How to Permanently Delete Contacts on Your iPhone

There are many reasons why someone may need to edit their iPhone’s contact list; there may be contacts you don’t need anymore, you may be looking to transfer to a new device, or maybe you simply need to do a little housekeeping. Removing contacts frees up a bit of storage space on your device, leaving more room for pictures and apps. While it’s common to add new contacts, removing them is usually a less frequent task. Read more to learn how to permanently delete contacts on your iPhone.

How to Permanently Delete Contacts on Your iPhone

When you delete a contact, it permanently removes them from your device. To delete a single contact on your iPhone, you’ll need to open the Contacts app and select the name you’d like to delete. After the contact’s information opens, tap Edit. Scroll all the way to the bottom of that contact’s information and select “Delete Contact.” This option will appear in red text, and you’ll need to tap it again to confirm.

Another thing to note is that if you delete a contact from your email account, you will also permanently delete that contact from all devices that are signed into that account.

How to Delete Multiple Contacts

It is possible to remove multiple contacts at once, but it requires the use of a computer. Apple’s iCloud provides back up storage for everything on your device, even photos and apps, so if you’re looking to clean up a contact list and you’d prefer not to delete them one by one, you’ll need to access iCloud from a computer.

First, visit and log in with your Apple ID and password. On the main page, select Contacts; conveniently, the apps in iCloud mirror those on your phone, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. To delete multiple contacts on your iPhone, highlight the contacts you’d like to delete by continually holding the Control key on your keyboard. As long as the Control button is held, you can select any number of contacts you like. When you’re ready to delete them, click on the Settings icon in the bottom left of the screen and select Delete. You’ll need to confirm your choice by clicking Delete a second time, but doing this will remove multiple contacts from every device that uses your Apple ID.

How to Manage Duplicate Contacts

Your iPhone can port in contacts from other accounts that are used on your device, such as email. However, the technology is not flawless, and there are occasional syncing issues that may result in duplicates in your contact list. If you have a few repeats in your contact list, you might choose to scroll through and delete them individually.

However, if you have a lengthy contact list, endlessly scrolling and deleting might not be for you. To manage the duplicate contacts that appear, take the following steps:

  • Open your iPhone’s Contacts app and select Groups in the upper left corner.
  • Check only one contact source such as All iCloud.
  • Open the Settings app and scroll down to Contacts. Turn syncing off for every source that you’ve connected to your Contacts account, except for one source.

When you turn syncing off for a source, you will be asked if you want to delete the contacts off your device. In this instance, select yes, since this won’t delete the contacts at the source, but will remove them from your iPhone to eliminate duplicates.

How to Delete All Contacts from Your iPhone

If you ever need to delete all the contacts on your iPhone at once, there are a few simple steps that you can take. Before you begin, you’ll need to make sure that your contact list is synced to iCloud, that way they’re backed up, in case you ever need to retrieve them. After that, open the Settings app on your phone and tap the tab at the top that has your name, profile picture, and the words “Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store.”

Select the iCloud tab, which will display all the information that is stored in the cloud from your device. Beside the word Contacts, there will be a toggle switch that is set to “on” with green bar, and a white circle. Tap that white circle to toggle that switch “off.” This will trigger a pop-up window that will ask you if you’d like to keep or delete the synced contacts on your phone. If your goal is to wipe your contact list clean, select “Delete from My iPhone.”

Whether you’re just looking to declutter your old phone or in the market for a new budget phone. Head over to the Trademore blog for more tips and smartphone tricks.

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