How to merge and delete duplicate contacts on iPhone

(Pocket-lint) – There was a time when all your contacts were stored on the good old-fashioned SIM card, so duplicate contacts wasn’t really a thing – or at least not as much as it is these days.

Now your phone’s contact list is probably from different places – for example an iCloud backup, Gmail contacts and maybe contacts from another email account – which could result in multiple duplicates.

Before iOS 16, cleaning up your contacts was not an easy task. However, if you’re running iOS 16 or later, it’s a no-brainer.

Here’s how to clean up your contacts on iPhone and remove those duplicates.

How to Merge Contacts on iPhone and Delete Duplicates

To remove duplicate contacts on iPhone and clean up your contacts so that you only have one contact card for Joe Bloggs with all the information from the other three cards you may have, follow these steps.

  1. Make sure your iPhone is running iOS 16 or later
  2. Open the Phone app
  3. Tap the “Contacts” tab at the bottom center.
  4. If you have duplicate contacts, a popup will appear below your card at the top of the screen
  5. Tap “Show Duplicates”.
  6. A list of all duplicate contacts is displayed in a list. We had 459.
  7. Tap “Merge All” at the bottom of your screen.
  8. Your duplicated contacts are then each transferred to a contact card that combines all of the unique information from each additional card.
  9. That’s it.

How to merge contacts with different names

You may find that after following the steps above, there are still some contact cards that apply to the same person but are named differently. The above method only merges contact cards with the same name.

To merge contacts with different names, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Phone app on the iPhone
  2. Tap the first contact card you want to merge
  3. Tap “Edit” in the top right.
  4. Scroll down and tap Link Contacts.
  5. Select the second contact card that you want to merge with the first
  6. Tap Link in the top right.
  7. Tap Done.

The contact card is given the same name as the first selected contact card. If you want to change this, do the following:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Tap the contact card
  3. Scroll down to the Linked Contacts section
  4. Tap the linked contact card that you want to use as the name for this contact
  5. Select “Use this name for unified map”.

How to delete a contact on iPhone

If you cleaned up your contact list and merged all those duplicates, but now realized that some in the remaining list are really not needed, it’s time to delete them.

Actually, deleting a contact on iPhone is not as easy as you think. Normally, you can swipe right to left on iPhone to delete, whether it’s a message, email, or note, for example. However, this is not possible for a contact.

Follow the steps below to delete a contact on iPhone:

  1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone
  2. Select the contact you want to delete
  3. Tap “Edit” in the top right.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the contact card
  5. Tap on “Delete contact”
  6. Confirm ‘Delete contact’
  7. That’s it.

Writing from Britta O’Boyle.

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