Mail merge

How to Merge and Delete Duplicate Contacts on iPhone


(Pocket-lint) – There was a time when all your contacts were stored on the correct old-fashioned SIM card, so duplicate contacts weren’t really a thing – or at least not as much as they are today.

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

Before iOS 16, cleaning up your contacts was not an easy task. If you’re using iOS 16 or later, it’s a snap.

Here’s how to clean up your contacts on iPhone and get rid of those duplicates.

How to Merge Contacts on iPhone and Remove Duplicates

In order to get rid of 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 might have, follow these steps.

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  1. Make sure your iPhone is running iOS 16 or later
  2. Open the Phone app
  3. Tap the “Contacts” tab in 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 will appear in a list. We had 459.
  7. Tap “Merge All” at the bottom of your screen
  8. Your duplicate contacts will then be transferred to a contact card for each that combines all of the unique information from each additional card.
  9. That’s it.

How to merge contacts with different names

After following the steps above, you may find that you have a few contact cards left for the same person, but they are named differently. The above method will only merge contact cards with the same name.

To merge differently named contacts, follow these steps:

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

The contact card will have the same name as the first contact card you selected. 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 you want to use as the name for this contact
  5. Select “Use this name for the unified map”

How to Delete a Contact on iPhone

If you’ve cleaned up your contact list and merged all those duplicates but now realize there are some in the remaining list that you really don’t need, it’s time to delete them.

Deleting a contact on iPhone is actually not as easy as you think. Normally, you can swipe from right to left to delete on iPhone, whether it’s a message, an email or a note, for example. You cannot do this for a contact though.

To delete a contact on iPhone, follow the steps below:

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

Written by Britta O’Boyle.