Contacts Photos Don't Sync using Outlook for Mac 16.32

Copper Contributor

On my iMac using Outlook for Mac 16.32 (running Catalina or Mojave -- makes no difference), connected to my ISP using Exchange protocols, I created a number of contacts with photos. I can use a web browser to my ISP ( to confirm that the photos are there on the server. However, when I log on using my MacBook Air (running Mojave), most of the contacts photos aren't there. The text information -- names, phone numbers, and email addresses -- is updated and correct. But the Contacts photos weren't transferred from the server to the Outlook 16.32 client.


This also happened with versions of Outlook for Mac before 16.32.


Examples are attached -- the first photo shows a public figure who directs a museum in Washington, DC. I created a Contacts entry on my iMac using Outlook 16.32. I copied his photo into the Contacts entry. Outlook transferred his photo to the ISP's server, as the first attached screenshot server confirms. However, even though (after awhile) the MacBook Air Outlook 16.32 shows that all contacts have been updated, the second attached upload shows that while the text information was transferred, the Contacts photo was not.


I tried Spotlight re-indexing -- no change. I tried clearing the Outlook cache on the MacBook Air and re-loading contacts from the server -- no change. I tried setting up a new profile in Outlook on the MacBook Air -- no change. I tried deleting and re-installing Outlook for Mac 16.32 on the MacBook Air -- no change.


I checked with my ISP, which says they are running the open-source Zimbra emulator of Exchange. Somewhere between Zimbra and Outlook 16.32, the photos are not getting transferred.


Help from both Microsoft Level 1 and Level 2 technical support could not solve the problem. Does anyone have a solution? Or is this just a bug that needs to be fixed?

1 Reply
1. Make sure your TimeMachine backup is current. This is purely a safety feature in case the server were to fail at a crucial moment later in the process.

2. On the Mac that HAS the photo, drag the contacts entry/entries into a folder to save as a .vcf file.

3. On the Mac with the contacts that have the photos, delete the contacts entry/entries.

4. Open your other Macs with Outlook and let them. This should take a minute or two. You should then quit Outlook on the other Macs. Note that when the Outlook contacts on your other Macs are pending deletion

5. On the Mac with the .vcf cards, drag the .vcf files onto the Outlook application icon. Save each of them in Outlook and close the cards' windows.

6. They should now update to your other Macs.