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How to Get Rid of Duplicate Contacts on the iPhone

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After setting up the iPhone for the first time or adding a new account, you may find duplicate contacts in the iPhone contacts app.

This happens a lot of the time when users add a personal account and an work account and add choose to sync contacts from both accounts. It is also common to see duplicates if when using iCloud contacts and Gmail contacts.

Apple makes it easy to fix duplicate contacts on the iPhone without the need to delete a contact from one of your accounts.

With a few easy steps you can merge or link multiple contacts into a single contact, cleaning up your address book.

You don’t need to change the contact names to be exactly the same, but the contact you start with will be the name you see in your address book. In this example, I open Joshua Smith first, so I won’t see Josh Smith after the merge.

How to Rid of Duplicate Contacts on the iPhone

Open up the Contacts

Find the duplicate contact you would like to remove and select it by tapping on the name.

How to get rid of duplicate contacts on the iPhone

Open the first contact.

Once you have selected the contact tap Edit in the top right and scroll to the bottom of the screen to the Linked Cards screen.

Linked Cards

Tap on Link Contact to merge iPhone contacts.

Tap Link Contact

Linked Contact

Tap on the contact you want to link.

Select the contact that you would like to merge information with, and on the next screen press Link

If you have a lot of duplicate contacts, or only have one account linked to your iPhone, it may be faster to log in to your email account on a computer and clean up your contacts. The changes you make will sync over to your iPhone. This can take some time, but it is worth it in the long run.

Each contact on the iPhone can store multiple email addresses and phone numbers, so there is no need to create separate contacts for a cell phone, a home phone and a work phone.

How do you manage your contacts? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.

23 Comments

  1. EliT

    06/07/2012 at 4:26 am

    I have a large contact list and find it more useful and efficient to edit the my iphone contact entries directly on my computer using my keyboard. This has been proved useful on how to go about with this task:

    http://www.squidoo.com/iphone-contacts

  2. rita

    07/21/2012 at 5:53 am

    I want to leave my e-mail contact separate from my phone contact. Is that possible? Seems iPhone always wants to unite the two, which, for me, is very annying.

  3. Bangkok Dave

    09/15/2012 at 8:21 pm

    migrated to iPhone 4 from an Android where linked contact suggestions come automatically. any ideas to do this on an iphone

  4. Gary K

    10/07/2012 at 5:11 pm

    Sorry, this didn’t work for me. When I scrolled to the bottom of the edit screen, there was no “Linked Cards” box.

    • Susan

      10/12/2012 at 6:22 pm

      I didn’t have a “Linked cards” box, either…. Help

  5. jillian

    10/20/2012 at 1:38 am

    same here, i have just bought an iphone 4 and have been manually writing them all down and putting them in one by one thinking there must be a faster way… after checking on email, i too do not have a linked cards box so it will have to be manually it seems, bit long winded, thought apple would have had something for this…….
    Jillian

  6. takes269

    10/31/2012 at 8:55 am

    the link box is there at the bottom after you go into edit mode….

    • Sean Dahlberg

      10/31/2012 at 12:27 pm

      Did it go away in iOS6? Just upgraded to iPhone 5 (with iOS6) and I don’t see that option iether…

      • Chris

        11/01/2012 at 6:45 pm

        I cannot see this option either (iphone 5, verizon

      • Gavin

        11/02/2012 at 8:43 am

        You have to go into contacts from the Utilities icon. Then it is there in iOS6

        • Janet

          04/14/2013 at 5:26 am

          I found this once but cannot find it again. Can you please give the exact steps to find it? Thanks.

  7. Rabecca Lassek

    11/15/2012 at 8:23 pm

    That did not work on my phone. Went through the Utilities, but still did not show up.

  8. cassy

    11/16/2012 at 9:31 am

    this worded for me thank you very much.

  9. David

    11/18/2012 at 4:26 pm

    Is there a program to merge and eliminate duplicates?; i have hundreds (outlook ip5)

  10. robyn

    11/20/2012 at 4:25 am

    “Apple makes it easy to fix duplicate contacts…”

    Appreciate the detail on removing ONE duplicate… but the real problem is when we have dozens of duplicates, even triplicates.

    Any tips on how to en masse remove dupes?

    I tried selecting the Info tab in iTunes and clicking the check box-”Replace information on this iPhone”– and it DIDN’T WORK!!

    • Asdasda Asdasda

      03/01/2013 at 5:40 pm

      Seriously. Get a grip. If you voluntarily import three instances of your contacts onto one phone, under differently spelled names, and you expect company X to fix your shit for you, you’ve got it wrong. Organize your own contacts.

  11. Diane

    11/24/2012 at 8:08 am

    My link box just disappeared. It was there and now it is gone? Any word on how to get this back?

  12. ROlson

    12/25/2012 at 11:18 am

    This link option is only available for linking Exchange server contacts to your local iCloud contacts. This is NOT an option for merging iCloud contacts.

  13. T

    02/09/2013 at 3:56 pm

    Never thought I would be saying my droid was way better than the iphone. At least for now……I’ll give it some more time.

  14. Bren

    02/17/2013 at 7:00 am

    No ‘Linked Cards’ field on my iphone4

  15. Sam

    03/27/2013 at 4:14 am

    This is fine for a few contacts but I have 8000 contacts in my address book with loads of duplicates, I used this app called contacts manager and scheduler (paid but worth it), to merge all my duplicates and delete unwanted contacts

    https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/contacts-manager-scheduler/id603985801?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2

  16. Susan Carrington

    06/23/2013 at 2:33 am

    I have contacts linked to Facebook which I do not want. How do I delete them? When I press delete contact it tells me I can do it. Very frustrating!

  17. Yoni

    04/22/2014 at 8:33 am

    Simpler is the best app for merging duplicate contacts:

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simpler-smart-contacts-manager/id665856919?mt=8

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