How to Effectively Manage iPhone Contacts

iPhone contact icon with anonymous person silhouette

Your iPhone can sync contacts from multiple sources, giving you complete control over every important listing you have. While in theory this sounds great, in reality it often makes for a real headache.

Even if you’re only syncing contacts from a single source, you can still run into issues involving duplicates or missing data, especially if you’re using a non-iCloud account as your main repository.

With all the power built into the iOS Contacts app, making your contacts shine is actually pretty easy. Check out the tips below on how to manage iPhone contacts.

Sync Contacts

Just having added an account to your iPhone doesn’t mean you’re syncing contacts. If you have an account that you want to sync contacts with, such as a Gmail account, then follow these steps.

First, tap on Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Then tap on the account you want to sync contacts with and verify that the toggle next to Contacts is ON.

Scrubly email account settings screen on iPhone

With this turned on, your contacts should sync. If you’ve turned it on for the first time, it may take a few minutes for all of your contacts to download.

Be careful how many accounts you sync contacts with; the more accounts you have synced, the more issues you can run into. We’ll cover a few of those issues next with some tips on managing multiple contact lists.

Set a Default Contact List

When you have multiple contact lists on your iPhone, there’s a good chance you’ll add a contact to the wrong list. For example, if you keep your primary contacts stored in iCloud but your business contacts with your work account, you could easily add a contact to the wrong place, which means it won’t sync where you need it. This is why it helps to set your iPhone’s default contact list correctly.

Tap on Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and then scroll down until you find the Contacts section. Make sure the account listed next to Default Account is the one you most commonly want new contacts added to when using your iPhone.

Contacts settings screen on iPhone

You can always choose a different account to add a specific contact to later, but this is where new ones will default to automatically. By default, this will be set to iCloud if you have an iCloud account on your device. So if you plan on using Google or some other service for contact syncing, it’s best to change this now.

Remove Duplicate Contacts

Duplicate contacts can be a real pain. When you start adding contacts on the fly and importing accounts to your device, it’s easy to start seeing duplicates, especially if you’re syncing with more than one account.

If you have duplicate contacts in your iCloud synced contacts, use this method to remove the duplicate contacts easily with Scrubly. If you’re syncing your contacts with Google, this details how to use Scrubly to fix your duplicate Google Contacts.

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

If you just want to hide duplicate contacts across multiple address books on your iPhone, this method shows you how to link iPhone contacts to minimize duplicates.

However you do it, fixing your duplicate iPhone contacts is one of the biggest contact management tips you can take away from this post.

Sync Facebook and Twitter Contacts

Just about all of us use at least one form of social media. Facebook is the de facto communication source for most, but Twitter is vitally important for others.

Your iPhone allows you not only to sync contacts but also to sync information from social media to them, as well as add social media contacts right to your address book.

Social media accounts on iPhone settings screen

Check out these steps to help you sync Facebook contacts with your iPhone. The steps for adding Twitter and LinkedIn are nearly identical, so this is a great primer on the process.

Head over to Settings on your iPhone and scroll down until you see the social media section. Go into each and add your information, making sure to turn on the contact sync.

Use Favorite Contacts

Way back when it was actually cool to carry a flip phone, your dialed one of your favorite contacts by hitting one of the number keys on the phone and pressing Send. Today, favorites are far more advanced and offer more than just a quick way to dial your best friend.

On the iPhone, your favorites work double duty, allowing you to quickly dial those people you call regularly, but also doing some work inside iOS itself.

First, within iOS 8 your favorites show in the app switcher at the top. This is great for super-fast contact but also cuts down on the need to go into the phone app for dialing. If you’d rather turn this feature off, go into Settings, then tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Scroll down until you see the Contacts section, tap on Show in App Switcher, and turn this option to OFF.

Next, your favorites are set to bypass the Do Not Disturb option inside of iOS 8. This means if you tell your phone to stay quiet at night, anyone in your favorites list can still get through. To adjust these settings, go into Settings. Scroll down until you see Do Not Disturb and tap on it.

Do Not Disturb settings screen on iPhone

Tap on Allow Calls From and select Favorites. You can always turn this off as well. Either way, keep in mind that your favorites can do far more than just let you make calls fast.

This is only scratching the surface of what you can do with iPhone contacts, but for anyone looking to learn more, it’s a great place to start. Do you have a favorite tip for managing iPhone contacts? Leave it in the comments below.

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