quick way to delete all contacts?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by flat6, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2004
    So the iPhone, bless its heart, got overzealous and downloaded 600 contacts from my Address Book, none of which I want in it. What is the quickest way to delete this stuff?

    I have already tried the swiping across, and it does not work - the video lies. Next, I deleted my laptop's entire Address Book contents, and then told the iPhone to sync - nothing. It refuses to empty itself.

    Any ideas? I really do not want to go through thousands of clicks just to clear a goddamn contacts list. Seriously, WTF Apple?
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2009
    Well, I don't know of any other phone (or address boor for that matter) that has an option to delete all contacts, but whatever.

    I don't have my phone right now as I just sold it, but there should be a section in the general preferences called "Reset". I would see what you can find in there.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2010
    Evansville, In
    no do not reset all settings....that is the worst option on that phone.

    if your phone is jailbroke you need an app called "erase contacts" when you install this app do not touch it unless you want to erase all contacts!! it means what it says. as soon as you open it all is gone!
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2009
    I didn't say anything about reseting all settings, but I wasn't sure what else was in there.
  5. macrumors Nehalem


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    If you're JB you can use a program that deletes them all at once.
    If not delete them all or the ones you dont want from your computer and then sync the phone to your address book again.
  6. macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2011
    Temporary delete, Full delete, and Partial delete using iTunes

    Just about every Samsung, LG, and Motorola phone I've ever owned has had this capability, in addition to "Copy to SIM", "Copy from SIM", "Copy ALL" to or from SIM, same options for "Move", and the ability to tick multiple contacts for other group actions, like Send via Bluetooth. Not to mention the ability to have my phone handle all my contacts directly on the SIM card, making destroyed phones impervious to loss of contacts. Seems to me that Apple ought to step up their game (either give me those nifty contact management capabilities on my iPhone or make MobileMe completely free). But I digress...

    You don't need an APP and you don't have to do anything really special to wipe out your iPhone contacts.

    There are a few ways, and I will cover two of them. #1 - Remove all contacts from iPhone only (makes Syncing contacts in the future a disaster)

    1. Connect iPhone to your PC or MAC - let it finish Syncing
    2. Select the iPhone in iTunes
    3. Click the Info tab
    4. Un-tick the "Sync Address Book Contacts" box
    You will be prompted about what to do with your contacts. Choose to remove/delete them.​
    5. Hit Apply in the bottom right corner of iTunes.

    And that's it. iTunes will sync with your phone and all your contacts are deleted from the iPhone. Problem is, if you want to start syncing contacts with your iPhone again, it will add back all the contacts from your Address Book. Then all your new contacts will be meshed together with all your old contacts, and the nightmare begins all over again.

    If you want all your contacts gone permanently and you want to be able to start Syncing new contacts from your iPhone, use this other method:

    Method #2 - On a MAC:

    1. Connect iPhone to your MAC - let it finish Syncing
    2. Open up "Address Book" on your MAC and delete all the contacts from there.
    2. Select the iPhone in iTunes
    3. Click the Info tab
    4. Scroll down to "Advanced" section and tick the "Contacts" box - this is a one-time setting that will wipe out your iPhone contacts and replace them with your Address Book contacts (in this case, no contacts at all!). It will only occur the next time you Sync, which is step 5.
    5. Hit Apply in the bottom right corner of iTunes.

    iTunes will Sync with your iPhone, and then ALL of your contacts are gone PERMANENTLY.

    Neither of these methods will erase contacts from your SIM card. I upgraded my wife to an iPhone 4 and took her 3GS, but I only wanted my contacts from my SIM card, so I did the method above, then on my iPhone I went to Settings> Mail, Contacts, Calendars> Import SIM Contacts. After that, I Synced my iPhone again and now my Address Book on my MAC and my iPhone have only my contacts.

    You can also use this method (second method) to multi-delete a bunch of contacts. Just follow the same steps, but instead of deleting all contacts from the Address Book, use Shift-Click and Command-Click to select all the contacts you want to delete, and delete only those ones, as pictured here:

    Follow the rest of the steps exactly.

    For PC, I imagine the principle is the same, but you'll need to find where iTunes is storing all of the contacts from your iPhone.
  7. macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2010
    Or you can spend 2 bucks on contactdel on the app store. Works like a champ.
  8. macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    have you tried selecting the option 'Replace information on the iPhone' and select Contacts so if its empty on your Mac it should clear out any contacts on your phone too as it will match.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2011
    An easier way for non-hijacked phones is to go to the Info tab in iTunes. Change the "Sync Contacts with" option to something else that has no contacts in it. I orginally had sync'd to MS Outlook. I choose Windows Address book. I also hit the "Reset Sync History" button in the Devices tab of iTunes Preferences (Edit menu) but I am not sure if that is needed.

    I sync'd once ... and that copied all my iPhone contacts into the empty Windows Address book. Then I deleted all the contacts in the Windows Address book and resync's .... Voila! No contracts in the iPhone!!!
  10. richimages, Apr 21, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2008

    If memory serves me correctly ( PC user, non-jailbroken device ) ... I went through this last year. I discovered that if you CHANGE the SOURCE for iTunes contacts syncing to ANYTHING DIFFERENT than what was used from the previous iTunes-iDevice sync ... then your next sync will offer an excellent option. On the next sync operation after changing the contact sync-source, iTunes will offer the option to first copy EXISTING iDEVICE contacts to THAT NEW SOURCE ... or clobber the phone's contacts with that source's current contacts ... the choice is yours to make ... but it's only made one-time for each new switch.

    I used this to my advantage to straighten things out when I was getting multiple contacts copies on my iPhone. First, I switched sources to make a safe back up ... Then I switched again to a blank source without copying to clear the iPone. Finally, I set things up the way I wanted them in my Desired Source, and switched again to that source and did my last sync to get the iPhone in the state I wanted it in.

    Not sure that will be helpful for your situation ... but you can get a blank dummy yahoo acct (or whatever ) and choose that to sync to ... That way you may make either a back up of whatever is on the phone now ... or just sync to that blank dummy account.

    Once that is done, switch again to the source you really want.

    Good Luck ...

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