Weird problem with contacts in ecloud

Hi all, I’m hoping an ecloud expert can pass on some inspiration here.

I have contacts saved in a VCF.
I have two phones, a FP3 running FPOS, and a FP2 running /e/, which I updated to v.1 today :slight_smile:
The phones are both configured to use CardDAV / DAVx5 with the ecloud account.
I need to synchronise my contacts between the two devices and Before starting, I deleted all contacts on both devices.
So far, nothing extraordinary …!

My initial idea was to go to the web interface and import my contacts. That went fine, and the contacts synced to the devices. OK so far! So I had my contacts in ecloud, and on the devices, just as intended.

Having the contacts accessible on a device with a proper keyboard, via ecloud, makes editing and correcting much easier. But when I later returned to ecloud, the contacts had gone! Just a message saying " There are no contacts yet" … Curious sense of humour.

Additional info:

  • The contacts are still on the devices, and what’s more, modifications are synced correctly between the devices.
  • When I create a new contact in the web interface manually, it also gets synced to the devices, but disappears from the web interface like a lump of sugar dropped into a cappuccino.
  • I configured the webmail Rainloop to access the contacts through the https url and THAT works, too!
    So that’s three irrefutable indicators that the contacts are in ecloud.

So the only place I can’t access my contacts is, well, in ecloud Contacts!
Any ideas? This is driving me nuts.

1 Like


Does any of your imported contacts include an uncommon field, for example an image or photo ?
Did you try with another browser, and/or using InPrivate mode with add-ons disabled ?
What about attempting to download the address book?

1 Like

Thanks very much for your reply :relaxed:

I use Firefox with no exotic add-ons, and I haven’t encountered any rendering problems as such. Looks more server-side to me.
I’m inclined to suspect that the way in which I did the import may have something to do with it. It happened half by accident. I had intended to use the “Import contacts” button at the bottom of “Settings”, visible in your screenshot, and was just making sure of the VCF which was in my ecloud files. I clicked on the file, expecting to be able to open it as a text file, but instead, and without asking [Edit: I think], ecloud processed it automatically as imported contacts. So the problem my lie in the fact that I didn’t use the “proper” tool.

I also don’t have any problem visualising contacts in a different account, that were created on a phone and got synced “up” to ecloud, so I think that discounts the browser.

I have downloaded the contacts as you suggested, there’s no doubt that they are “there”, it’s just that the web interface is refusing to load them correctly. I’m pretty sure that there are no fancy fields in there, but I’ll check …
Thanks again!

Another way to look at the issue is the version of .vcf which your device(s) produce.

The connection (I think) with fields and images is that a .vcf can contain a lot of fields, but I feel that it is significant that the fields correspond to a current .vcf version.

The .vcf which I first imported to /e/ was problematic, but I put it through a python script to convert it to a modern spec and it was accepted.

1 Like

I’m making progress (in a way …) -

In Settings, I created a new Address book, and have created in it a couple of contacts manually through the web interface. They are visible and have survived a logout / login. Perfectly normal behaviour.

What’s more, I can make these contacts disappear and re-appear at will by Enabling / Disabling their address book (checkbox in settings). When disabled, I see the same “There are no contacts yet” message that I got before (you have to reload the page), so that at least I can visually simulate the effect.

Unfortunately, this rudimentary on/off treatment does not let me visualise the contacts in the default “Contacts” address book.

@aibd Thanks for the idea. All the devices, and ecloud, are using 4.0. The phone software is using VCARD 4, but ecloud is using VCARD 3. I have no photos, it’s all very simple, mostly just names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Today I did the following:

  • deleted all address books in ecloud
  • updated the phones, so the contacts disappeared on them too.
  • in ecloud, created a new address book, but didn’t put any contacts in it to begin with
  • updated the configuration of the phones so they could sync with the new address book
  • in ecloud, used the “Import contacts” button to import from a vcf on the PC
  • the import was successful AND the contacts were all visible. I spent about an hour and a half going through them, editing, deleting, merging etc. The phones synced correctly and downloaded the contacts. Then I had a break and logged off …
  • and when I log on again, the web interface again refuses to display (or indeed recognize the existence of) the contacts. The phones are still syncing properly. I downloaded an export from ecloud, looks OK.
  • strange detail: using Firefox on a PC, in Settings, I can see the name of the address book I created, and i can create a contact. However if I open the same thing on the phones, on one of the phones I can see the address book but on the other I can’t and the web interface (in perfect logic, I admit) refuses to create a contact, since “there is no address book”.

How strange! I would be interested to know what Android version each phone is running.

FP3 running FPOS A.0013.3 which is undergoing beta-testing, it’s Android 11
FP2 running /e/ v. 1.0 (so also Android 11).

1 Like

In the web interface, I can create new contacts in the new session, and they get synced to the phones.

But I’m confident that after logging off, or possibly just reloading the page by clicking the “Contacts” icon in the toolbar at the top, those three will disappear with the others …

And they duly did ! All I did was click the Contacts icon to reload the page.

1 Like

I have no real idea. In the same way that your browser uses a cache to hold transient data, I guess the remote server will also have a buffer and a backup. In the event the remote server is handling too much conflicting input, could it have dropped to an inactive mode?

I think you might consider asking to investigate if the issue does not clear.

1 Like

Thanks. Yes I think this is going to have to go to helpdesk. At least I’ve documented it so I don’t have to do that again :wink:
And it seems to be reproducible.

