I’ve complained about Lion’s Address Book messing up the merging of updated entries and about iCloud failing to sync certain contacts. And I’ve complained about iCloud doubling some of my calendar entries, although to be fair, that hasn’t happened since the early days of iCloud and iOS 5. Today I had a new problem:

My Address Book now has 63 copies of a contact I added a few days ago. I doubt I’ll be trusting turn-by-turn navigation for a while.
— Dr. Drang (@drdrang) Mon Jun 11 2012

Don’t believe me? Think 63 is some $2^n - 1$ hyperbole? Here’s a screenshot from Address Book on my iMac at work.

This particular entry wasn’t the only one to be duplicated. All three contacts I added at the end of last week got this treatment. Of the other two, one of them had 28 copies, the other had 9.

I’m not sure when the duplicates were made, but they propagated across all my devices. Address Book on my MacBook Air looked the same as above, and my iPhone looked like this.

The Contacts on icloud.com? Also duplicated.

There were some similarities among these three entries: I had imported all of them from vCards and had edited each one to add a courtesy title (Mr., Ms., Dr., whatever). Of course, I’ve done that sort of thing before and not generated a bunch of duplicates.

As weird as the duplication was, what’s weirder was the lack of consistency. Why did I have 63 of one, 28 of another, and 9 of the third? Aren’t computers supposed to do things the same way every time?

The fix was simple. I just deleted all but one copy of each contact and held my breath as I waited for the update to propagate. As of now, I have one of each contact on the MacBook Air, the iPhone, and on icloud.com. I assume I’ll find the same on the iMac when I get to work tomorrow.

Although I was joking in my tweet, Apple’s cloud problem is real. Today’s WWDC keynote showed us lots of cool new features coming to Mountain Lion and iOS 6, but so many of them depend on a reliable iCloud service that I can’t help but be skeptical.