How to Merge or Delete Duplicate iPhone Contacts

Delta Online News

Cleaning up your iPhone contacts can be quite the chore. With a free iOS app, the process can be far easier and quicker. If you don’t want to use a third-party app, you can manually delete and merge contacts on your computer, but it will take much longer.

The Easy Method

If you don’t mind granting a third-party app access to your contact list, a popular option is Cleaner. It provides a list of duplicate contacts and numbers, makes it easy to delete old contact info, and merges contacts with the tap of a button.

Cleaner will prompt you to sign up for an account to use the app, but you don’t actually need to in order to use these features:

  1. On the home tab, tap Duplicate Contacts to see a list of all duplicate names listed in your contacts. Alternatively, you can tap Duplicate Phones to see a list of duplicate numbers assigned to different names. There is also the option to view Duplicate Emails and Similar Names.
  2. Tap the contact name or number you want to resolve. You can tap each instance to see the contact information associated with each name. If there are numbers you want to delete tap Edit and then tap the red button next to individual numbers to delete them. 
  3. Under Merged Contact (Preview), you can see what the contact will look like once you’ve merged all the contact information.
  4. Once you’ve deleted any outdated numbers, tap the orange Merge button to merge the contacts one by one. If you’re confident that all duplicates need to be be merged, tap the grey Merge All Duplicates button.

The app also has other contact cleanup features including highlighting missing information including no name, no phone, and no email.

The Manual Method

If you don’t want to grant a third party access to your contact list, you can go through the list manually in your iCloud account. You’ll want to back up your contacts first.

  1. Log in to your iCloud account in a browser.
  2. Click the Contacts icon.
  3. Click the Settings cog and click Select All.
  4. Once all your contacts are selected, click the Settings cog again and this time click Export vCard to export all the contacts as a VCF file. This step is to backup your contacts in case you inadvertently delete a contact you meant to keep.
  5. You can then manually go through all the contacts in the iCloud interface, and manually delete duplicate contacts. To delete a contact, just hit the delete button on your keyboard.
  6. To make changes to a contact, click the Edit button and you can add or remove numbers or other contact information.