A Guide to Fixing iMessage Notifications Not Showing Contact Name

Top 5 Fixes for iMessages Not Syncing on Your Mac

Are you getting iMessage notifications that don’t have contact names on your MacBook? The situation gets even more confusing when you open iMessage and the conversation shows the contact’s name. So what could cause iMessage notifications to carry the phone number (or email address) of the senders and not the name of the contact saved on your device? You are about to find out. We will show you five (5) troubleshooting solutions that will help you get things right.

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From observation, this error mostly occurs when you sign out of Apple ID on your Mac. Likewise, iMessage notifications may not carry the contact names if there is an issue with your MacBook’s iCloud Contacts syncing. Interestingly, you really don’t need to sweat as this problem is easily fixed. Without wasting any more time, let’s move on to solutions.

1. Restart Mac

While MacBooks (read: macOS) is fairly stable, it is recommended that you turn it off occasionally. Especially when your Mac is slow or some features are not working properly. I went there – ran into this problem, that is – and restarting my MacBook restored iMessage notifications to normal. You should try it too.


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Tap the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the menu bar and select Restart.


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2. Check the contact apps

If some people’s iMessage notifications don’t have a contact name, you need to confirm that the people’s phone number (or email address) is saved in your Mac’s contact book. Launch the Contacts app on your MacBook and search for the contact’s name.

You can search for contacts by name or by phone number.


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If the name / number gives no result, there are two possibilities:

  1. The number is not saved to your Mac or iCloud account.
  2. The number is saved to iCloud but has not been synced with your Mac.

For the latter, go to solution # 3 to re-sync iCloud contacts to your Mac. As with the first scenario, you can add the number to your device by following the steps below.

Step 1: Open iMessage chat with the unregistered number.

2nd step: Move your cursor over the number and click the drop-down button.


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Step 3: Select “Add to Contacts” from the menu.


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Step 4: Enter the contact details and click Create to add the number or email to your Mac contacts.


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If contact sync is enabled in your Mac’s iCloud setup, the newly added contact will also be saved to your iCloud account and devices.

3. Reactivate contact synchronization

iMessages identifies people to whom you are texting by matching their iMessage ID (phone number or email) with your iCloud contacts database. Although iCloud syncs are instant, there are times when they don’t work properly. If iMessage notifications show the contact names of some people but not others, you need to turn Contacts sync back on in the iCloud settings on your Mac. Here’s how to do it.

Note: ICloud sync requires an active internet connection. Make sure your Mac is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet before continuing.

Step 1: Launch System Preferences and click Apple ID.


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2nd step: Go to the iCloud section.


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Step 3: In the list of apps using iCloud, uncheck Contacts.


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Step 4: Wait about 5-10 seconds and check the contacts again.


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Wait for your iCloud to set up and sync your contacts with your Mac.


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Now check if iMessage notifications show contact names.

4. Reconfigure contact recovery settings

This is similar to re-enabling iCloud Contacts sync, but it follows an entirely different process.

Step 1: Launch the Contacts app on your Mac.

2nd step: Tap Contacts in the menu bar and select Preferences.


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Step 3: Go to the Accounts tab.


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Step 4: Uncheck “Activate this account”, wait about 5 seconds and check the option again.


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Step 5: Also, make sure that contact recovery is set to Automatically.


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Now go back to the Contacts app and check if all your contacts are now showing. Also ask someone from your contact to text you and see if their message displays a name.

5. Update Mac

This problem has causal factors and varying solutions. While the above solutions worked magic for some iMessage users, others had to install the latest version of macOS on their Mac to make contact names reappear on iMessages notifications.


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This leads us to believe that a software bug could also be causing the problem. Therefore, if the troubleshooting methods mentioned so far have proven to be abortive, update your Mac’s operating system.

Go to System Preferences> Software Update and click the Update Now button.


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Know who is texting

IMessage notifications that aren’t tagged with contact names are pretty annoying; they leave you in the dark for a minute until you read the content of the text. Follow the solutions above to resolve the issue. And if you are facing similar issue with iMessage on your iOS devices, refer to this guide to fix iMessage notifications on iPhone and iPad.

Then:

Are you getting iMessage is disconnected error on your iPhone? Find out 8 Ways to Fix iMessage Not Working on iPhone in the article linked below.

Last updated Nov 25, 2020

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