There’s something wrong with iPhone contacts. Simple operations like deleting an old phone number fail randomly. Anybody knows why?

Case in point: one of my kids just moved to London for his first job. He now has a UK phone number. That’s what I want as the primary phone number for him. This seems like a simple enough operation: add it to the contact card, tap “OK”. Should be a piece of cake, right?

Except that it does not work. Old phone numbers keep returning. The new one sometimes disappears. Same thing with the new address. It took me no less than 12 attempts to finally get all the data I had typed to “stick”. It’s very frustrating to type data on a tiny phone keyboard only to see it evaporate in the iCloud…

My theory is that the iPhone tries to reconcile data from multiple sources, and does not “get it” when you try to suppress, say, a phone number and it still has it in old messages. So it “helpfully” wants to put it back. Except that this is an old phone number. So I want to get rid of it, get it?

I think this is the root cause because I finally got the contact card to look the way I wanted only after erasing all data from all contact cards. In any case, if you run into this situation, what worked for me was, again, to find all “linked contacts”, erase data first in all of them. And only then add the the new number.

Luckily, git is not as clumsy. Imagine if you had to split commits where you delete lines from commit where you add other lines!

Software is geting too smart of us mere humans. Or too dumb, you pick ;-).

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