With technology these days, it gets harder and harder to keep track of all of your friends and families’ various contacts. You may have one friend whom you mainly communicate with through Facebook, but you know their phone number. You just can’t remember where you put it. Maybe your mom recently moved and you gave her a new contact card because you were in a hurry and didn’t want to track down the original. Which card has the right number?
If you find yourself bogged down with too many contacts and want to clear out your figurative drawers, we’ve got a quick tip for taking care of duplicate contacts that doesn’t involve deleting them, one at a time.
In this post, we will show you how to find duplicate contacts, and how to merge or delete them directly from your iPhone.
The best, most efficient way to reorganize your contacts is by using a third-party app that does all of the hard work for you. Cleaner is a great app for such a thing. We’re going to use it for this tutorial. Note that there are many other options for finding and merging contacts on your iPhone, but this is one that worked well for us. At the bottom of this post, we’ve listed other apps that will let you easily merge duplicate contacts on your iPhone.
How to find duplicate contacts
The first thing you will need to do is figure out which names, phone numbers, and addresses are duplicates. With Cleaner Pro, it takes just a few simple steps. This app will find duplicate contacts, find numbers without names, emails without names, and names with no phone or email address. It will even track down contacts with similar names, so if you added Mary Smith in one place and M Smith in another, the app will tag them as duplicates so you can merge them.
All you have to do to find your duplicate contact details is to launch the application and let it access your contacts. All duplicate data will be clearly sorted by category (ie. duplicate phones, emails etc).
How to merge duplicate contacts on iPhone
Step 1: Back up your current contacts list. Tap the “Backup” button to save a file of your contacts before you get started. If something happens, you’ll have a copy that you can import back into your device. The app will save three files, one for iCloud, one for your device, and one for Facebook contacts. You can email the files to yourself or save them in a compatible app, like Evernote or Dropbox.
Step 2: Tap the “Contacts” icon at the bottom of the screen. This will take you to the section that summarizes the list of accounts you are merging, the duplicates you have within those contacts, filters you can use to find similarities (like same birthday or same day added), and contacts that are missing a field (like no name or no phone number).
Step 3: Tap “Duplicate Contacts” to see the list of contacts that are supposedly duplicates.
Step 4: In our example, we have a duplicate entry for Perry Siler. Tap on that duplicate entry.
Step 5: As seen on the image above, there are two entries found for Perry Siler. At the top, you will have a preview of what that merged contact card would look like. At the bottom, you have the duplicates. You can tap on each duplicate to see what kind of data is available. In my case, I had one entry containing a phone number, and one entry containing an address. It is a good idea to merge these contacts.
Step 6: Tap the Merge button.
How to delete duplicate contacts
Step 1: Under “Contacts,” select Duplicate Phones, Duplicate Emails, or Similar Names to find additional contacts that might be duplicates of something else. You may have added your buddy’s email address in separate places.
Step 2: In order to delete duplicate contacts, select a contact that you want to delete and then tap the trash can icon at the bottom right side of the screen.
You can also combine multiple contacts under one group name. For example, all of my contacts for writers at iDB can be combined into one group under iDB. Select the contacts you want to combine into a group and select the triangle icon at the bottom left side of the screen, then select Add To Group.
Once you’ve merged and weeded out unnecessary duplicate contacts, you’ll see how much easier it is to find names in your address book for faster correspondences.
Cleaner is available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch for free. Download it in the App Store today.