Recently, Facebook changed everyone’s email to an @facebook.com address. Even if you fixed the problem, you may find that Facebook changed all of the contacts in your phone, too. Here’s how to fix it.
A lot of us sync our Facebook accounts with our address books on our smartphones, so we always have up-to-date phone numbers, email addresses, and pictures for all of our friends. However, with Facebook changing everyone’s email to @facebook.com last week, blogger Rachel Luxemburg (and a lot of other people) found that those changes were synced down to their phone—meaning they don’t have any of their friends’ actual email addresses anymore. Just the facebook.com ones.
None of us at Lifehacker have noticed this problem, but we do have a few ideas about how to fix it. In fact, this will fix any similar problem you have where your contacts get messed up. Here’s what you need to do.
Step One: Restore Your Contacts to a Previous State
Some services—particularly Google—regularly back up your contacts so if something goes wrong, you can restore them. And, since nearly all Android users sync their contacts with Google—as well as many iPhone users—this is a good way to fix the contacts on your phone. To do so, just follow these instructions:
- Before you do anything else, go to your phone and turn off Facebook syncing for your contact list. On Android, this is in the Facebook app under Settings > Sync Contacts. Just set it to “Don’t Sync”. On the iPhone, go to the Facebook app, click the menu button, scroll down to “Friends”, then hit the share button in the upper right-hand corner. Tap “Sync Contacts” and turn syncing off. Note that depending on your platform, you may have a “Remove Facebook Data” button on the contact syncing screen—tapping this will also turn off syncing.
- Go to your Gmail inbox, and click on the “Gmail” label under the Google logo. Go to Contacts. Remember, this trick only works if you were syncing your phone with your Google contacts.
- Click the “More” button and go to “Restore Contacts”. We don’t know exactly when the Facebook change happened, but you’ll probably want to set it to restore your contacts from a day before June 22, 2012, so set it to whatever you need to go back that far.
- Click the Restore button. When it finishes, you should hopefully find that all of your contacts’ correct email addresses have been restored! As long as you don’t sync with Facebook again, they should stay that way.
If you don’t sync your contacts with Google, check to see if your desktop address book has any alternatives. For example, if you’re on a Mac and you back it up with Time Machine, you can just open up Address Book, invoke Time Machine from the menu bar, then restore it to a date before the Facebook ridiculousness happened. Then when you re-sync your iPhone, you should be good to go. Check your address book app’s documentation for more info on whether it has an automatic backup feature.
Step Two: Remind Your Friends to Change Their Facebook Profile
If you can’t restore your address book—or if you still want to be able to sync your Facebook—the only thing you can do is get all your friends to change their Facebook profile back to the way it was. That way, Facebook will sync their correct email address back to your phone. We’ve shown you how to do this before, so if you haven’t already, spread the word to all your friends and family so they don’t run into problems later on.
We couldn’t test these instructions ourselves, because none of us have experienced the issue, but this should help you get your contacts back to the way they were (or at least closer).