What to Know

  • Mac: Contacts > Card > Look for Duplicates > sync address book to iPhone.
  • iPhone: Contacts > tap contact > Edit > Delete Contact > Delete Contact.
  • iCloud.com: Contacts > click duplicate contact > Edit > Delete Contact > Delete.

This article explains why duplicate contacts happen and then offers three ways to delete them and keep your address book in sync across your devices.

How Do I Remove Duplicate Contacts from My Mac? 

The easiest way to remove duplicates from your list is to use the Contacts app on your Mac, which will automatically flag and merge contacts that look identical. And, if you sync your contacts between your iPhone and Mac, any changes you make on the Mac will update your iPhone, too. Here's what to do:

  1. In the Mac Contacts app, click Card in the menu bar.

  2. Click Look for Duplicates.

    Looking for duplicate contacts on Mac

  3. The Contacts app will scan all of your contacts. When it finds duplicates, click Merge to combine them and delete old unneeded ones.

    Merging duplicate contacts on Mac

    If you want to merge contacts with the same name but different other information, check the box before clicking Merge. This is tricky because you could have two different people with the same name in your address book and this will combine them into one.

  4. If you sync your iPhone and Mac via iCloud, just wait a few minutes and the change will sync to your iPhone. If you don’t use iCloud, you can sync the Mac and iPhone via USB to get the some update.

How Do I Remove Duplicate Contacts from My iPhone?

You can also manage duplicate entries from the Contacts app on your iPhone, but it doesn't have a convenient "Find Duplicates" feature like the Mac version does.

  1. Find a duplicate entry you want to delete in the Contacts app, and tap it.

  2. Tap Edit.

    A contact in the iPhone Contacts app with Edit highlighted

  3. Scroll to the bottom and tap Delete Contact.

  4. In the pop-up, tap Delete Contact.

    Delete Contact option and confirmation in the iPhone Contacts app

  5. Repeat this for every duplicate contact you need to remove. If you sync your contacts with other devices via iCloud, every contact you delete on the iPhone will automatically be removed from your other devices.

iCloud Can Delete Contacts, Too

This third method works well for Windows users who have iPhones. Follow these steps to delete a contact via iCloud's interface. Just like using the Contacts app, changes you make here will transfer to your iPhone.

  1. Log into iCloud.com and click Contacts.

    iCloud on a computer with the Contacts app highlighted

  2. Click the duplicate contact.

  3. Click Edit.

    Opening a Contact's information sheet with Edit highlighted

  4. Click Delete Contact and then the Delete confirmation as well.

    Contacts app edit info with Delect Contact highlighted

Why Do I Have So Many Duplicate Contacts on My iPhone?

There are lots of reasons your pre-installed iPhone Contacts app is stuffed with multiple entries for the same people. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • You entered information for the same person more than once.
  • You took the iPhone’s suggestion to add someone to your address book and they were already saved as a contact, but the iPhone added them separately.
  • You may have combined multiple address books at some point and not fully combined duplicate entries for the same people.
  • You may sync contact from multiple sources into your iPhone and have separate listings for the same person in each app.

Can I Delete Multiple Contacts on My iPhone?

Deleting duplicates directly on your iPhone is easy—but it's also pretty tedious. That's because you have to delete each contact individually. If you have dozens of duplicate contacts, you'll need to repeat these steps for every single contact.

Unfortunately, the pre-installed Contacts app doesn't offer a feature to scan your contacts, find the doubles, and give you an easy way to resolve them. There are a number of third-party apps you can get at the App Store for this.

FAQ

  • How do I transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone?

    To share a single contact, open it in your Phone app, and then select Share Contact. This option will be below the person's address, birthday, and other information. To copy all of your contacts, for example, when you're setting up a new iPhone, back up the first phone to iCloud (go to Settings > your name > iCloud > iCloud Backup), and then set up the new phone with that backup. Along with contacts, you'll also transfer pictures, apps, and other information.

  • How do I find deleted contacts on an iPhone?

    Once you delete a contact, it's gone unless you don't mind a little time travel. If you're quick, you can restore your iPhone from an old backup, which will include every contact that was present when you made that backup.