How To Delete All Contacts on the iPhone [April 2020]
When you’re scrolling through your contacts looking for one person you’d like to reach out to, you may become overwhelmed by the number of phone numbers, emails, and names of people who you no longer wish to communicate with.
The early days of cell phones meant having your contacts transferred from device to device during the upgrade process. With iCloud and email backups available you can easily transfer contacts to every new device you get. While this is really convenient, you wind up with older contacts from the late 2000s. Although these contacts aren’t doing your phone any harm, it may be time to purge some content from your Contacts list.
If you’d like to delete all of your contacts from your phone there’s a fairly simple way to do this. If you’d like to pick and choose which ones go it’s a little more of a lengthy process. To save you time, we can show you how to delete your entire contact list (or in some cases hide multiple contacts).
How To Delete All of Your Contacts on the iPhone
Step 1: Open the Settings App and scroll down to the Contacts tab and then tap that button.
Step 2: Tap on Siri & Search then toggle the “Contacts Found in Apps” to the off position.
Step 3: Go back to the main screen of Settings and scroll up to Passwords & Accounts. Select a non-iCloud account, such as Gmail or another one.
Step 4: Slide the Contacts slider to the “Off” position. Doing this will lead you to be prompted to delete all of the contacts that are stored locally on your phone.
Step 5: Once you select the Delete From My iPhone, your contacts associated with that account will be deleted.
Step 6: Go back and do this for the various different Accounts on your phone and once you did that, you shouldn’t have any contacts left.
The good news here is this doesn’t actually delete your contacts completely. Performing the above-listed tasks simply removes them from your iPhone.
Another option for hiding contacts (especially duplicates) is by going into the Contacts application on your phone – this is not the calling app, iPhones have an application specifically dedicated to Contacts. If you have trouble finding it swipe from the home screen to the right and type “Contacts” in the search bar at the top.
Once you open this application you can tap on Groups located at the top-right. This list shows you which backup source is showing contacts on your phone.
To hide contacts from a certain source, simply tap on it so that the blue checkmark goes away. Once you go back to your contact list you’ll notice some of the names and phone numbers are no longer clogging up your phone.
Deleting Select Contacts
Although this is easier from the iCloud, it can be performed on your iPhone too. Using your iPhone you can click on each contact, then tap on the Edit button located at the top-right of the screen. Scroll all the way down this page and click on “Delete Contact” in red. Confirm and that individual will be gone.
This is an incredibly lengthy process if you have more than a few contacts to purge. The simpler method is to log into iCloud on a computer and highlight multiple contacts at once.
Remove Contacts Using a Desktop
You can delete all contacts easily using a desktop. Go to the iCloud website and sign in with your iCloud account. Once you’ve passed the two-factor authentication you can open the Contacts menu on the iCloud website. There are a few things you can do in terms of how you want to delete your contacts.
If you hold the control button and click multiple different people in your contact list, you will be able to bulk delete them. However, if you want to delete them all, you can press control and the A button simultaneously to select them all at one time.
Once you have them all selected, you can hit the little cog on the bottom-left of the screen. From here, click on the delete option to remove the ones you’ve selected. Make sure that you really want them all deleted, as once you delete all the contacts, you will not be able to reverse the decision.
Editing Your Contacts
When a friend or acquaintance gets a new phone number it may be super easy to just have them send you a text. From there you can click on the “i” with a circle around it and add a new contact. Eventually, you’ll have so many duplicates you won’t know which one is the most updated one.
To edit and update your contact’s information follow these steps to keep your log from becoming overwhelmingly confusing or cluttered:
- Go to the phone app on your iPhone and select the middle option for Contacts
- Tap ‘Edit’ in the top right-hand corner
- Tap the plus sign that is surrounded by a green bubble (‘add phone’ will be next to it because you can add multiple phone numbers for one person)
- Enter the new phone number
- Tap the minus symbol in a red bubble to delete the old phone number – this also works with emails
Keeping your contacts log from filling up will help you to keep it organized over time. When backing up and restoring your phone you can go to the settings and choose which account you’d like to set as the default for contacts.
Similar to the instructions above go to contacts in the settings and scroll down until you see “Default Account.” Choose whether you’d like to keep your friends’ phone numbers in the iCloud or in an email account.
Following these steps may save you from a headache years from now.