Over time, your iPhone’s contact list can get rather extensive. Before you know it, you’re scrolling forever through a multitude of people you really never call or text. The list gets even longer when you add other accounts to the device, like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.
In this guide, we show you how to delete contacts on an iPhone. Removing a single contact is easy, but ridding yourself of multiple contacts requires a trip online or a third-party app. We serve up four ways to trim that contact list for 2021.
Delete a single contact
If you need to delete one or two contacts, this is the best route. Unfortunately, you can’t delete more than one contact at a time. Skip to the next section if you need to delete a handful of contacts.
Step 1: Tap to open the Contacts app. Alternatively, you can access your contacts in the Phone app by tapping the Contacts tab at the bottom.
Step 2: Tap on the contact you want to delete.
Step 3: Tap Edit displayed in the top right corner.
Step 4: Scroll down and tap Delete Contact.
Step 5: Tap the Delete Contact pop-up balloon to confirm.
Step 6: Repeat these steps for the next contact.
Delete multiple contacts at once
Because the Contacts app doesn’t provide the means to delete multiple contacts at once, you’ll need to open a desktop browser (not mobile) and visit the iCloud website. Apple provides a tool to delete multiple contacts at once, but it’s somewhat hidden.
Step 1: Go to iCloud.com in a desktop web browser and log in using your Apple ID credentials.
Step 2: Click to open the Contacts web app.
Step 3: Press and hold the Ctrl key and click on all the contacts you want to delete. They should all appear in the panel to the right.
Step 4: Click on the gear icon in the bottom left corner. This opens the Settings menu.
Step 5: Select Delete on the pop-up menu.
Step 6: Select Delete again in the pop-up window, confirming your action.
Remove a specific account’s contact list
One of the drawbacks of adding multiple accounts to your iPhone, like Gmail and Yahoo, is that their contact lists merge together in the Contacts app. The result is one long list that may have multiple entries of the same contact. To reduce this list and purge those unwanted entries, you can disable contact synchronization for each account.
Step 1: Tap to open Settings.
Step 2: Scroll down and tap Contacts.
Step 3: Tap Accounts on the following screen.
Step 4: Select an Account.
Step 5: Tap the toggle next to Contacts to remove that account’s list of contacts from your iPhone.
Note: For contacts in Apple’s cloud, you’ll need to tap iCloud followed by iCloud again to access the Contacts toggle.
Use the third-party Groups app
If you’d rather not hassle with Apple’s iCloud website or disable individual accounts, there’s a third-party app that makes the process of deleting multiple contacts easy. It’s free to use, but you’ll need to pay $10 to unlock all the features and disable the ads.
Step 1: Install the Groups app from the App Store.
Step 2: Allow Groups to access your contacts.
Step 3: Tap on All Contacts displayed at the top.
Step 4: Tap on the Circle next to each contact you want to delete. This circle will turn red with a white checkmark.
Step 5: Tap Choose Action listed at the top.
Step 6: Tap Delete Contacts on the drop-down menu.
Step 7: Tap Remove from My iPhone in the pop-up window to confirm.