How to easily find and merge duplicate contacts on your iPhone

By , May 11, 2013

Smart Merge 1When you sync your desktop contacts with your iOS contacts and then throw your Facebook contacts into the mix, you will inevitably end up with duplicates. Just like a physical address book, every time one of your friends gets a new email address or phone number, you end up with multiples from the same person.

Smart Merge helps you clear out duplicate contacts by fishing out email addresses, phone numbers, and names that are the same. It also comes with a backup feature so you can store a Dav-Card file in your email account, just in case something happens in the future…

Design

This app is designed to make it very easy for you to merge duplicate contacts, and it does it well. There isn’t much to the app. You give permission to access your device’s address book, log into your Facebook account, tap the backup button, and follow the merge instructions. Once you’ve checked that everything looks right, you can complete the merge.

When you are checking the contacts to be merged, you can deselect ones that you don’t want to be joined up with another. You can also rearrange phone numbers and email addresses by which ones are most important to you. For example, if you have a work email and personal email address for your friend, you can move the personal one to the top.

The app will find duplicate contacts in your iOS device, but it can also find duplicates for your Facebook friends. This is an interesting concept, since very few people have more than one Facebook account. It does happen. I know of at least two friends with multiple accounts.

After you’ve made sure that all contact merges are correct, tap the “merge” tab and you’ll be finished.

Smart Merge 2

How to find and merge duplicate contacts

Users log in with their Facebook information and allow the app to access their iOS device’s contact information. According to the name of the app, this service also connects to your LinkedIn account. However, I was never asked to log into LinkedIn, nor did I see any way to manually add my account. So, I have no idea how that part of the service works.

Once you’ve connected your contacts, you should perform a backup. If something goes wrong, you want to have your contacts saved somewhere other than your phone. You can send the list of contacts to yourself through email and then store it in a safe place.

After backing up your contacts, you will begin the merging process. The app will automatically find names, phone numbers, and email addresses that are duplicates. It will also find similar names. For example, I had the contact information listed for my grandmother two times. The only difference was that one of them had her middle initial.

When the app finds possible duplicates, you can edit each contact individually. To see the details, tap on an item. You can edit the contact like you would in your Address Book app. Add new information or change what is already there. You can also delete old phone numbers and add pictures.

Similar Names, Duplicate Names, Duplicate Emails, and Duplicate Phone Numbers will be listed separately. Check each item that you want merged and then hit the Merge tab at the top-right of the screen.

Once you have merged your contacts, you can back them up again so that you have the most current list in your back up file. I suggest performing a merge multiple times. While reviewing this app, I found new duplicates three different times. I’m not sure why it didn’t find them all the first time, but it didn’t hurt anything to merge them again.

I was unable to try out the Facebook duplicate merge. When I tried to start a merge, I was asked to send a message to every one of my Facebook friends to try out the app. Like any normal person, I didn’t want to do this, so I tapped the cancel button in the message pop up window. I was then redirected back to the Facebook merge page and nothing happened. So, either none of my Facebook friends needed to be merged, or the app won’t let you continue without sending a direct message to every person on your friend list.

Smart Merge 3

The Good

This app is easy to use and seamlessly syncs your iOS device’s contact information. You can edit individual contacts before merging so that you can add or remove information. You can also change names and add photos. The ability to back up your contact information and send it to yourself in an email makes this app twice as productive as either service individually.

The Bad

I was never able to connect to LinkedIn, even though the name of the app implies that you can merge your account’s contacts. I was unable to merge my Facebook contacts because the app requires that you send a direct message to every person on your friends list before continuing. I had to perform the merge three times in order for all of my contacts to be properly merged.

Value

For only $0.99, you can get rid of all duplicate contacts in your iOS device’s address book. If you think about how long it would take you to manually merge and delete duplicate information, this app is a bargain. We are talking about hours of work that can be done in less than a minute. I’d say one dollar is worth a few hours of my time.

Conclusion

When I performed my first iOS address book backup, I had 825 contacts. When I was done, I had 555. I’d call that a success. The app has a bad habit of wanting you to send emails to your friends and family to tell them about the app, but other than that, it is perfect for cleaning up your contacts. Smart Merge is available for the iPhone and iPad. Pick it up in the App Store for $0.99.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jeroen.claassens Jeroen Claassens

    Wow… And this is exactly what I was looking for yesterday. Some of my contacts are trippeled: outlook, icloud, facebook. I am definitly going to get this

    • lorygil

      Let us know if you were able to figure out how to get the Facebook merge to work.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jeroen.claassens Jeroen Claassens

        Nope it always requests me to send out the message, which I won’t do. I’ll see if I can find anything within it’s iFile files but … don’t start hoping just yet…

      • lorygil

        Thanks. I had a feeling… It is still great for your basic contacts, though. AmIright?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jeroen.claassens Jeroen Claassens

        It defintly is, and I did find a toggle that might be the thing but I’m not sure…
        /private/var/mobile/applications/Smart Merge/Documents/UserParameters. open that with plist editor and toggle ‘DidFacebookPost-3.4′ to on. I suppose it works, didn’t give me any requests to post afterwards.

  • yader jurado

    I hate it when they bug about sending emails out to friends. tango did that alot to me then one time I pressed yes by mistake and all my contacts got spammed by tango. My coworker even confronted me about spam coming from my email account and was concerned, but I had to explain what had happened and needless to say I deleted the app from my family’s phones. now I use Skype.

  • House4life

    And still whatsapp is the most anmoying when it comes to this