Contacts won't synchronize

Epicenter Contacts are not showing on the phones

This is a common problem due to additional configuration requirements for your installation. Please perform these three steps, in order, to resolve the problem.

  1. Make sure the appropriate folder has been enabled to appear on the device. On an iPhone, click Groups in the top left of the Contacts app.
  2. If this is a new installation, make sure you wait long enough. Sometimes the first synchronization can take thirty minutes or more.
  3. If you are on iPhone/iPad, make sure Push is turned on in Settings | Accounts | Fetch New Data. If the contacts still won't sync, try forcing the contacts to sync, as follows:
    1. Go to Settings | Accounts.
    2. Open your Exchange ActiveSync account.
    3. Turn Contacts off.
    4. Turn Contacts on again.
    5. Check your Contacts.
  4. If you are sending contacts to the default Contacts folder, the contact may be filed differently than you expect. Look up the contact on the phone by both first name and last name. Ordering may be different on the phone than it is on Exchange.

If contacts still don't appear, then narrow down the problem by performing the following steps:

  1. Go to the computer for one of the people who receives updates from Epicenter.
  2. Start Outlook.
  3. Go to the folder that Epicenter created in the mailbox of one of the recipients, or to the default Contacts folder if you are distributing to the default contacts folder.
  4. Manually create a new contact in that folder in Outlook.
  5. Wait for the phone to sync the contact (or not.)

This process tests if the folder is syncing, independent of Epicenter Server. If your new contact does not sync, then it’s a problem unrelated to Epicenter. 

If your new contact does sync, then it’s a problem with Epicenter Server. Please visit our support site at and submit a support ticket.

Epicenter does not overwrite contacts that users change

Administrators often expect that changes made by users to Epicenter contacts will be overwritten the next time Epicenter runs. In practice, this does not usually happen.

Epicenter only overwrites a contact when that contact changes on the server. Updating a contact is very expensive in terms of time, especially if you have Hosted Exchange. If Epicenter overwrote all contacts on every run, then it would take literally days to run for some of our larger customers. Conversely, if Epicenter read every contact from every mailbox to try and look for changes made by users, it would place a significant load on the Exchange Server.

So Epicenter does not rewrite a contact until it changes on the server.

Administrators can force a global rewrite by selecting the Strict Updates option from the Task menu and clicking Send Now. This allows administrators to decide when it needs to be done.

In practice, if users believe that they can successfully save these changes, this can cause significant problems due to data loss. Some advance warning to your users is recommended.

Some users receive partial updates

First, look in the Epicenter folder in Outlook for one of the users having the issue. See if the contact in the folder has a correct values. If it does, then the problem is related to ActiveSync. We've definitely seen that happen if you have "Push" disabled on the phone, especially iPhones. The contacts get updated on an unpredictable schedule.

You can test for this by making a change to a field in Outlook for one of the problem contacts. See if it syncs to the phone. If it doesn't, then try the opposite. Make a change to that field on the phone, wait for it to sync, and see if the contact in the Epicenter folder was updated.

You may also be seeing contacts on the phone that aren't controlled by Epicenter. These might have been created by the user before Epicenter was installed. You can test for this with the same strategy of making a change to the contact on the phone and seeing if that syncs with the contact in the Epicenter folder in Outlook.

Note that Outlook has its own synchronization oddities and it's often safer to review and edit the contacts with the Outlook web interface.

New contacts sync to phones but changed contacts do not

This very rare problem can happen to customers who have used Epicenter Server for several years.The solution is to wipe all Epicenter contacts in all mailboxes and the allow Epicenter to recreate them.

  1. Open Epicenter Server
  2. Edit the task
  3. Go to the Recipients tab.
  4. Remove all recipients (copy them to notepad for safety.)
  5. Click OK
  6. Go to the Tools menu and select Cleanup Mailboxes.
  7. Select the desired folder.
  8. Click Clean
  9. Wait for the process to complete
  10. Edit the recipients again and paste back in the recipients you removed earlier.
  11. Click OK.
  12. Click Send now to recreate all contacts.