How to turn off Facebook access to Contacts in iOS 6, and why you should

Sections: Features, How-To, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPhone, iPhone OS, SDK and hacks, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Originals

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I’m not a Facebook hater; I use the service every day to connect with friends and family members, share photos and links, and keep track of events. I do, however, maintain a very close eye on my privacy settings and am deeply suspicious of Facebook’s handling of my private data. This is why I viewed the idea of Facebook being integrated into iOS 6 with deep pessimism.

Part of this was fueled by the idea of my contacts being overwritten by largely-useless Facebook email addresses. As this Digital Trends article explains, Facebook started assigning users email addresses that were supposed to go into your messages folder. But the system didn’t work right, people didn’t know they had a Facebook email address, and, to make matters worse, they were overwriting legitimate email addresses in contacts.

So, while I definitely wanted an easier way to share links using my iPhone, I definitely did not want my Contacts to be overwhelmed by useless email addresses, or have my calendar loaded up with Facebook events. Yes, I am one of those people who say I’m going to an event just to disable notifications. Sue me.

Luckily, Apple has headed Facebook off at the pass and made it possible to turn off the syncing feature. It even says so right in the sign in page:

To make it even better, once you do sign in to Facebook using iOS 6, the toggle switch to turn off Contacts/Events syncing is right there on the Facebook settings page, and not, say, buried three menus deep in your privacy account in a disused lavatory with a sign that says “Beware of the Leopard.”

Just toggle the switch to “off.” Kudos to Apple for giving their users more control, and easier control, over how their information is shared.

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  • Jenn Gosselin

    I have iPhone 4 and installed iOS6. I do not get that toggle. I reinstalled Facebook and it said “new” when the new icon showed up on the screen. But, alas, I am unable to toggle off contacts and calendar. Any insight? Thanks.

  • Bill Stiteler


    You have to be signed in to Facebook using the iOS 6 system software, not just the app itself. Go to Settings > Facebook and enter your login information. The toggle switches for Contacts and Events will show up after that.

  • Jenn Gosselin

    Ah! It popped up. I was afraid to sign in at all because I thought that was when the syncing started. Appreciate the support.

  • Murphy Mac

    Does turning on Facebook integration share your iPhone Contacts with Facebook? I don’t want an option to turn that off after the fact. I want it to never happen.
    Can’t understand from the wording in the interface ‘warning’ if the contact exchange is bi-directional as soon as you turn this feature on.


  • Free Dumb

    Yes it is bi-directional and Facebook is giving you notice that it plans to turn all the info they can access from your contacts and (calender?) will be entered into their data compiling, analyzing and marketing scheme so that all that info will get added to your dossier to be analyzed and risk assessed by relevant parties. It will put through data analysis by the new fascist state. Their plan is almost a reality, the humans will soon be shown who their true masters are. And here we sit docile accepting our fate. its coming, get rid of facebook, and do something that matters, time is short.

  • Van

    How do I un allow FBI to use my photos? I made the error of clicking yes to ” FB wants access to your photos” help Please!!!

    • Bill Stiteler

      You’ll find it under Settings > Privacy > Photos > Toggle “Facebook” to “off.”

  • oron

    I did that after regretted synching, but it doesn’t help, because every contact that has already been synched, stays with the facebook info and profile photo. I turned the toggle switch off on contacts, clicked the ‘update’ button, and still no change. turned the iphone off and on many times, and still, no change – facebook contacts still associated with my contact list :(

  • Ryan

    I’m having the same issue Oron. It’s getting on my nerves because I just want those contacts gone. I’ve done the same steps and those Facebook contacts won’t go away!! :/

  • findiphone6

    is that still working on iOS7?? !

  • ben

    I’m on IOS7, still can disable fb to use my contact, however, my phone number is on my friend contact list, and fb on their is allow to use their contact -> eventually, fb still recognize the connection between me & people have my number

  • mathew

    I am having the same issue to Van . I can’t found “toggle” in Photos menu! Pls help me?