Have you received iMessage notifications on your MacBook that don’t have contact names? The situation gets even more confusing when you turn on iMessage and the contact’s name is displayed in the conversation. So what could cause iMessage notifications to carry the sender’s phone number (or email address) and not the contact name stored on your device? You are about to find out. We’ll show you five (5) troubleshooting solutions to help you get things back in order.
According to observation, this error mostly occurs when you sign out of Apple ID on your Mac. Likewise, iMessage notifications may not carry contact names if your MacBook has a problem with iCloud contact syncing. Interestingly, you don’t really need to bother as this glitch is easily fixable. Let’s move on to the solutions without wasting any more time.
1. Restart the Mac
While MacBooks (read: macOS) are pretty stable, it’s recommended to turn them off occasionally. Especially if your Mac is slow or some features are not working properly. I’ve been there – I had this problem, so – and restarting my MacBook got the iMessage notifications back to normal. You must try too.
Tap the Apple logo in the upper left corner of the menu bar and select Restart.
Check for 2nd Person Apps
If iMessage notifications for specific contacts don’t have contact names, you should verify that their 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 name.
You can search for contacts by name or phone number.
If the name/number does not work, there are two possibilities:
- The number is not saved to your Mac or iCloud account.
- The number is saved in iCloud, but is not synced to your Mac.
For the latter, skip to solution 3 to resync iCloud contacts to your Mac. As for the first case scenario, you can add the number to your device by following the steps below.
Stage 1: Open iMessage chat with unsaved number.
Step 2: Move your cursor to the number and click the drop-down button.
Stage 3: Select ‘Add to Contacts’ from the menu.
Step 4: Enter the contact details and click Create to add the number or email to your Mac contacts.
If your Mac’s iCloud configuration has contacts sync enabled, the newly added contact is also saved to your iCloud account and your devices.
3. Re-Enable Contact Sync
iMessages identifies the people you text with by matching their iMessage ID (phone number or email) with iCloud’s Contacts database. While iCloud syncs are instant, there are times when it doesn’t work properly. If iMessage notifications show the contact names of some people but not others, you should re-enable Contacts syncing in your Mac’s iCloud settings. Here’s how to do it.
Note: iCloud sync requires an active internet connection. Before continuing, make sure your Mac is connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or ethernet.
Stage 1: Launch System Preferences and click Apple ID.
Step 2: Go to iCloud.
Stage 3: Uncheck Contacts in the list of apps using iCloud.
Step 4: Wait about 5 to 10 seconds and check Contacts again.
Wait for your iCloud to set up and sync your contacts to your Mac.
Now check if iMessage notifications show contact names.
4. Reconfigure Contacts Fetch Settings
This is similar to re-enabling iCloud Contacts sync, but follows a completely different procedure.
Stage 1: Launch the Contacts app on your Mac.
Step 2: Tap Contacts in the menu bar and select Preferences.
Stage 3: Go to the Accounts tab.
Step 4: Uncheck ‘Enable this account’, wait about 5 seconds and tick the option again.
Step 5: Also, make sure contact fetching is set to Automatic.
Now return to the Contacts app and check if all your contacts are now visible. Also, ask one of your contacts to text you and check if their message shows a name.
5. Update Mac
This problem has different causal factors and different solutions. While the solutions above worked the magic for some iMessage users, others needed to install the latest version of macOS on their Mac for their contact name to reappear in their iMessage notifications.
This leads us to believe that a software bug could also trigger the problem. So, if the troubleshooting methods mentioned so far have been unsuccessful, update your Mac’s operating system.
Go to System Preferences > Software Update and click the Update Now button.
Know Who Is Texting
iMessage notifications that aren’t labeled 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 fix the problem. If you have a similar issue with iMessage on your iOS devices, refer to this guide to fix iMessage notifications on iPhone and iPad.
Next: Getting iMessage signed out error on your iPhone? Check out 8 ways to fix iMessage not working on iPhone in the post linked below.