How to remove and merge duplicate contacts

You’ve probably experienced the frustration of duplicate contact cards at one time or another and the more contacts you have (especially if the duplicates have different information) the more of a headache it can be.

Luckily there are a couple easy ways to remove duplicates whether you have your Mac with you or not, as well as a way to merge contact card data. Follow along for how to make quick work of cleaning up your contacts.

Strange enough there isn’t a way to select multiple contacts in iOS, so using your Mac is the most efficient approach and there’s a handy tool built-in with macOS. Don’t forget to make sure you’ve got a copy of your contacts backed up somewhere before making changes, otherwise, let’s dive in.

Start by launching the Contacts application. Make sure All Contacts is selected in the top left corner of the window (this will include local and cloud stored contact cards).

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In the menu bar click on Card → Look for Duplicates…

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Next, a pop up window will let you know how many duplicates will be merged if there is different information on cards that share the same name and also if some duplicates will just be removed (this is automatic and in this example all the duplicates are being cleaned up by merging).

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Click Merge and you’re done!

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A second option is using iCloud.com if you’re away from your Mac and really need to make some changes (note, this only applies to contacts saved with iCloud). The downside is this option will only give you the ability to delete instead of merging and deleting, so use it cautiously.

To do this, log in to your account at iCloud.com and click on Contacts.

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Once you’ve selected All Contacts in the top left hand corner of the window, hold down ⌘ (command) and click to select all the duplicates (or as many as you’d like). Press the delete key and confirm the delete by clicking delete as shown in the photo below.

This iCloud approach will work mostly the same if you’d like to address duplicate contacts saved with Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft or other services. But again, if you can wait until you have access to your Mac, you’ll definitely save a good amount of time.


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