A smartphone or tablet makes it much simpler to manage your contact list than a paper address book, but that’s not to say they’re completely foolproof. It’s all too easy to save someone’s telephone number without realising they’re already a contact, for example, and smartphones have an annoying habit of pulling contact information from any online accounts you use and not combining them correctly.

Sorting it out is straightforward. You just need a quiet afternoon to sift through your contacts and edit the spurious entries manually, though this isn’t a particularly efficient use of your time. Alternatively, you can automate the process with a free app — and that’s what we’re covering here.


iPhone and iPad (iOS)

Step 1: Install Cleanup Duplicate Contacts

For an iPad or iPhone, start by downloading the free Cleanup Duplicate Contacts app from the iTunes Store.

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Step 2: Scan your contacts list

Launch the app and tap the Analyze button to start the scan of your contacts list — you may need to grant the app access to your contacts at this point, but don’t allow it to send you any notifications.

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Step 3: Review the results

When the scan is complete, you’ll see a summary of the results, including the number of full and partial duplicates it found. Tap Review Duplicates to double-check them.

Duplicate contacts iOS 03

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Step 4: Double-check the duplicates

By default, Cleanup Duplicate Contacts uses matching information in different contacts to determine if they’re a duplicate, so if you have a company and an employee at that company in your contacts, for example, and both have the same email address, they will be identified as a duplicate.

It’s up to you to decide if this and similar contacts are actually duplicates, so tap the > symbol to the right of each contact on this page to review the contacts’ information.

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Step 5: Merge duplicate contacts

If the contacts are true duplicates, leave them selected, else tap the arrow to their left to deselect them and prevent them from being merged. Tap Merge at the top-right of the app to continue.

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Step 6: Quit the app

When the merge is complete, tap No, Thanks to skip the CircleBack app offer and you’ll be returned to the main menu. You can analyse your contacts again from here if you wish, else the de-duplication is complete and you can quit the app.

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Step 1: Install Merge +

The process is much the same on an Android smartphone or tablet like the Tesco Hudl — you just need a different app. Install Merge + from the Google play store. The app will request access to your contacts as part of the installation.

Duplicate contacts Android 01

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Step 2: Scan your contacts list

Launch the app, tap Find duplicates and wait while it analyses your contacts.

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Step 3: Review the results & merge duplicates

The app should then show a list of duplicate contacts — if not, pull down the Android notification bar from the top of the screen and tap the Merge + results entry that appears there.

You’ll now need to review the identified duplicates to check that they are true duplicates — not just different contacts with similar information. Tap each in turn to see the information they share, then tap the box next to each one to select it. When you’re ready to merge the selected contacts, tap Merge at the bottom of the screen.

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Step 4: Quit the app

Merge + will tell you when the merge is complete, but it won’t display your new contacts list, so quit the app and open your smartphone or tablet’s contacts app to view them. 

Are there any techniques you use to deal with duplicate contacts? Let us know in the Comments box below.