How to Merge and Remove Duplicate Contacts in macOS and iCloud

If you've been maintaining and migrating the same Contacts list across Macs over the years then you've probably come across your fair share of duplicate contact cards. They can also appear seemingly out of nowhere after setting up iCloud Contacts on your Mac for the first time.

Unless you intentionally keep certain information for the same contact separated out for whatever reason, duplicate cards will add nothing but irritation to your day, so here we're going to show you how to merge and/or remove them, whether you're sat at your Mac or not.

How to Merge and Remove Duplicate Contacts on your Mac


As with any computer procedure that involves deleting data, make sure you have a backup of your system before following these steps.

  1. Launch the Contacts app on your Mac (found in Applications/Contacts).

  2. In the Groups pane on the left, make sure All Contacts is selected at the top of the list. (If the Groups view is hidden, select the menu bar option View -> Show Groups to reveal it.)
  3. From the menu bar, select Card -> Look for Duplicates....

  4. A dropdown dialog will appear telling you how many duplicate cards were found that either have the same name but contain different information, or have both the same name and the same information. To merge the duplicate cards and information, click the Merge button.

How to Remove Duplicate iCloud Contacts on PC and Mac


If you don't have access to your Mac you can remotely delete duplicate entries in your Contacts list in the following way. Oddly, there's no way to select multiple contacts on an iPhone or iPad running iOS 11, so this manual method is the best workaround, although bear in mind it only applies to contacts synced to iCloud.

  1. Launch a web browser on your device or computer.
  2. Navigate to icloud.com.
  3. Sign in using your iCloud credentials.
  4. Click Contacts.

  5. Select All Contacts in the upper left corner of the screen.
  6. Hold down the Command (⌘) key and manually click the duplicate cards you want to delete.

  7. Click the cog icon in the lower left corner and select Delete from the popup menu.
  8. Confirm you want to remove the selected contacts by clicking the Delete option in the dialog pane.


Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra


Top Rated Comments

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8 months ago

The last time I did that, I ended up losing some of my contacts permanently.

File>Export>Contacts Archive
Rating: 6 Votes
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8 months ago
So is there no way to check the duplicates before you allow them to be merged, or select which ones you want to be merged?
Rating: 5 Votes
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8 months ago
FullContact ('http://FullContact') is a nice service to get rid of duplicates and get all your address books in sync. I use it daily and don't have any duplicates in my contacts anymore.
Rating: 3 Votes
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8 months ago
This should be automatic. It’s a bug.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
4 weeks ago

...back in the day I used to have 2 giant Rolodex's - and it was quite a job keeping those updated - or even figuring out where I put the contact info - company or contact name? - lol


:)

Back in the day, Apple used to allow us to connect and manually sync...accurately. Nowadays, their "support" can't even do anything other than tell you they are a "senior advisor" over and over. :rolleyes::mad:
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

The last time I did that, I ended up losing some of my contacts permanently.


You can roll back your contacts to an earlier date on iCloud.com
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
16 weeks ago

[doublepost=1519288550][/doublepost]I use the iOS app OneContact. It's simple and works perfectly well for me. And it is even free.


FullContact ('http://FullContact') is a nice service to get rid of duplicates and get all your address books in sync. I use it daily and don't have any duplicates in my contacts anymore.


I've posed the following scenario to FullContact Support for over the past 1.5 months. 45 messages later, and they still cannot answer it -- half the time saying they CAN do this (sometimes via their paid subscription), and the other half saying they cannot:

"I have a Mac, and iPad, and an iPhone. I am syncing all three device Contacts through iCloud. All three devices are showing a different number of contacts. I need them to sync accurately so that no matter which device I look at, I will see exactly the same number of contacts with exactly the same information — the definition of synchronization. The contacts are also broken into groups: personal, work, etc. these groups also need to be synced accurately."

Not only did iCloud duplicate contacts, it also merged contacts that weren't even remotely similar (i.e. Apple Corporate details merged with a pet store). :mad: Since the MobileMe syncing fiasco, Apple has been NOTORIOUSLY bad at syncing and should not even attempt it.

If anyone can assist with a solution, greatly appreciated.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

This should be automatic. It’s a bug.

"It just works"
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago
The last time I did that, I ended up losing some of my contacts permanently.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago
WARNING! Hey all, be careful with this. Merging duplicates in Mac Contacts used to (and randomly still does) lose data when each record's contact fields had the same label but different data (two "mobile" numbers or "home" emails) it would just merge the records into one record and it wasn't obvious which data (number/email) was saved (unless you tracked before and after record by record).
Rating: 2 Votes
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