iPhone user looking for the same information? Tap or click here to learn how to delete your contacts in bulk from your iPhone.
Pick up your Android phone, open your contacts and choose all. Now take a moment to scroll down. How does it look? Cluttered? Outdated? Stuffed with names and numbers you don't even recognize? It's easy for your Android address book to get a little out of hand, but there are steps you can take to clean it up.
Over time, your contact list grows. You may end up with duplicate contacts or multiple entries for the same person. If you sync with Gmail or another email service, you could have tons of email addresses in there, too.
There are several methods you can use to declutter your Android contacts. You can do it by hand, let Google help you with the clean up, or call on an app to optimize your address book.
Delete a single contact
It's simple to remove a single contact when you need to. Open the Contacts app and tap the contact. Tap on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner and select "Delete." Confirm the deletion and you're done.
To delete multiple contacts, start on the main page of your Contacts app and hold down the first contact you want to delete. A small box will appear checked next to the contact with empty boxes beside the others. Check the boxes of all the contacts you want to remove, tap the three dots, and choose "Delete."
While this method is handy on occasion, you might not want to tackle dozens or even hundreds of contacts this way. For more intensive decluttering, you can adjust your contacts settings and get a helping hand from an app.
Un-sync contacts for certain accounts
You may have more accounts than you realize feeding into your Android Contacts. To see which accounts are syncing with (and possibly cluttering up) your address book, open up Contacts, tap on the three dots in the corner, and select "Manage accounts." Tap on an account to see if it's automatically syncing contacts. If so, and you want to put a stop to it, just turn off the sync setting. This will remove those people from Contacts on your phone, but it won't delete them from the original account.
Merge duplicate contacts
Merging duplicate contacts can be a little tricky depending on which version of Android you're running, so we'll stick with the easy way to do it. Head to your Google Contacts in a browser and tap or click on the menu indicated by three bars in the upper left-hand corner. Click on "Duplicates" to see a list of contacts that may need to be merged. There is an option to dismiss or merge each possible duplicate.
When I tried this out, Google automatically generated a message telling me it had found 32 duplicates. If you get this notice, just click on "View" and you can choose to either dismiss the suggestions or merge the contacts on a case-by-case basis.
Try an app
Sometimes you need some extra oomph to help you manage your contacts. Here's where a handy app can come in.
Contacts Optimizer: I tested out Contacts Optimizer, which promises to thoroughly clean up your contacts, on my Moto G5 Plus. I started off with 1,654 contacts, a number that even I found surprising. I was immediately able to delete 27 duplicate entries, which was satisfying. That's as far as the app will go for free.
In order to access the app's optimization wizard and extensive set of tools, you need to upgrade to the $1.99 pro version. You can preview the app's tools, such as the merging-contacts feature, to see if it's worth the small upgrade price. The app can also help you ferret out missing information, uncover invalid contacts, and mass-delete contacts. If you're serious about cleaning up your contacts, then $1.99 is a small price to pay for the privilege.
Cloze Relationship Management: While Contacts Optimizer is all about cleaning up your contacts, Cloze wants to replace your old address book entirely. The app acts like a personal assistant by learning which contacts are important to you. It tracks your interactions and updates your contacts based on changes in their email signatures. The basic app is free, but to unleash its more powerful features, you'll need to look into a subscription that starts at $13.33 per month.
Anyone can use Cloze, but it's aimed at professionals who want some extra help with organizing and managing their important business contacts. It can even give you reminders to reach out to key people you haven't been in touch with in awhile. If you need to keep track of clients and people in your business network, then Cloze is worth a look.
Now that you've cleaned up your address book, you can enjoy a less cluttered experience on your Android phone. There's a sense of satisfaction that comes with getting one small corner of your tech life tidied up.
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