Contacts won't print with Sonoma

Since upgrading to Sonoma I’ve found Contacts won’t print. In fact, as soon as I click on print dialog, the app freezes and I have to force quit. I can’t print a single contact let alone my Christmas list. Is there a workaround or another app that will import Contacts and print labels?

Huh, will you look at that? Now, granted, I never tried to print from Contacts before – even in the pre-OS X days.

But you’re quite right – select print, and several minutes later force quit is the only way out.

I also only rarely print from Contacts, but I do the occasional envelope. That is still working for me in Sonoma. However, as soon as I switch the Style from Envelopes to List, I get the spinning rainbow wheel of death. (Switching to Mailing Labels also works for me.)

When I open print, the default is on list. If I click to change it, I get the death wheel and have to force quit.

I can also reproduce this problem, though I think I’ve found a way to get Contacts to stop crashing upon opening the Print dialog.

To cause the problem, select more than one contact, choose File > Print, and click Print. Spinning pizza of death.

To recover, you have to force quit Contacts. When it comes back up, select All Contacts in the sidebar but don’t select any contacts (one may be selected). Choose File > Print again. It will hang again, and you’ll have to force quit again. This time when it comes up with All Contacts selected, you should be able to choose File > Print and change the Style from Lists to Mailing Labels or Envelopes, which don’t seem to have the problem.

I’ve filed a bug with Apple, but I think I’ll write something short for TidBITS to warn people as well.

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Or for the adventurous…

Edit ~/Library/Preferences/ and change the value of ABSelectedPrintStyle to either 0 for Mailing Labels or 1 for Envelopes (2 is the List style).

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Thanks, Adam.

I tried this on both my Intel iMac and M2 MacBook Pro.

All I have to do after “file-print,” is move the curser onto the style arrows and the death wheel appears. I did exactly as you outlined along with some other things and no matter what, I get nothing but the need to force quit. I went into the Apple ‘community’ earlier and this is happening to a lot of people. Over the years there have been problems with Contacts and Apple never seems to comprehend the need to get the app fixed for real world application.

This is a heck of a time for this glitch, for which there should be no excuse, as I am going to have to hand address a lot of cards rather than spend a couple of minutes to run off a bunch of labels.

Thanks for taking up this issue.

John Hepburn

I almost never print directly from an app. Instead, I go to the dropdown button and select ‘Open in Preview’. This gives me a chance to do a final proofread of the document to be printed. If I want paper, I print from there.

That process appears to work smoothly for me when printing from Contacts.

Try this defaults write command in Terminal to change the style back to Mailing Labels, after which you should be OK. The problem, I believe, is related to the preview when Lists is selected.

defaults write ABSelectedPrintStyle 0

@aforkosh, are you trying the Lists style? From what John and I are seeing, just invoking the preview of several selected contacts while in Lists style will cause the freeze, and it doesn’t make any difference whether you’re trying to print or get a PDF.

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Hey, thank you very much, Adam. Yes, the Terminal command worked. I opened my Christmas list, hit command-p and “mailing labels” was the default. They printed perfectly.

Thanks again.


The app freezes if I go to the List style and try to change anything (paper size, orientation, fields). If I leave it as it is, there is no freezing and I can proceed to previewing and printing if I wish. Changing fields in labels and envelopes works fine.

There is another minor issue. After I do the reset in Terminal and issue the Print command, I see a blank page previewed in the dialog box. Switching to another style shows a preview page, and I can liberally switch between styles as long as I don’t try to change parameters in the list style.

The Terminal command changing the default from “list” to “mailing labels” worked perfectly and my Christmas list printed labels as it had done last year. I have 400 or so names in Contacts but the Christmas list is relatively small and that’s all I need for now. Until Apple resolves the problem, I don’t think I’ll mess with anything else.

I really appreciate you and Adam working on this and flushing out answers. It begs the question, what, if anything, is Apple doing about it? They screwed around with iTunes for years; maybe it will be the same with this.

Sonoma Contacts will not import contacts either.

I’m done. Apple either acknowledges this sh*# and fixes it, or simply acknowledges they are not supporting local Calendar/Contact functions anymore.

If they said the latter, I would just buy a DayTimer, and be done with it.

I have spent at least a full-day testing EVERY Ventura and Sonoma update and beta trying to narrow down why local syncing is so screwed up. It is not my data, it is not my configuration.

Today I created a pristine Sonoma installation. I created a couple calendars w/ a couple events.

I WIPED my iPhone, and tried to sync. It STILL made a mess of it.

Well, I’ve reported the bug, and the only other thing would be for others to report it as well or send feedback to Apple.

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