This guide will show you how to remove duplicate contacts on the iPhone with iOS 8. This works with all current iPhones from the iPhone 4s up to the iPhone 6 Plus. If you only need to get rid of a few duplicate contacts on the iPhone you can do this manually in a few seconds, but if you need to fix dozens you’ll want to use an app that can remove all your duplicate contacts on the iPhone at once.
Duplicate iPhone contacts happen when you add multiple accounts like a personal Gmail account, an iCloud account and a work account that may all include the same contact with slightly different information. You can try to move all of your contacts to one single service, but that is not a practical solution for everyone.
We’ll show you how to remove duplicate contacts on the iPhone running iOS 8. You don’t need your computer to do this, just the iPhone in your hand.
You don’t need to delete one of the contacts, instead we will merge the two contacts into a single instance on the iPhone. You can even merge triplicates if you have the same contact in your address book several times. This is a fast and easy solution to cleaning up your iPhone contacts and address book.
We’ll start with the manual way to remove duplicate contacts from the iPhone on iOS 8. The directions are very similar for iOS 7. If you need to remove a lot of duplicate contacts and you don’t want to do this one by one, you can buy a cheap app to merge many contacts all at once.
How to Remove Duplicate Contacts on the iPhone (iOS 8)
If you only need to remove a few duplicate contacts, this is the best way to go about it. You won’t actually remove any contacts. Instead we will merge contacts so that you have all the information in one place without re-typing it. This will also keep the contacts on your other email accounts as they are now, so you don’t need to worry about losing something.
You need to open the Contacts app on your iPhone. This is often inside the Extras folder. If you don’t see it you can tap and pull down on the middle of your iPhone home screen to open a search box and then type in contacts.
On this screen you will see your contacts and you may quickly spot duplicates that need fixed. Tap on one of the contacts to open it. If the names are spelled slightly different, start with the one you want to keep.
Tap on Edit in the upper right corner then scroll down until you see link contacts with a green plus sign next to it.
Tap on link contacts and then scroll to the other contact or search for the other contact using the search bar at the top. The contact you are currently editing will show as gray, while the others are black.
Tap on the second contact and then tap on Link in the upper right corner. The next screen will put you back to the edit contact page and you will see Linked Contacts showing the two are connected. If you need to link another contact to this same contact tap on link contacts again.
If you need to unlink contacts, tap on the red minus sign.
Tap Done to exit to the contact entry and then tap on the back arrow to go to your contacts where there should now be only one entry. If you need to remove other duplicate contacts from the iPhone, start over using the directions above.
How to Bulk Merge Duplicate Contacts on the iPhone
If you need to fix a lot of duplicate contacts on the iPhone running iOS 8 at the same time, and you don’t want to perform the steps above over and over, you can buy an app that merges your contacts for you with a few taps.
You can download the Cleanup Duplicate Contacts app for free, which will analyze your contacts for duplicates. You need to pay 99 cents to gain access to the bulk removal option, but we cleaned almost two dozen contacts for free.
When prompted allow access to your contacts. You don’t need to allow notifications.
Tap on Analyze and when prompted we chose to allow for merging between sources so that we only see one entry for a contact even if they are in our work contacts and personal contacts.
After it detects the duplicate contacts, you can choose which ones you want to merge and which you don’t by unchecking next to the names. We stopped it from merging two people who share a home phone number and a father and son who share the same name.
Tap Merge and the app will fix the duplicates or you. This moves the contact info to one contact instead of linking the contacts like the manual options.
The app did not detect a Josh Baker and a Joshua Baker with different phone numbers. Users can configure what level of matching is needed. The app also backs up your contacts before the clean up if you create an account.