I love my iPhone and I also love iCloud, but I hate the fact that I have a ton of duplicate contacts! Why? The thing is, I use the same iCloud account on multiple iPhones and iPads. All of my wife and my sister’s iPhone contacts were combined into a giant list, and there were many duplicates.
Another annoying thing was that the duplicates were slightly different. For example, I had a Vineet pin, then another one called Vineet R and another one called Vineet Rohatgi! One had a number, the other had an email, and the last had an address. That is, not exact duplicates, but still contact information.
In this article, I will introduce several ways to solve the problem of duplicate contacts and how to merge them. In terms of solutions, I found many places where exact duplicates could be removed, but it took a little longer to find a way to merge contacts that might have different names but had the same phone numbers or email addresses.
Method 1 – Mac Address Book
If you have a Mac and your address book is set up to sync with iCloud, you can use it to remove exact duplicates. The Address Book app on Mac does not perform any merge operations on its own, it only finds contacts with the same name and then merges them together.
Open your address book and click All Contacts in iCloud. You should see all your iCloud contacts on the right.
Then click “Card” and select “Search for duplicates”.
If the address book finds any duplicates, it will ask you if you want to merge them together. If it doesn’t find any duplicates, it’s because there were no contacts with the same name. Remember that it won’t look for other fields like phone number or email. This is a simple duplicate finder tool that can be useful if you have many identical copies of your contacts.
The second method – smart merge application
The second method, and by far the more useful way to delete duplicate contacts, is to use an app that you can download on your iPhone called Smart Merge Duplicate Contacts It’s 99 cents, but worth it. This saved me a ton of time as I found all the possible contacts that could be merged and then let me edit any specific details for the new merged contact.
The app can display duplicate contacts (with the same name), duplicate phone numbers, duplicate email addresses, contacts without a name, contacts without a phone number, and contacts without an email. This is what it looks like when you first run it:
For example, if you click Duplicate Phones, you will see a list of contacts grouped by the same phone number.
Then click on any set of duplicates. Don’t click on “All Duplicate Phones” because this will merge all your duplicate phones into one contact, which you don’t want to do. You only want to work with duplicate pairs. For example, I clicked on the first one, starting at 469.
Now you need to click on the “Combine” button, which is an arrow pointing down at the bottom center of the screen. You will see a popup asking how you want to combine:
You can edit them at the same time or force merge contacts. I have personally found force fusion to be better. Go ahead and click on that button. You will then receive another warning that this will convert two contacts to one.
Go ahead and click the Force Merge 2 Contacts button.
You will now see another screen with a large empty circle on the far left and a blue arrow in the far right. Before merging, we will check the last contact to make sure it is correct. Walk forward and tap the blue arrow.
Now you can see what information is contained in the two separate contacts and how the new merged contact will look like. The only problem I found with the app is that it likes to automatically select a contact with a shorter name. So, as you can see above, instead of choosing Anurag Bhushan as a new contact, he chose Anurag. Everything merges perfectly. To solve this problem, you need to click on the new contact, after which you will see the “Edit” button in the upper right corner.
Go ahead and fix the name or whatever, then come back. Go back to the merge screen and click on the empty circle so that it turns into a red check mark.
Finally, hit the “Merge” button and the new contact will be created and the old ones removed! It’s quite a lot of steps, but it’s much easier than trying to do it all by hand. Plus, once you do it once or twice, everything will be very fast after that. I have managed to remove over 60 duplicate contacts with this nifty little app. What method did you use to remove duplicate or merge contacts on your iPhone? Let us know in the comments. Enjoy!