How to Delete All Contacts on iPhone

When you scroll through your contacts looking for someone you want to contact, you can be overwhelmed with the number of phone numbers, emails, and names of people you no longer want to communicate with.

The early days of cell phones meant that your contacts were transferred from device to device during the upgrade process. With iCloud and email backups available, you can easily transfer contacts to each new device you get. While that's really handy, you end up with older contacts from the late 2000s. While those contacts won't harm your phone, it might be time to delete some content from your contacts list.

If you want to delete all your contacts from your phone, there's a pretty easy way to do it. If you want to choose the suitable ones, the process is a bit longer. 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 Your Contacts on iPhone

Step 1: Open the Settings app and scroll down to the Contacts tab, then tap this button.

Step 2: Tap Siri & Search then turn off “Contacts found in apps”.

Step 3: Return to the main Settings screen and scroll down to Passwords & Accounts. Select a non-iCloud account, such as Gmail or another.

Step 4: Slide the Contacts slider to the "Off" position. This will cause you to be prompted to delete all locally stored contacts on your phone.

Step 5: Once you select Remove from My iPhone, your contacts associated with that account will be deleted.

Step 6: Go back and do this for the different accounts on your phone and once done you should have no more contacts.

The good news is that it doesn't completely delete your contacts. Performing the tasks listed above simply removes them from your iPhone.

Another option to hide contacts (especially duplicates) is to go to your phone's Contacts app – it's not the calling app, iPhones have an app specifically for contacts. If you're having trouble finding it, swipe the home screen to the right and type "Contacts" in the search bar at the top.

Once you have opened this app, you can tap on Groups located at the top right. This list shows you which backup source displays contacts on your phone.

To hide contacts from a certain source, just tap on it so that the blue tick disappears. Once you return to your contact list, you'll notice that some names and phone numbers no longer clog up your phone.

Deleting selected contacts

Although it's easier from iCloud, it can also be done on your iPhone. Using your iPhone, you can click on each contact and then press the Edit button located at the top right of the screen. Scroll down this page and click on "Delete contact" in red. Confirm and that person will be gone.

It's an incredibly long process if you have more than a few contacts to purge. The easiest method is to log into iCloud on a computer and highlight multiple contacts at once.

Delete contacts using a desktop

You can easily delete all contacts using a desktop computer. Go to the iCloud website and sign in with your iCloud account. Once you have passed the two-factor authentication, you can open the Contacts menu on the iCloud website. There are several things you can do to delete your contacts.

If you hold down the control button and click on several different people in your contact list, you can delete them in bulk. However, if you want to delete them all, you can simultaneously press the control and the A button to select them all at once.

Once you've selected them all, you can tap the little cog at the bottom left of the screen. From there, click on the delete option to delete the ones you have selected. Make sure you really want them all deleted, because once you delete all the contacts, you can't reverse the decision.

Editing your contacts

When a friend or acquaintance gets a new phone number, it can be really easy to just text them. From there, you can click on the "i" surrounded by a circle and add a new contact. Eventually, you'll have so many duplicates that you won't know which is the most updated.

To edit and update your contact's information, follow these steps to prevent your journal from becoming too confusing or cluttered:

  1. Go to the phone app on your iPhone and select the middle option for Contacts
  2. Tap "Edit" in the top right corner
  3. Tap the plus sign surrounded by a green bubble ('add phone' will be next to it because you can add multiple phone numbers for one person)
  4. Enter the new phone number
  5. Tap the minus symbol in a red bubble to delete the old phone number – this also works with emails

Preventing your contact log from filling up will help you keep it organized over time. When backing up and restoring your phone, you can go to settings and choose the account you want to set as the default account for contacts.

Similar to the instructions above, go to contacts in settings and scroll down until you see "Default account". Choose whether you want to keep your friends' phone numbers in iCloud or in an email account.

Following these steps can save you headaches for years to come.

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