Cleaning Up Your Contacts

It can be useful to remove unneeded contacts from your database every once in a while. Before deleting, you can export individual contacts as small VCF files. These can then be stored and accessed easily later if you need them. You also have a variety of other methods for exporting and archiving your contacts.

Comments: 22 Responses to “Cleaning Up Your Contacts”

    Paul
    5 years ago

    When looking at the contact card by tapping the space bar, you are using Quick Look and not Spotlight.

    Leon
    5 years ago

    for me, contacts to numbers is not working… all the latest updates.
    ?? All i got is square with text: Image

      5 years ago

      Perhaps you are not dragging from the right place. Make sure you are selecting contacts from the list and then dragging them to a completely blank sheet (no tables).

        Leon
        5 years ago

        Thx. but im doing the same as you on video. IDK. nevermind.

          5 years ago

          See my response to Shirley below. It will solve your problem.

    nick
    5 years ago

    very useful – thanks Gary

    Frank
    5 years ago

    Great tip, thanks!
    Is there a quick way to transfer info from Numbers back to Contacts? Thanks.

      5 years ago

      No. If you think you may need to put the contact back into Contacts, be sure to save a VCF file as well.

        5 years ago

        Well, actually, come to think of it you can import CSV or tab-separated text files with contact info. And since you can export to those from Numbers, then you can do it. But I would expect to have to adjust and use trial and error when doing so.

    Shirley Allan
    5 years ago

    I’m having the same problem as Leon. Contacts to Numbers just gives me an a table with the word “Image.” I am dragging them from the Contacts list into Numbers 3.2

      5 years ago

      Can’t think of what would cause that. And you are using the latest OS X (Mavericks?). I tried all sorts of different combinations or dragging and dropping and couldn’t get it to misbehave.

        Shirley Allan
        5 years ago

        Yes, I am using the latest OS X, Mavericks and am a Mac teacher.

          5 years ago

          I got it. The very first time you would have ever used Numbers and Contacts together, you would have been prompted to give your permission for Numbers to access your contacts. If you replied “No” then it doesn’t work and you get exactly the results you describe. To give Numbers access to your contacts, go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, Privacy and look for Contacts on the left. Select it and then check the box next to Numbers. You then have to quit and restart Numbers for it to work.

            Leon
            5 years ago

            Thank you. Now its working. Great.

            Shirley Allan
            5 years ago

            Yes, works now! Thanks Gary for tracing down the errant System Preference.
            Shirley

            Christian
            5 years ago

            In your tutorial, when you drag the names from contacts to numbers, the headings are not correct. Under image, you have last name. Under first name you have a phone number. I have the same problem, but the problem is not consistent in a way that I could just change the column name, because it places the information all over the place. I have a group of 60 contacts I would like to print and I only need: First Name, Last Name, Mobile and email, but I cannot seem to make that happen. Any ideas?

              5 years ago

              I see what you mean. Looks like empty fields are to blame (no image, no phone, etc). So you just have to work with it a bit in Numbers, inserting some rows and deleting others. 60 is a small number and should only take 10-15 minutes to get it perfect, I’d imagine.
              But if printing is your goal, then why not print from Contacts?
              http://macmost.com/printing-lists-of-contacts.html

    Tony
    5 years ago

    Thank you for another applicable tutorial. Now can you tell me how to edit my e mail contacts and have the edited version transfer to my iPhone. It seems to always want to use the old e mail addresses.

      5 years ago

      Just make sure you are using the same iCloud contacts database in both places. Perhaps you are using iCloud on one but not the other? Or on neither?

    JoeAllen
    5 years ago

    Gary, I am troubled because you did NOT mention TIME MACHINE as a backup to CONTACTS. I have always assumed that if I erase a CONTACT today, I can always use TIME MACINE in the future, to reconstruct an earlier version of CONTACTS … ??

      5 years ago

      Yes, Time Machine does back up your Contacts and you can even use Time Machine to restore old ones. But Time Machine is a backup solution, not an archiving one. I wouldn’t recommend relying on a backup solution for permanent storage of your contacts, files or any data. Backups are for helping in emergencies and mistakes. But if your intention is to archive a contact for possible future use, then you should put a copy of it somewhere you will be keeping, like I show here. Same for files.

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