Our smartphones are supposed to help us stay more organized while keeping all the information we need at our fingertips. But as we rely on them more and more, we have to deal with a new problem: digital clutter. One of the biggest culprits is likely lurking in your iPhone’s Contacts.
Your Contacts app may be stuffed to the gills with names, phone numbers, and email addresses, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. A lot of those contacts should be current and relevant, but you probably also have some duplicates or multiple entries for the same person.
You likely also have some outdated contacts you no longer need.
It’s time to take some steps to clean up your address book. Trying to tackle it one by one could be absolutely maddening, but there are some apps and helpful tricks that make the process a lot less painful. Here’s how to do it.
Un-sync contacts for certain accounts
You may have more accounts than you realize sharing information with your iPhone Contacts app. To see what’s up, head into Settings and choose Passwords & Accounts. You will see a list of accounts, which could include Gmail or other email accounts.
If you want to keep your iPhone stocked with just your phone contacts, you can choose to turn off Contacts syncing with your email accounts. Just tap on the name of the account and turn off the Contacts slider.
You will get a warning that this will remove those contacts from your device. But don’t worry, they won’t be deleted from the account itself. This move can be a quick way to reduce your Contacts list to a more manageable level.
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Merge duplicate contacts
Duplicate entries are a common complaint when it comes to contacts. For a tidier address book, you want to merge these together into one entry per person. For this task, check out an app like Smart Merge Pro, which you can download for free.
The app will check your contacts, look for duplicates, and give you the opportunity to merge those extraneous entries together. Just be sure to backup your contacts when Smart Merge Pro gives you the opportunity.
Delete contacts manually
You can still delete contacts one by one as you go along. Just tap on the contact, tap on Edit, and scroll down until you see the Delete Contact option. You will need to tap again on the little pop-up window to confirm the removal.
This is a simple option for spot-cleaning your address book here and thereafter you’ve merged duplicates and disabled unneeded account synchronizations.
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Use an address book manager
One way to really get a handle on your contacts is to draft an address book manager app into service. These apps handle the heavy lifting of tracking, organizing, and updating your contacts.
The CircleBack app promises to bring a better address book to your iPhone. One of the free app’s most enticing features is its ability to seek out contact information lurking in email signatures and turn it into usable contacts. If you still find yourself wrangling a lot of physical business cards, then you will appreciate its ability to scan cards using your iPhone’s camera and add them to your address book.
CircleBack is also constantly on the lookout for changes in your contacts, so it can update them and keep the information fresh. A built-in contact de-duplication feature also helps keep down the contact clutter. Give this app a try if you want a free way to maintain a more advanced address book.
Cloze Relationship Management
The Cloze app is much more than just a way to wrangle your contacts. It behaves like a personal assistant by learning which contacts are important to you. It tracks your interactions and can update contacts based on changes in their email signatures. The app can also remind you to get in touch with people you haven’t been in communication with in a while.
The basic Cloze app is free, but to access its most powerful features you’ll need a subscription that starts at $13.33 per month. The subscription price should tip you off that this app is aimed at business professionals who need to keep track of clients and other people in their business networks. If that sounds like you, then you may find the cost well worth it.
Whether you simply clean up your existing iPhone contacts or choose to use a different app entirely, you will be rewarded with a less cluttered and easier-to-navigate address book.