How to Customize Favorite Contacts in iOS 10

Among the many new features in iOS 10 is a neat way to organize your favorite contacts and even access them quickly thanks to a new widget system introduced in the update. iOS 10 goes beyond general phone call-launching features, introducing ways to customize whether each contact icon will call, FaceTime, text, or email the person you tap on.

The addition makes favorites a far more useful and personal feature, superior to the 3D Touch Quick action it was limited to in previous versions of iOS (an enhanced 3D Touch option is still available). It should be noted that the basic communication preferences stored within each contact card on your iPhone will come into play when customizing your new favorites widget, so be sure to add in any phone numbers and email addresses before you start if you haven't done so already.

Customizing Favorites in the Phone App

Once you have iOS 10 downloaded, follow these steps to navigate through the new way you can customize favorites in the phone app.

How To Contacts Widget 1
The above image represents Step 5 in the instructions below

  1. Navigate to the Phone app.
  2. The app should open on the "Favorites" tab, but if not tap to it.
  3. Tap the "+" button in the top left corner of the screen.
  4. Search for the contact you want to add and tap it.
  5. Choose between Message, Call, Video, or Mail as your shortcut.
  6. To pick a number or email other than the one shown as default, tap the small down arrow to the right of Message, Call, or Mail to pick from any number/email already stored in your phone for this contact.
  7. Return to the Favorites tab and your new quick access contact will be at the bottom of your Favorites list.
  8. Tap "Edit" in the top right corner to delete or reprioritize contacts.

  9. When organizing your new favorite contacts, be sure to note that the first four contacts will receive top billing in the favorites widget, but a total of eight can fit.

Setting Up the Favorites Widget

The new favorites list is interesting because of its granular settings that allow you to jump into the contacts you only text with, while still accommodating those people you more often speak with on the phone. The personalization doesn't stop there, however, thanks to iOS 10's new and visually overhauled widgets system. Follow the next few steps to get your favorites widget up and running.

How To Contacts Widget 2
  1. Navigate to the widgets screen by swiping right from the main iOS 10 home screen, notification center, or lock screen.
  2. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of your widgets and tap "Edit."
  3. Find "Favorites" and tap the small green plus button to add it to your widgets.
  4. Use the triple bar or "hamburger" icon on the right side of the screen to move favorites further up or down the list.
  5. Hit "Done" to save your changes.
  6. You'll see your favorite contacts as a widget, with the top four contacts getting premium placement.
  7. Tap "Show More" to expand the widget to a total of eight contacts.
Since the favorites widget can show up to eight contacts, you can return to the phone app to add and rearrange your most important friends, family members, and co-workers to see the changes reflected in the widget.

Your customization options include: adding multiple methods of communication for one person (all four if you contact one person multiple ways frequently), removing the default phone call options for message-focused contacts, and setting your top four most used contacts to save room on the widgets screen, without needing to use the "Show More" option.

How To Contacts Widget 3
An example of the personalized layout that the new widget offers.

iOS 10 is full of other minor but useful features that are worth checking out, which MacRumors is covering in various guides and how-tos to give you a step-by-step walkthrough of each new feature. Check back for new articles, and be sure to read our forums for discussions on iOS 10, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and more.

Top Rated Comments

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41 months ago
The widget is a better idea, but it just needs 3D Touch support so you don't have to pin multiple of the same person. It should also keep the functionality to pin the same contact multiple times for people that do not have 3D Touch. Better yet, why not just allow it so that non-3D Touch users can just hold for two seconds to see other choices.
Rating: 3 Votes
41 months ago

Ah speed dial is back after 9 years

The Favorites have been in the Phone app for a long time.

Thanks. I've noticed the emergency bypass, but that makes the phone ring, even when you have silent switched on, so only a true emergency option.

So it doesn't just bypass DND but even the silent/vibrate setting and always rings for calls and plays a tone for messages even if the phone is on silent/vibrate?

I thought iOS 10 was going to bring other messaging/calling ways into the fold in this area. For instance, we would have the ability to select What's App instead of iMessage. What am I missing?

Updated calling apps can have their calls show up as normal calls would (rather than as just an app notification).
Rating: 2 Votes
41 months ago
As I have an iPhone 6 - no 3d Touch - the "Favourites" widget method is going to be a useful time saver for me.
Rating: 1 Votes
41 months ago
Yeah Apple software has really gone downhill with its inconsistency. I will say iOS 10 as a whole is pretty dam good though. Whoever designed the new maps app deserves a medal. It's super simple and clutter free. Yet it retains all its power and adds more. That app is an example of something well designed. Knowing my luck they will re-design it in iOS 11 to become a turd. Lol
Rating: 1 Votes
41 months ago
You used to be able to 3D Touch the Siri suggested contacts in iOs 9's proactive view to have shortcuts to FaceTime, email etc. The iOS 10 widget has no 3D Touch support. So it's a step backwards.

You can still 3D Touch the favourite contacts from the Phone app though.
Rating: 1 Votes
41 months ago

Does this then allow all these favourites through the DND feature regardless of the method of contact, or just favourites where phone is selected?

Depends on the setup of your DND, of course!

If you haven't checked out the supplementary new feature in the Contact app buried under the Ringtone toggle option named "Emergency Bypass", one can turn off "Favorites" in DND and still designate one or more people to get through by toggling on that Bypass for each relevant Contact.
Rating: 1 Votes
41 months ago
Does this then allow all these favourites through the DND feature regardless of the method of contact, or just favourites where phone is selected?
Rating: 1 Votes
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