    This worked…thanks!! It was driving me crazy!

  • Kgodbold0873

    What i did was I went into my contacts and added a contact of someone who was alread in my phone and hit save and all my contacts came back 🙂

  • I found a method that worked for me.
    I deleted all my messages cuz they were showing up as numbers then I sent a SMS to whoever I was texting and in my case it was my gf and once it sent I looked to see my messages app and sure enough her name was displaying instead of her number and when I opened it, her name was at the top too and not her number (: I also did this with other people one being my cousin and then my friends (: let me know if this worked for you guys or if I just lucked out!
    I have an iPhone 4S from AT&T unlocked with the Gevey Ultra S on 5.0.1 and jailbroken but I honestly don’t think jailbreak or unlock has anything to do with this 5.0.1 bug.

  • Kadie

    I have an Iphone4 and all of my contacts are gone…  They were there early yesterday and gone last night.  I noticed that my boyfriends number was appearing on his text instead of his name. I then checked my contacts and the “No Contacts” messages was showing.  I have done the turning off and on of the ‘contacts’ under ICloud, nothing. The only ones I have now are just the folks I could salvage from text messages. I now have 20 out of 200 or so.  No too happy at the moment.

    • Kadie

      I also did the language change and still not contacts.

  • Maddismaw

    Worked for me! As far as helping me find a solution for this problem,Siri was as useless as the tits on a boar hog!

  • Johnson Mike


  • Johnson Mike
  • sw


    So I struggled with the same problem on my iphone. Nothing else worked for me but this.

    To fix this go into your contacts and in the search bar search for the number that your iphone is forgetting. It will come up as a contact as just a number but with no name. Click on this contact and hit edit and add back in the name. That should fix any problems in both the phone and messaging apps.

    Hope this works for you.

  • Libbyvt

    Thanks for the info. This worked for me.