Forum Question: How To Delete Duplicate Contacts In iPhone?

Recently I took a backup of my iPhone data on iCloud for the first time (it’s my new iPhone4S), I don’t know what went wrong (I did sync also) I am not sure what steps I did but now I have duplicate contacts in my iPhone, when I go to any of my contact, on top it shows “iCloud” & at bottom is shows linked cards & under that “unified” & “iCloud”. I am using MacBook Pro with Tiger OS & in this obviously iCloud option not there. Can you please guide me how do I remove duplicate contacts?

Comments: 15 Responses to “How To Delete Duplicate Contacts In iPhone?”

    1/17/12 @ 12:27 pm

    It sounds like you are simply syncing contacts from two different sources: From iCloud and from your local Address Book on your Mac (or left over from before you upgraded to iCloud).
    Go to Settings, Mail, Contacts and Calendars and look at all the sources you are syncing to. Make sure it is only iCloud.
    Then sync with your Mac. Look in the Sync settings and see if you have contacts set to sync from your Mac. If so, that would be the second source. Turn off that syncing and re-sync your iPhone. Those contacts should go away and you should only have the ones from your iCloud account on your iPhone.

      Alexandra Nash
      11/5/12 @ 12:47 am

      Gary Rosenweig is right. And once your iCloud address book has only one set of contacts, once you sync your phone with iCloud your phone’s address book will be the same.

      You can also merge duplicate contacts in your Mac’s address book if necessary by opening your address book, going to “card” on the tool bar, then “look for duplicates”, and following the rest of the instructions. You should also make sure that on your Mac you’re only getting contacts from one source like iCloud, especially if you switched from an Android and were syncing with Gmail.

    1/17/12 @ 12:48 pm

    Gary, I tried the way you explained it, I attached my iPhone to mac & opened iTunes, sync address book contacts was unticked & I did sync, but contacts are in same state as it was earlier, all duplicate contacts are there in iPhone & I don’t see any change, let me add one more thing that my address book in MacBook is empty as I took backup (export) & then deleted it thinking while syncing duplicates may get removed from iPhone.

      1/17/12 @ 1:07 pm

      What did you find when you look in your Settings? Is it syncing contacts for only iCloud? Is it syncing for a second source (maybe old MobileMe too?)
      You can also log into iCloud on the web and check your contacts there. If there are duplicates there then you know you really do have two entries per person in iCloud and you just need to delete them manually. If you only see one per person then you know that you must also be syncing contacts from a second source, or you have those contacts manually entered in your iPhone (local) as well as syncing via iCloud.

        1/18/12 @ 12:35 am

        I logged in to iCloud a/c & I can see duplicate entries, so I guess there is no other way but to delete them manually. So after deleting duplicate contacts manually from iCloud a/c, from my iPhone too it will get deleted?

          1/18/12 @ 7:48 am

          Yes. Try it. Delete a duplicate and then look on your iPhone. You should see the change reflected there.

    1/18/12 @ 12:01 pm

    Thanks Gary,

    It’s done after I removed few duplicates (tried both ways, some from iPhone some from iCloud) & checked after some time, they are now in set of single & no more duplicates. So if I remove contact from iCloud after few seconds it get’s updated in my iPhone & other way too, if I remove from iPhone it get’s removed from iCloud.

    So what happens accidentally if all contacts get deleted in iPhone? Does that mean data from icloud will also get deleted? In that case how to keep another copy of data?

      1/18/12 @ 12:36 pm

      Don’t think of it as a copy here and a copy there,with syncing in between. Think of it as one copy, on the server (the cloud) and you access it on various devices. Like a web site — it isn’t on your computer, it is on the Internet, you are just viewing it on your computer. So you delete one on your iPhone, you are deleting it on the server.
      You can export from Address Book on your Mac every once in a while to back up if you like.

    1/18/12 @ 12:47 pm

    Does address book also get updated in 10.5.8 OS? I don’t see it is getting sync with iCloud or it is getting updated. In my iPhone right now I have aprx. 2000+ contacts & in my Mac address book it is 1600+.

      1/18/12 @ 12:50 pm

      iCloud only works with Lion (OS X 10.7.2 or newer). So you can’t use iCloud as an account with Address Book in 10.5.8.

    1/18/12 @ 1:02 pm

    So my address book will not get updated in my Mac & can’t have backup copy of the same till I don’t upgrade it to 10.7.2. Do I have any other option for backup?

      1/18/12 @ 1:19 pm

      No. You have two address books in two different places: one on iCloud and one just sitting on your old Leopard mac.
      Another way to export/backup is to go to the iCloud web site, go to contacts, select all. Then click on the tools but and export them all.

    1/18/12 @ 10:36 pm

    Thank You very much Gary for the help.

    Dave Morton
    6/20/12 @ 12:24 pm

    I love my new iPad. But for some reason several of my contact show “linked cards”. When I open the little linked card icon, I see same contact for “iCLoud” and “iPad”. I am not synced with any email address book, only iCloud. Obviously I have buggered up some of my contacts, but not all. Is there a simple way to clean this up, as when I hit edit… the only choice I have is “delete 2 contacts”, and I don’t want to do this. Help please!

      7/5/12 @ 3:24 am

      Dave – select the iPad contact and then use edit – it’ll allow you to delete just the iPad contact and leave the iCloud one alone. I had the same problem (2 x iPhone contacts + 1 iCloud contact) but after some manual deletion of iPhone contacts I gave up and left the rest of the contacts as they were.

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