How to Fix Apple Watch Contact Syncing Problems

Some people are experiencing problems with Contacts on their Apple Watch, or with initiating phone calls with Siri on your Apple Watch. The problem may be that your Contacts aren’t properly syncing, and Mac Geek Gab listener Bill wrote in (MGG 626) with the skinny on resetting it.

The Issue

The problem is that your Apple Watch is displaying phone numbers for some or all your incoming calls, even when the people calling you are in your Contacts. Alternately, you may find that Siri on your Apple Watch is unable to do something like, “Call Dave Hamilton,” even though Dave is in your contacts.

The Solution

To fix this, try resetting your Sync Data in the Watch app on your iPhone. It’s easy enough, but the last step isn’t entirely intuitive. Start by going to iPhone > Apple Watch > General > Reset > Reset Sync Settings. the following screenshots were taken in iOS 10.

Watch App on iPhone - Main Screen
Main Screen of Watch App on iPhone

On the screen above, tap General, and then scroll to the bottom and look for “Reset.'”

Watch App on iPhone - General Settings Screen
General Settings Screen for Watch App on iPhone

That will take you a screen with three options. The bottom one is “Reset Sync Data,” as shown below.

Watch App on iPhone - Reset Screen
Reset Screen in Watch App for iPhone

When you tap “Reset Sync Data,” the button will flash. And that’s it. You get no additional feedback letting you know the data is being reset, but that’s what’s happening. You’re done, and your Contacts should be properly synced in just a few minutes.

I’d call this an interface fail, for what it’s worth. It seems to me you should get a pop-up sheet that asks if you’re sure you want to reset data syncing, with an explanation that accepting means it’s happening.

That’s it! Thanks to Bill for writing in to Dave Hamilton and John F. Braun with the tip.

About MGG Answers:

Each week Dave Hamilton and John F. Braun provide some great troubleshooting advice to listeners of the Mac Geek Gab podcast. Here with MGG Answers we share some of those tips with the rest of the world!

2 thoughts on “How to Fix Apple Watch Contact Syncing Problems

  • After trying the “Reset” that everyone talks about, I still had no luck. I unpaired my watch, re-paired it. Force restarted my watch and phone. Still nothing. Some contacts would still only show up as phone numbers on my Apple Watch. What fixed it was adding the country code (+1) to the beginning of the phone number. Hope this helps someone else.

    1. The beginning of which phone number? I have 3000 contacts in my phone, so adding a +1 to the beginning of 3000 contacts that might have more than one phone number each isn’t a solution.

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