Q: Somebody at my local Apple Store told me that I can automatically get my contact photos from Twitter and Facebook, but I’m kind of unclear on how this works. I set up Twitter and Facebook in my iPhone settings, but I don’t get any updates to my contacts. Facebook gives me a separate contact list with all of the people on it, but doesn’t update any of my actual contacts. Am I missing something here?

Updating Contacts with Twitter and Facebook info

– Dan

A: Although iOS 6 can update some information from Twitter and Facebook such as your contact photos, this process does not happen automatically—you have to initiate it by going into the Facebook and Twitter sections in the iOS Settings app and tapping the “Update Contacts” button.

This feature uses the e-mail addresses and phone numbers in your Contacts to attempt to match users on their respective social networks, so keep in mind that this will only work if the e-mail address or phone number that a Twitter/Facebook user has listed matches what’s already in your Contacts. It’s not uncommon for people to list alternate e-mail addresses when signing up for these social networks.

Also keep in mind that this will also not overwrite any pictures you have already assigned to your contacts manually—it only adds photos to those contacts that do not already have a photo assigned. Further, the Twitter or Facebook username fields won’t be assigned to your contacts if you’re using a service such as Exchange or Google Sync as these don’t support the social media username fields.

Note that you do not need to have the “Contacts” option turned on in the Facebook settings to update your main contacts. As you’ve noted, this simply provides an alternate contact directory pulled from your Facebook account, and is only necessary if you want to have all of your Facebook friends listed in your iOS Contacts app.


Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.