I still do not know why this is happening but … we have been talking about the logic of your loading a “physical” .vcf to the cloud … and you started by asking for a cloud expert to help you “edit”, perhaps “tidy up” your cloud!

You might review Migrate to /e/

If I had a .vcf file, I would first want the phone to work, secondly have a synced backup. (Master and slave.)

I would clear the cloud, even detach it. Copy my .vcf to the phone (SD card probably) then ask the Contacts app to:
Import from .vcf file

As I understand it, the Contacts app will now offer to store the data on the device or in the /e/ Address book. I know from the experience of importing small secondary .vcf files (using the Contacts app) that this will work to /e/ Address book (master on device) the cloud will sync it and subsequently my second phone will adopt the numbers.

I believe this is where you started from.

My point … is merely that the cloud (and I!) does not now know who is master and who is slave.

Does the “tidying up” involve historic merged contacts? If so, that task might have to be done outside of Android!

1 Like

Many thanks. My thoughts had begun to follow similar lines, i.e. begin by importing on one of the devices, then sync to the cloud.

I will also review the “Migrate” stuff, since this is indeed what I’m doing. But rest assured, I wasn’t expecting any help with tidying up my cloud data, just somebody who might understand the strange phenomenon I was observing!

As to the notion of “master and slave” it hadn’t really occurred to me in so many words, since syncing is bi-directional and so in my mind it’s just a question of database replication. To that extent, I suppose in my mind the “master” would be the cloud if anywhere, which is probably why I elected to import there, rather than on the phone, but I do see how most people would probably look at it the other way round.

Since the actual syncing is working normally I think I’ll begin by deleting all the records on one of the phones, wait for that to replicate (experience tells me that patience is important here, despite the possibility of forcing sync), and then import on the phone. I’ll also do it in stages, (100, then 50, 50, 25 …) because I had wondered about a problem with number of records (over 300 so maybe more than average, but to my mind that’s chicken feed …) Or do you think I should create a new address book - and do that on the phone, too? Yes … with this approach it’s probably best to start from scratch again, but on the phone this time.

Many thanks again.

Oh, dear, me and my rude way of summarising things, I am so sorry, I meant no offense, if there was some hidden negative content in the back of my mind it was aimed at Android. I am sorry for lack of clarity.

Let me return to that idea. I was struggling to find an answer to the question, what has gone wrong? As I read your OP I found nothing out of order until I re read this phrase:

Having the contacts accessible on a device with a proper keyboard, via ecloud, makes editing and correcting much easier.

That is the problem; my small brain said.

I found that when I put my carefully curated .vcf (built when I still had a memory) into a spreadsheet, instead of finding a comma separated file of 6 or so fields, I found empty fields, comparably equivalent fields in different columns, leading zeros, and odd bits of punctuation!

Back to now …

Or do you think I should create a new address book - and do that on the phone, too?

Well you want your phone to work soonest. So my inclination would be to get a list of friends and family together, feed it into your phone and avoid editing it till you are happy that the cloud is working.

Meanwhile, out of Android, you could look at whatever you feel needs “editing and correcting” in your bigger address book and make adjustments.

The decision to do this in small or large parcels might depend on what adjustments are required.

It might be a learning experience to put a copy of your .vcf through the script linked earlier then diff the new .vcf with the old to look for insights.


Yep that’s the way to go for editing, without a doubt. I’ll start with a few essential contacts as you suggest while I work on it. And to think that I myself am always droning on about using the right tool for the right job … :upside_down_face:

1 Like

Short update on an old problem.

I still don’t see my contacts in ecloud, and they still replicate correctly between devices through ecloud, so they must be “there” too, just not visible for some reason.

I know another person who had contacts on their phone, created a account and synced their contacts. The contacts are not visible in ecloud, any more than mine are.

I shall continue to trawl the forum in search of similar cases.

Is it the case that Contacts app is missing – or is the Contacts app unpopulated ?

From my instance of → SHOW ALL APPS, I see this layout of Apps present, represented as icons.

Files 		Email 		Contacts 	Calendar 	Notes 		Tasks
Photos 		Activity 	Carnet 		Bookmarks 	Deck 		GitLab
Spot 		Murena	 	Donate		News 		Passwords 	Document
Spreadsheet	Presentation

I would guess this is the standard set of apps as I do not remember making any deliberate additions or subtractions.

The app is available in the web interface and lists the address books I have created.
The contacts created on the phones replicate through ecloud to all other connected devices, they just don’t appear in the web interface!
I’m using Davx5 for contacts and calendar, replication all works fine.
I can access the calendar in the web interface just not the contacts!

While we know that Calendar app can import multiple calendars what you are describing sounds like Contacts app does not handle multiple address books nicely; just my view Contacts app expects to be the address book ?

After looking carefully again, the contacts “app” in the Murena web interface was no longer showing all my address books, one was missing in the Address books list.

Then, when I looked again later on using a web browser on my phone (so “responsive” interface), I could see all three. I’ve just checked again in a desktop web browser and all three are shown in the list.

However, only two out of 319 contacts are actually shown, both from a “test” address book I created.
As I’ve already stated several times, the address books replicate correctly from device to device, through Murena, it’s just that I can’t see the contacts in the web interface.

I’ve already tried deleting all contacts and all address books in Murena and then creating new ones, either in the web interface or on the phone. None of these attempts has improved anything.