Delete a contact on an Apple iPhone

Edited by Cave Man


A lot of times we get calls from people that we barely know and we save their number just in case we might need it.

Other times we save contacts that we think we might use later on, like the number of a florist or other service. Then we don't use them or you may use them only once. You may even have contact numbers of people you have lost touch with and know you won't contact them again. Every now and then you may want to clean up your contacts list.

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If you are an iPhone owner and you are having trouble deleting a contact on your iPhone, then the following steps will guide you. And for extra safety, we will be showing you the way to backup and restore your iPhone contacts, as well. Here are the steps required to delete a contact from your contacts list on your Apple iPhone.

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Backup Your iPhone

  1. 1
    Connect your iPhone with the USB cable to your computer, or connect wirelessly.
    When you connect your device to the computer, iTunes will start. If it doesn't, then start it manually by clicking on the program's icon.
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  2. 2
    In the sidebar of iTunes, you will find your iPhone appears under Devices.
    You will click on your iPhone to show it on iTunes.
    Iphone backup.jpg
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  3. 3
    In the Summary tab you will find the backups.
    All you will have to do is choose whether you want to save your backup on "iCloud" or on "This Computer". After you choose between them, you will click "Back Up Now".
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  4. 4
    Leave your device connected to the computer while you back it up.
    After it is done with the backup process, you can unplug it from the computer, and use it.
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Delete a Contact on your iPhone

  1. 1
    Unlock your iPhone, and on your iPhone's home screen tap on the Phone icon.
    In some older iOS versions, you will find the Contacts icon directly on the home screen.
    Iphone homescreen.png
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  2. 2
    After you click on the Phone icon, you will find different tabs inside on the bottom.
    You will find the Contacts icon there, click on it to access your contacts list.
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  3. 3
    Search your contacts list to locate the contact you would like to delete.
    You can also go through your contacts list for contacts you don't need, and feel like deleting.
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  4. 4
    Tap on the contact's name.
    After you click on the contact that you wish to delete, their contact information - that you saved - will now appear in details.
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  5. 5
    On your iPhone's contact card, you will find the Edit button at the top right corner of the screen.
    Click on the Edit button, it will give you access to editing the name, number, or information.
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  6. 6
    Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.
    Scroll down the screen, skipping all the fields in the contact's card, till you reach the Delete Contact button.
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  7. 7
    Tap the red Delete Contact button.
    This is how you will get rid of a contact's card on your contacts list.
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  8. 8
    Tap on Delete Contact.
    When you click on delete, a confirmation dialogue will appear, giving you the choice of confirming deletion or canceling the process to keep the number. So to delete the contact, you will choose the red Delete Contact button again.
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  9. 9
    Your contact will now be deleted from your iPhone.
    It will delete the contact's card in a second.
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Restore Deleted Contacts on Your iPhone

If you find yourself regretting a contact's deletion or that you deleted a contact by mistake from your device, then it would be a good thing to restore the contact card or contacts.

  1. 1
    This is what you can do if you haven't synced your iPhone - after deleting the contact - with iCloud or the Contacts app in OSX.
    You will find the contact that you deleted in the Address Book in your OSX, or in iCloud on the web, and to get the contact back, you will:
    1. Launch the Contacts App or iCloud on the web, and search for the contact you have deleted.
    2. Open the contact's card, and click on the sharing button arrow, and select Email Card, which will open the mail app window with the attachment of the contact's vCard.
    3. Email the contact's vCard to yourself.
    4. Open your mail app on the iPhone itself, then select the vCard attachment, and click on Create New Contact.
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  2. 2
    Another way to try is by Re-Syncing your contacts from iCloud.
    Though this way is simple and easy, you have to know that this may not work because your iPhone could have automatically synced with iCloud after the contact's deletion. This means it could have updated your iCloud contact's list by removing the contacts you removed from your device, and if it worked, it will restore all the deleted contacts. You will do this Re-Syncing by:  
    1. Open your Settings menu on your iPhone, and select iCloud. You should be signed in to your iCloud account to show you the apps you access from contacts, calendars, and so on.
    2. Tap the Contacts button to switch it off, and it will show you a dialogue that asks you about previously synced iCloud contacts, so you will choose Keep on My iPhone.
    3. Switch the Contacts back on, and a dialogue will show up, asking you whether to Merge or Cancel, so you will click on Merge, and it will merge the contacts on your iCloud account with the ones on your iPhone. This way you may restore the contacts you have deleted.
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  3. 3
    If all else fails, then using an iTunes Backup to Restore is the way.
    If you back up your device on a regular basis, then you will be able to restore the deleted contacts easily. If you have backed up your iPhone after deleting the contacts, then you can just restore from an older backup version that was before the deletion. All you will need to do to is:  
    1. Connect your iPhone to your computer, and open iTunes.
    2. Select your iPhone, and open the Summary tab.
    3. Click on Restore from Backup, and choose the latest backup or the one prior to deletion.
    4. Your iPhone will now restore, it may take a while, so keep it connected to the computer, and when restoring is done, your iPhone will reboot and all of your contacts will be restored.
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  • It is better that you back up your iPhone on the computer or iCloud first, in case you accidentally delete a contact, or need the number you deleted again, because the backup will help you restore the contact from your computer or your iCloud account.
  • You can use an app that deletes multiple contacts at the same time; just search for an app and you will find free apps at Apple's app store that could do such tasks.
  • You can delete contacts using your iCloud Address Book, by pressing Ctrl and clicking on the names you want to delete, if you want to delete more than one contact. Then click on the Edit menu and press "Delete cards" (if you are using Mac), or click on "Actions", then "Menu", and then press "Delete Contact" (if you are using Windows), or just click on the delete button on your keyboard.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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