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How to organize your iPhone contacts like an absolute pro – no duplicates, add profile pictures, and nicknames as well!


Use these five simple ways to organize your cluttered iPhone contacts list – no duplicates, add profile pictures, and nicknames as well!

Organize Your iPhone Contacts App Like A PRO In 5 Simple WaysPin

#1) Merge Duplicate Contacts

Many people save contact information for the same person piecemeal. What I mean by that is if we get an email from someone we might save their email address as one contact card while later quickly jotting down their phone number on another contact card. This results in multiple contact cards for the same person.

Thankfully iOS allows you to merge contacts into one. We’ve detailed this by itself before, but it’s worth repeating here. To merge duplicated contacts:

  1. Open the Contacts app.
  2. Tap “All iCloud” in the list of contacts lists. This contacts list contains ALL the contacts you have saved in iCloud.
  3. On the iCloud list screen – if you have duplicate contacts – you’ll see an alert in a grey box that says “X Duplicates Found”, X being the number of duplicates found. The box then explains “Merging duplicate cards for a contact combines the cards, keeping all unique information in a single card for that contact.” Tap the View Duplicates button in this box.
  4. On the next screen, you’ll see a list of duplicate contacts. Tap Merge All.
  5. In the popup that appears, tap Merge Duplicates.

You can also merge just two contacts at a time instead of all the duplicates in your Contacts app. To find out how to merge just two contacts at a time, see our guide here.

#2) Keep Your Contacts Info Up To Date

This bit of advice is, surprisingly, the one most people have a hard time with because, well, it’s time-consuming. It’s possible you may now have email addresses from one contact scattered across different cards above if you saved those emails separately. Or maybe you just have one contact card with pertinent information missing–a work email or home phone for example.

If you’re an organized person you’ll want to get as complete a contact info compilation for members in your Contacts as possible. This, unfortunately, involves you finding out the information and then manually adding that information into the myriad fields in the contact card template in iOS. As you can imagine this could take a lot of time–tapping away at the various fields.

That’s why I highly recommend updating your contact card info on your Mac or PC in the default contacts app you use or in the web-based contact book you use for services such as Yahoo Mail or Gmail.

The simple fact is that if you need to manually enter lots of contact info, it’s always faster to do it using a computer with a physical keyboard than it is doing it on a tiny touchscreen.

#3) Add A Profile Photo For Your Contacts

One thing that iOS Contacts app can do is add a photo to a contact. Adding a photo to your contacts helps to quickly identify them when they call from their phone number (their image will appear). Their photo will also appear next to any threads in Messages between you and them.

You can manually add photos to contact cards in iOS by doing the following:

  1. Open the Contacts app.
  2. Select a contact.
  3. Tap the Edit button on their contact card.
  4. On the edit screen, tap the “Add Photo” button under the initials in the circle.
  5. Now tap the pictures button (it’s blue and looks like a generic landscape photo).
  6. Find and tap a photo of them in your photos library screen that pops up.
  7. Move and scale the photo to your liking. Try to center it on their face.
  8. Tap Choose.
  9. If you want, on the next screen you can add a filter to the photo.
  10. Tap Done.
  11. Tap Done again.

#4) Add A Memoji Or Emoji For Your Contacts

Just like you can add a photo to a contact, you can also add an Apple Memoji or emoji to your contacts. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Contacts app.
  2. Select a contact.
  3. Tap the Edit button on their contact card.
  4. On the edit screen, tap the “Add Photo” button under the initials in the circle.
  5. Now tap on a Memoji or emoji from the list provided.
  6. On the next screen, you can customize the Memoji or emoji to your liking.
  7. Tap Done.
  8. Tap Done again.

#5) Use Nicknames For Contacts Inside iOS Contacts App

Not many people know this but iOS supports nicknames for individuals in your contacts. A nickname can be handy, especially for relatives. For example, you may have your mom listed in your contacts by her first and last name, say “Mary Smith”.

But when you send off an email to your mom it’s kinda stupid to have to start typing “Mary Smith” – after all, she’s just “mom” to you.

iOS allows you to have both her real name and her nickname on the same contact card, which means you can type either to send her a message or text. Here’s how to add nicknames to contacts:

  1. Select the contact you want to nickname from your Contacts app.
  2. Tap the Edit button.
  3. By default, the Nickname field will not appear so you need to scroll down until you see the “add field” button. Tap it.
  4. On the add field screen tap “Nickname”.
  5. You’ll be taken to the main contact edit screen. Now simply type in the nickname of the person and tap Done. You’ll now be able to bring up that person’s contact info in Messages or Mail simply by typing their nickname.

Why You Should Organise Your iPhone Contacts

The Contacts app is probably the least sexy app included with iOS – and one most often ignored by users. But considering how much Contacts integrates across the OS, it’s also one of the most important apps on a system-wide level.

Having an organized contacts book will help you communicate faster and easier with others while also greatly simplifying your digital life.

Most people use their phones to access the web and message people inside services like WhatsApp and iMessage, but every now and then you’ll still need to make calls and use it as, well, a phone. If you’ve got plenty of accounts packed full of contacts or switched numbers a few times in the past chances are you’ll have tons of duplicated contacts and, if you’re anything like me, a load of mysterious contacts you have no recollection of adding to your phone.

And most people’s Contacts app probably look the same: messy, with tons of duplicated contacts.

I had a gazillion duplicates in mine before I sat down to write this, and now it’s as organized as JR’s Rolodex.

The process itself isn’t that difficult either, it just takes a little patience and the end result is so much better, especially if you have borderline OCD like me.

And check out How To Add Contacts To Groups On iPhone! And be sure to check out How To Restore Deleted iPhone Contacts!