How to clean up your contact list
Clean up duplicates, delete a contact with missing or outdated information and sync these changes between devices sounds difficult, but we are going to show you an easy way that won’t take hours of your time. You should only use one contact service to serve as your primary account. (heavy iPhone users should go through Apple, Android devotees should pick Google, and so on). Once you’ve selected a platform, use the tools below to organize and update your contacts. Be sure to read the final section of this blog to make sure your cleaned-up contacts will appear across all the platforms you use.
You can use Apple’s built-in Contacts app, which will sync your information across both platforms. When you’re on another type of device, you can still access your contacts through your web browser by visiting the iCloud site.
On iOS, you can edit an entry by selecting it and choosing Edit. The following screen allows you to add, remove, and change your contact information, or deleting that person entirely by tapping Delete Contact. You change how this information is sorted and displayed, by going to the iOS Settings app and choose Contacts from the list.
The macOS version has similar options. Open Contacts and select File > New Smart Group. Then pick your criteria: You can group people in the same category such as Friends, Acquaintances, Business partners, or people in the same city. On macOS, unlike on iOS, you can also find duplicate contacts. Select Card > Look for Duplicates to go through all your contacts list for overlapping entries. If the app finds any, it will ask you whether you want to merge them. You can also do this manually: Click on one contact, hold down Cmd and click on another, and then choose Card > Merge Selected Cards.
Because the macOS version has more options, we recommend that you manage your contacts on your computer rather than your phone, and then let these changes sync to the iOS app.
If you decided to use Google to keep your contacts up to date, you can access them online or through an official Android app. Alternatively, you can import your Google contacts into iOS: Go to iOS Settings > Accounts & Passwords > Add Account > Google.
Google Contacts’ features have a duplicate finder that is probably the most useful. To use it, visit the web interface, click Duplicates on the left side of the page, and then choose which duplicate contacts you’d like to combine and click the Merge button next to them. If the duplicate you’re considering doesn’t show up, then find any two or more contacts, check the boxes next to them, and click the Merge button in the top right corner.
Using the Android app is easier at managing your contacts. Hit the menu button on the top left, choose Suggestions, and Google will suggest duplicates to merge and out-of-date information you might want to update. It will also find people you’re often in touch with via phone and recommend that you add them as new contacts. If you prefer to deal with duplicates on your own, you can merge them manually. Long-press on one contact in the main list, tap on one or more others, hit the three vertical dots in the top right corner, and choose Merge from the menu that pops up. In addition, the Android app lets you organize your contacts more efficiently. Open Menu > Settings to sort contacts by first name or last name.
Microsoft doesn’t have a mobile operating system, so the changes you make to your Microsoft contacts will not affect your phone. However, contacts will sync between Windows and Outlook, whether you use Outlook online or as a computer app.
Start with the People interface. On Outlook.com, you can select it from the master menu on the left-hand side of the page. For any existing entry, the Edit contact button will give you access to all the fields on each card. To add or delete new contacts, use the options on the toolbar on top. The Outlook app, available for Windows and macOS, has a similar set of options. Right-click and choose Edit Contact to make changes to an individual card, or use the New Contact, New Contact Group, and Delete buttons, located on the ribbon menu at the top.
As far as automated cleanup options, Microsoft can detect potential duplicates for you to merge. On Outlook’s web interface, click Manage > Clean up contacts. On the next screen, select the contacts you want to merge from the list and then click Clean up to confirm your choice. Through the app, you don’t have automatic tools to merge or delete duplicate contacts, so you have to do this manually. First, select the contacts you want to merge from the master list. Then click the menu button under whichever contacts appear on the display and pick Link Contacts.
In addition, Windows 10 has a built-in People app, which is another place where you can edit your Microsoft contacts list. Select any of the entries, then Edit to make changes or Find contacts to combine to merge the contact with any other item in the list.
The best aspect of the People app is the way it lets you tidy the contacts interface. First, open the app and head to the settings page by clicking the cog icon in the lower left-hand corner. Here, you can sort contacts by first versus the last name, and hide those that are cluttering up the interface. To change which contacts get to show up on the screen, select Filter contact list.
The other organizational tool in Microsoft’s arsenal is the groups’ feature. The main benefit of doing this is that you can email everyone in a list at once. To make a new group of contacts, click New > Contact list, and a dialog box will pop up. This lets you give your list a name and add contacts to it.
Using multiple contacts apps
Not all of us use only one platform. It’s hard to keep your contacts list tidy when it’s spread across multiple accounts. However, the platforms try to help by letting you display contacts from multiple accounts on one screen.
For example, Apple lets you display your Google and Microsoft accounts on its contacts apps. On iOS, go to Settings > Accounts & Passwords > Add Account, and then hit either Google or Outlook.com. On macOS, open the Contacts app and choose Contacts > Add Account, followed by Google or Outlook.com. This lets you access and edit your Google or Microsoft contacts from Apple devices, and have the changes sync to the original accounts. However, it doesn’t merge these contacts with your Apple account, so you might end up with duplicates that you cannot merge. Plus, if you try to access your contacts through the iCloud website, only Apple contacts will show up.
Through Microsoft, the People app for Windows 10 also supports multiple accounts. Click the cog icon on the lower left, then Add an account, and choose either Google or iCloud. Like with Apple, the newly imported contacts appear alongside your existing ones, but they won’t get added to your official Microsoft contact list.
Google, doesn’t let you manage and sync your Apple or Microsoft contacts. However, you can import these contacts to turn them into Google ones—but any changes you make after that will not sync to the original accounts. For example, to add Apple contacts to your Google account, visit the iCloud Contacts website, click the cog icon on the lower left, and hit Select All. Click the cog icon again, followed Export vCard. This creates a file that Google can import: In either the app or the website, head to the main menu and choose Import, then pick the vCard file.
Until Next Time,