How to Use Scrubly to Delete Duplicate iPhone Contacts

iPhone Contacts icon surrounded by geometric design

Did you know you could use Scrubly to get rid of duplicate iPhone contacts without syncing your contacts to a desktop client?

While Scrubly is great at cleaning Outlook, Mac, and Google contacts, you can take your iPhone contacts and clean them without syncing to any of these programs.

All you need is access to your iCloud account, a desktop computer, and about 20 minutes. Interested? Here’s how.

Leave iCloud Sync ON

In the past it was a good idea to turn off iCloud sync to keep it from getting confused, but with recent updates to iCloud and Scrubly this is no longer necessary and can actually cause issues.

SEE ALSO: 6 Tips for a Better OS X Calendar

Export iCloud Contacts

Now, I know we said we were going to delete duplicate iPhone contacts, but to do that we need the help of iCloud.

Make sure your iCloud contact syncing is turned ON by tapping on Settings on your iPhone and then on iCloud. Make sure the toggle next to Contacts is turned ON (green). If it isn’t, turn it on and wait about 10 minutes for your contacts to fully sync.

Head on over to and enter your Apple ID and password. Once you’re logged in, click on Contacts and you should see all of the contacts listed. Click on one of those contacts and then hit Command + A (Ctrl + A on a PC) to select all.

With all your contacts highlighted in blue, click on the gear icon in the bottom left corner of the window. In the menu that appears, choose Export vCard. This will download the VCF containing all your iCloud contacts to your computer.

Selecting Export vCard from iCloud gear icon menu

Now that you have your iCloud contacts on your Mac or PC, it’s time to get into Scrubly.

RELATED: How to Link Duplicate iPhone Contacts

Get a Scrubly Account

Go to and create a new account. Setting up an account is free, so don’t worry about having to put in a credit card number or committing to buy anything.

Scrubly sign-up screen

Delete Duplicate iPhone Contacts

Once you have your new account, it’s time to choose what types of contacts you have. You can add address books from multiple sources, but you need to start with one.

1. Since we’re looking at duplicate iPhone contacts and will be uploading a VCF file, click on the File item.

Scrubly setup window

2. Next, click on Mac vCard and give the address book on Scrubly a name. Since this is iPhone contacts, let’s name it “iPhone Contacts.” Pretty inventive, eh?

3. After you enter the name, click the Browse button to find and upload your iPhone contacts.

4. With the VCF file selected, click the Next button. This will start the scrubbing process. Depending on how many contacts you uploaded, this will take anywhere from 20 seconds to around 2 minutes.

5. You’ll now have the option to add more VCF files to the mix. For our purposes one will do, so click the Skip button. On the screen that now appears, click the Start Scrub button.

Scrubly address book scrub window

Depending on how much information you have in your contacts, you can choose the Express or Deep Scrub. Express is quicker but will find fewer duplicates. The Deep Scrub requires you to interact a little more, but it’ll find the hardest-to-clean duplicates.

6. For this example we’ll do the Express Scrub. When you click Express Scrub you’ll get a question about the Notes field. Leave the box checked and click Next to continue.

Scrubly is now scanning through your duplicate iPhone contacts looking for duplicates. This will take anywhere from 20 seconds to 10 minutes depending on how many contacts you uploaded (300 contacts takes around 25 seconds). When it’s complete you’ll get a report on what Scrubly deleted and merged.

Duplicate contacts killing your productivity? See how Scrubly can help in this 100-second video.

7. Click Next to continue.

Scrubly Express Scrub completion window

SEE ALSO: How to Set Up and Use IFTTT on Your iPhone

Getting Social

Next, you’ll get the chance to use Scrubly Social Contact Update. This will gather social media information for your contacts, including pictures, job titles, and additional phone numbers and email addresses.

8. Click Run Update to continue, or Skip to not do this step. If you run the Scrubly Social Contact Update you will need to log in and link your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts.

Scrubly Social Contacts Update window

9. Set the priority for each social site so Scrubly knows which to look at first, and then click Next.

10. Now you get the chance to tell Scrubly what you want downloaded for each of the available contact fields. If you want what’s downloaded from the social sites to overwrite your current data, check that box. When you’re ready, click Next.

11. You’ll now get to review each update or let Scrubly update them automatically. To keep things easy, click the Auto Update selected Contacts button to continue. Make sure to look them over before doing this, as you’ll be warned to do anyway.

Scrubly window showing social media contacts found

When Scrubly is all done with your contacts, you’ll a message like this:

Scrubly contacts update message

12. Click the button to get to the download screen. It’s at this point you’ll be prompted to purchase a Scrubly account. If you feel the changes you’ve seen are worth it, click the Purchase button. If you purchase a one-time subscription you’ll be redirected back to your dashboard after the purchase.

13. From here you can download your scrubbed contacts. Click the Download Ready button under the iPhone Address Book we created at the beginning.

Closeup of Scrubly dashboard

Your contacts will download to your computer as a VCF file. Now, with your scrubbed contacts in hand, it’s time to finish up by heading back to the iCloud website.

Importing Your Contacts

Go back to your contacts and with all your contacts still selected, hit the Delete key on your keyboard. iCloud will prompt you to verify you wish to delete all your contacts. Click the Delete button to continue.

iCloud dialog box to confirm deleting contacts

Note: Don’t worry about this step. Your contacts are backed up not only on your desktop with the original exported VCF file, but also on If something goes wrong, it’s easy to restore.

When all your iCloud contacts are gone, it’s time to import the freshly scrubbed ones. Click the gear icon at the bottom left corner and select Import vCard.

Selecting Import vCard from iCloud gear icon menu

Select the newly downloaded vCard file and you’re all done!

It’ll take a few minutes for these to sync over to your iPhone, but when they do, your duplicate-contact woes on the iPhone are gone for good.

With this last step you’ve successfully used Scrubly to delete duplicate iPhone contacts, and cleaned up iCloud and any other device in the process. Well done, you!

Scrubly social-sharing menu.

Scrubly sign-up.