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How to Find, Merge and Link Duplicate Contacts on iPhone

With iOS 16, a user iPhone can detect duplicate contacts and merge them, link them together or leave them as they are. iPhones serve as an address book that can fit in the palm of your hand, but as people upgrade their phones, change numbers, and change their contact information, it becomes more and more likely that contacts duplicates are created.


Today, an iPhone’s Contacts app is capable of much more than a traditional address book, but some users may not even be aware of the app’s full potential. For example, contacts are extremely customizable. There’s a ton of information that can be stored in a person’s contact card, and it can be personalized with photos or Memoji. While these are personal touches that can be added to a contact, there are also functional uses for the Contacts app, such as setting a custom ringtone or vibration for specific contacts. For all of these features to work properly, there must be a unique contact for each person saved in the Contacts app.

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After updating to iOS 16, users will be greeted with a new message upon opening the Contacts app if their iPhone has identified duplicate contacts. There ‘Duplicates found‘ will appear directly below the user’s contact card, which puts it at the top of the contact list. Users can press ‘Review Duplicates‘ to see contact cards that their iPhone has marked as duplicates, or tap the gray ‘x’ in the top right corner of the message to clear it. Even after the message has been deleted, it is possible to review, merge or link duplicates by scrolling to the bottom of the contact list.


iCloud contacts synced between Mac and iPhone.

Users can choose to merge contacts individually or automatically merge all found duplicates together. To merge a set of duplicate contacts individually, tap the name of the contact that needs to be merged. Next, examine the merged contact card which shows the data extracted from each duplicate contact. If the information appears to be correct and the user wishes to continue, press the blue ‘Merge‘ at the bottom of the screen. However, users can choose to leave duplicates in the contact list by pressing ‘Ignore.’

Contacts are identified as duplicates when they share the same first and last name, and may result from the aggregation of contact data from different sources. For example, some users save their contacts in a third-party app or service, in iCloud, or through their carrier. When these contact cards overlap, duplicates are found in the user’s contact list. Besides merging contacts, users can also link contacts from different sources to reduce redundancy. To link a contact, find it in the contact list and press ‘Edit.’ Then press the ‘contact link‘ and find the contact that will be linked to the first, creating a unified contact card. Once this card is created, users can view and edit the contact in a single card while updating the contact’s source accounts on their iPhone.

Next: How to sync contacts between iPhone and iPad

Source: Apple