In today’s world, there’s no reason to remember our contacts’ phone numbers or email addresses—that’s a job for our Macs, iPhones, and iPads. This sort of data is so core to using digital devices that Apple has long provided an ecosystem-wide solution in the form of Contacts and syncing through iCloud.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common to end up with multiple cards for the same person in Contacts, either precise duplicates or versions that contain different details. Further muddying the situation, many of us have multiple contact accounts—such as from Google or Microsoft Exchange—and some contacts may be duplicated across several accounts.
This situation is sufficiently common that Apple has provided three ways to deal with duplicate contacts: manually merging selected contact cards, automatically merging duplicate cards, and linking cards replicated in multiple accounts. The first two can be done only in the Contacts app on the Mac; linking can also be accomplished on an iPhone or iPad.
Merge Contact Cards
Let’s say you’ve ended up with two or more contact cards for the same person in the same account. They’ll usually have the same name, but it doesn’t matter if the names are different. To merge them, which combines the data from each into a single card, select them in Contacts, and choose Card > Merge Selected Cards. You should now see just the single merged card.
Contacts generally does a good job of identifying data that’s identical between the cards (like the iPhone numbers above), though different labels can sometimes trip it up. When there’s a conflict, Contacts creates a new entry for it. Name conflicts are added to the note field.
Look for Duplicates
Merge Selected Cards works if you have a small number of duplicates that you can identify easily. However, many people have found themselves in situations where tens or hundreds of contacts have been duplicated, often due to a hiccup in cloud syncing or importing. To help with that too-frequent occurrence, Apple added a feature that looks at all your contact cards and merges those that it determines are duplicates.
It’s simple to use—just choose Card > Look for Duplicates. After Contacts scans all your cards, it puts up a dialog telling you how many cards it found. Click Merge to combine all the duplicates.
Although merging hundreds of cards can be stressful, it usually works very well, and it’s far faster and easier than the alternative, which is to select each set of duplicates manually and use Merge Selected Cards.
Link Contact Cards
The two previous solutions help when you have duplicate contacts in a single account. Equally annoying can be ending up with contact cards for the same person across multiple accounts. (Check to see what accounts are configured and enabled in Contacts > Preferences > Accounts.) At best, those duplicates will simply clutter your contact list; at worst, you might have to check multiple cards to find the right phone number or email address.
Apple helps you clean up your contact list by linking cards for the same contact across different accounts. (You mustn’t link cards for different people; that can result in people receiving texts meant for others and other confusions.) In essence, this works like Merge Selected Cards, but the separate contact cards remain in their accounts, with Contacts displaying just one card with the combined information.
You can also link contacts using the Contacts or Phone apps on an iPhone or iPad, although the steps are much fussier than in Contacts on the Mac:
Find a person who is replicated across multiple accounts, and view one of their contact cards.
Tap Edit, scroll to the Linked Contacts section at the bottom of the card and tap the green + button.
In the contact list that appears, find and tap the second card for the person—it should either be showing or require scrolling up slightly.
Tap Link, and in the next screen, tap Done.
If you accidentally link the wrong cards and need to unlink them, edit the linked card and click or tap the red Remove button to break the link.
Changes you make to a combined card are saved to each separate card. However, if you want to edit one of the cards but not the other, you can view and edit each one separately by clicking the account name next to Cards on the Mac or tapping the appropriate card under Linked Contacts on an iPhone or iPad.
Cleaning up your contact list may not be the most exciting thing to do, but it’s worthwhile to eliminate duplicates that could cause confusion later on.
(Featured image by iStock.com/anyaberkut)
By GatorTec|2022-04-07T14:11:02-04:00April 29th, 2022|iOS Tips, Mac Tips|Comments Off on Three Tricks for Dealing with Duplicated Contacts
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. These cookies ensure basic functionalities and security features of the website, anonymously.
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".
The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.
The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Advertisement".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".
Used by sites written in JSP. General purpose platform session cookies that are used to maintain users' state across page requests.
This cookie is native to PHP applications. The cookie is used to store and identify a users' unique session ID for the purpose of managing user session on the website. The cookie is a session cookies and is deleted when all the browser windows are closed.
The cookie is set by Wix website building platform on Wix website. The cookie is used for security purposes.
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.
This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to calculate visitor, session, campaign data and keep track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookies store information anonymously and assign a randomly generated number to identify unique visitors.
This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to store information of how visitors use a website and helps in creating an analytics report of how the website is doing. The data collected including the number visitors, the source where they have come from, and the pages visted in an anonymous form.
Advertisement cookies are used to provide visitors with relevant ads and marketing campaigns. These cookies track visitors across websites and collect information to provide customized ads.
This cookie is set by Facebook to deliver advertisement when they are on Facebook or a digital platform powered by Facebook advertising after visiting this website.
The cookie is set by Facebook to show relevant advertisments to the users and measure and improve the advertisements. The cookie also tracks the behavior of the user across the web on sites that have Facebook pixel or Facebook social plugin.