How to Merge and Remove Duplicate Contacts in macOS and iCloud

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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If you've been maintaining and migrating the same Contacts list across Macs over the years then you've probably come across your fair share of duplicate contact cards. They can also appear seemingly out of nowhere after setting up iCloud Contacts on your Mac for the first time.

Unless you intentionally keep certain information for the same contact separated out for whatever reason, duplicate cards will add nothing but irritation to your day, so here we're going to show you how to merge and/or remove them, whether you're sat at your Mac or not.


Click here to read more...

Article Link: How to Merge and Remove Duplicate Contacts in macOS and iCloud
 

Arne-IC

macrumors newbie
Oct 3, 2011
5
0
Germany



If you've been maintaining and migrating the same Contacts list across Macs over the years then you've probably come across your fair share of duplicate contact cards. They can also appear seemingly out of nowhere after setting up iCloud Contacts on your Mac for the first time.

Unless you intentionally keep certain information for the same contact separated out for whatever reason, duplicate cards will add nothing but irritation to your day, so here we're going to show you how to merge and/or remove them, whether you're sat at your Mac or not.


Click here to read more...

Article Link: How to Merge and Remove Duplicate Contacts in macOS and iCloud
[doublepost=1519288550][/doublepost]I use the iOS app OneContact. It's simple and works perfectly well for me. And it is even free.
 

Xenc

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2010
1,030
173
London, England
If you are having contacts duplicate constantly, ensure you keep syncing enabled across all devices while you carry out these steps. Goodbye thousands of duplicates!
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
12,229
10,094
Singapore
You can roll back your contacts to an earlier date on iCloud.com
It happened quite some time back. Wish I had known about it sooner. I ended up just getting the contacts again from my friends and colleagues and keying then in manually.
 
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iBungie

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2008
131
38
Using Contacts in MacOS/OSX it is straightforward to use the export feature (File menu) to create an archive of your contacts list. If after a clean up of duplicates some are accidentally deleted then click on the archive contacts file and the option to use this to replace the current contacts is offered allowing you to restore to your 'pre-cleanup' state so you can try again.
 
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Mike MA

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2012
2,038
1,672
It's all getting worse if you have family contacts and calenders active. Great read though.
 

Wanted797

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2011
661
941
Australia
After having iPhones since 2008 I have gained 230 contacts.

80% of which I never use. I’d love a bulk delete anyone I haven’t had contact with for 5 years plus.
 
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newyorksole

macrumors 68040
Apr 2, 2008
3,807
3,842
New York.
I have a question that hopefully someone can answer...

Let’s say on December 1st I had 100 contacts and had contacts turned on in iCloud as well as a backup from that day.

Then let’s say I turn off my iCloud backup, but still leave contacts turned on.

Fast forward to today, February 1st, I have 200 contacts, but my last iCloud backup was December 1st.

If I get a new iPhone and restore it from an iCloud backup from December 1st, will I have 100 contacts or all 200?

Because even tho I turned off my iCloud backup, I left the contacts tab on so they could constantly sync/save.

Really hope someone can answer this.
 
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NightFox

macrumors 68020
May 10, 2005
2,178
1,342
Shropshire, UK
Using Contacts in MacOS/OSX it is straightforward to use the export feature (File menu) to create an archive of your contacts list. If after a clean up of duplicates some are accidentally deleted then click on the archive contacts file and the option to use this to replace the current contacts is offered allowing you to restore to your 'pre-cleanup' state so you can try again.
OK, but if you've got a few hundred contacts, you're probably not going to notice that one has been borked until you actually come to use it, maybe several months later - or does the 'merge duplicates' function provide a summary of what it's merged when it's finished doing its thing?
 

Kaaarl

macrumors newbie
Feb 22, 2018
2
3
OK, but if you've got a few hundred contacts, you're probably not going to notice that one has been borked until you actually come to use it, maybe several months later - or does the 'merge duplicates' function provide a summary of what it's merged when it's finished doing its thing?
No, macOS Contacts app does not provide any summary about what contacts were merged. Just the number.
 

iBungie

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2008
131
38
OK, but if you've got a few hundred contacts, you're probably not going to notice that one has been borked until you actually come to use it, maybe several months later - or does the 'merge duplicates' function provide a summary of what it's merged when it's finished doing its thing?
The archive is just one form of back up available within Contacts within OSX/MacOS - vCards are another as is the option to create a .pdf - these may be easier to look back on in future for a missing contact as accessing these files doesn't replace your current contacts.

I tend to deal with duplicates manually. The automatic merging may not give much of a report (how many merged) however many merged contacts I have contain data in the note field which indicates they have been changed.

Always worth making an archive/backup before editing contacts
 

JosephAW

macrumors 68030
May 14, 2012
2,621
2,852
For those of us who've been using iOS since the iPhone 3GS or iPod Touch our contacts can be quite a mess.

There's too much tapping to get to the point where you can edit a contact or insert a photo and the buttons are too small.

There needs to be a way to drag and drop multiple contacts visually without doing one at a time in iOS.
In MacOS at least you can merge multiple contacts at a time.

We also need an option where apps who access our contacts can be assigned to only see a specified group and not all our contacts.
 
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ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,354
2,013
Between the coasts
I have a question that hopefully someone can answer...

Let’s say on December 1st I had 100 contacts and had contacts turned on in iCloud as well as a backup from that day.

Then let’s say I turn off my iCloud backup, but still leave contacts turned on.

Fast forward to today, February 1st, I have 200 contacts, but my last iCloud backup was December 1st.

If I get a new iPhone and restore it from an iCloud backup from December 1st, will I have 100 contacts or all 200?

Because even tho I turned off my iCloud backup, I left the contacts tab on so they could constantly sync/save.

Really hope someone can answer this.
Here goes... The short answer is, "all 200," presuming you both restore from iCloud Backup and turn on the Contacts toggle in iCloud settings (which happens by default).

If you have iCloud-synced features enabled (primarily Contacts, Calendars, iCloud Photo Library, documents in iCloud/iCloud Drive, Notes, Reminders), then the synced data is stored separately from your iCloud backups. Apple does not include them in your iCloud backup because it would be redundant - a waste of storage. It also means you don't need to make iCloud backups at all in order to preserve Contacts data in the cloud (so long as you have Contacts toggled-on in iCloud Settings).

Now, if you have "On My iPhone" contacts, notes, etc. in addition to iCloud contacts, notes, etc., then the On My iPhone data will be part of your iCloud backup. This is true of your Camera Roll, too (if you have one). It's one of the reasons Camera Roll disappears when you use iCloud Photo Library.

These articles have additional info on what iCloud backup does and doesn't include: https://support.apple.com/HT207428 https://support.apple.com/HT204136
 
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ignatius345

macrumors 68020
Aug 20, 2015
2,454
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So is there no way to check the duplicates before you allow them to be merged, or select which ones you want to be merged?
There definitely used to be. It would show you each card and ask you to pick which one to use, as I recall -- or it could actually merge the information from both cards into one.

No way in hell I'm clicking "merge" without seeing what it's about to do.
[doublepost=1519319634][/doublepost]I sync my contacts with Google instead of iCloud, since I use Gmail a lot. That lets me use Google's contact management features through the web interface. It also syncs over whatever contact photos people have added to their own Gmail accounts (and like 99% of the people I email use Gmail, so this is basically everyone).
 
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MacMan988

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2012
716
61
Is it possible to keep contact's pictures in sync with facebook without using third party apps?