iOS 9 Suggested contacts calling screen iPhone teaser 001

Smart technologies Apple built into iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, collectively referred to as Proactive, can conveniently suggest contacts from data found in apps and use them to great effect in several places.

Incoming call from an unknown number? If Proactive sniffs it out in an email and guesses who might be calling, it’ll put that info on the calling screen.

But some folks find iOS’s proactivity a little bit on the distracting side with unconfirmed contacts popping all over the place. Thankfully, you can turn them off with just a few taps, and here’s how.

About suggested contacts

Suggested contacts are derived from mail you receive that you have yet to confirm, as opposed to those stored in Contacts which appear as relevant people in Spotlight. Though a temporary item in Contacts, a suggested contact won’t get automatically stashed in Contacts unless you manually confirm it.

iOS 9 suggested contacts iPhone screenshot 001

Suggested contacts appear on the calling screen, in your recent calls, within Contacts, as part of Mail autocomplete and when adding people to a calendar event.

Why turn them off?

I personally take great productivity value in iOS’s proactivity, but also understand some people are confused as to what dark magic surfaces these suggestions. Other people will object to iOS scanning their email and sniffing out contact information.

Should your friends or family members for any reason start complaining about suggested contacts appearing on their devices, consult this tutorial to prevent unconfirmed people from showing up on their devices.

IMPORTANT: In line with Proactive’s strong focus on privacy, contact suggestions come from on-device mail data, not server logs. And because they’re enabled on a per-device basis, suggested contacts might differ from one device to another.

How to disable Mail contact suggestions on iOS

Do the following on each iPhone, iPod touch and iPad device with iOS 9 or later:

Step 1: Launch Settings.

Step 2: Navigate to the Contacts section.

Step 3: Toggle the switch labeled Contacts Found in Apps to the OFF position.

“Turning this off will delete any unconfirmed contact suggestions and prevent suggestions from appearing in Mail autocomplete, on the incoming call screen and in the Contacts app,” reads the feature description.

How to disable Mail contact suggestions on OS X

Do the following on every Mac you own:

Step 1: Open the Contacts app.

Step 2: Choose Preferences from the Contacts menu.

Contacts app Preferences menu

Step 3: Click the General tab.

Step 4: Untick the box next to “Show contacts found in Apps”.

You will be warned that disabling the feature will “delete any unconfirmed contact suggestions.” Click the blue button labelled Turn Off, or press Enter to confirm.

What happens when I disable contact suggestions?

Here’s what happens when Contacts Found in Apps is disabled:

  • Your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac stop rummaging through on-device email messages, looking for contacts with phone numbers.
  • Incoming phone calls from unknown numbers will show up as “Unknown” instead of as educated guesses, aptly suffixed by “Maybe:”.
  • When adding people to an email message, unconfirmed contacts will no longer show up in Mail autocomplete.
  • Folks included in previous emails or calendar events will no longer appear as suggestions when you start adding people to an event in the Calendar app.

Suggested contacts are on by default after the iOS 10 install.

Currently, contact suggestions do not show up within the Contacts web app on nor do they appear on your Apple Watch.

Remember, we appreciate your feedback and ideas for future tutorials so do keep ’em coming at

How do you like iOS’s proactive contact suggestions derived from emails? Are they a useful productivity boost or one of iOS 10’s biggest annoyances?

  • Antzboogie

    This is a very creepy feature that I would like to completely obliterate and delete from my iPhone!!

    • All the data stays on your phone though, how is it creepy? Literally no human sees the data, only your phone sees the data. It doesn’t send the data anywhere.

      You may as well delete all your contacts because you wouldn’t want your phone knowing your friends’ numbers!!

  • BlackBeltAuntie

    Will this also turn off that annoying crap in Photos where it suggests random people from your contact list as if you actually know them? If not, how on earth can I get it to stop? I thinks all my family photos are random people who have sent me emails for the past 25 years and have ended up in my contact list. Who thought THAT was a good idea?

  • Riley Freeman

    i got a text from someone thats not in my contacts and and it said “maybe ashley” This person’s name was actually ashley and they had a non IOS device. It’s pretty trippy seing this and i dont really understand how or why it figured it out. To add more info, i do uber and this person left their phone in my car so it wasnt even their phone and have never met them before

  • CA

    Me turning this feature off on my device won’t hide the suggestion of who I am to others when I call, I assume?

    How can I minimize my name popping up on others devices? Should I just not include my phone number in any emails I send?