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If you see duplicate contacts after setting up iCloud Contacts

Symptoms

After you set up iCloud Contacts, you might see duplicated contacts on your iOS device, Mac, or PC.

 

Resolution

Find out if contacts are also duplicated on iCloud.com

First, check Contacts on iCloud.com to see if your contacts are also duplicated there. If they are, then contact iCloud Support for help.

If you see duplicate contacts only on your iOS device or computer but not on iCloud.com, follow the steps below.

Check your settings in iTunes and iCloud

You might see duplicate contacts if you use more than one method to keep your iCloud contacts up to date across your devices. Apple provides two methods: iTunes and iCloud. It's possible to use both methods if you’re using iTunes 10, or iTunes 11.2 and OS X Mavericks v10.9.3 or later.

If you’re using iTunes 10 or iTunes 11.2, check to see if iTunes is syncing contacts:

  1. Connect your iOS device to your computer via USB cable.
  2. Click the Devices button in the upper-right corner, then select the Info tab. If the Sync Address Book Contacts or the Sync Contacts checkbox is selected, then iTunes is set to sync your contacts.

Then check to see if iCloud is also set to keep contacts up to date:

  • iOS: Tap Settings > iCloud on your iOS device. If the Contacts checkbox is selected, then iCloud is set to keep contacts up to date.
  • OS X: Go to Apple menu () > System Preferences, then click iCloud. If the Contacts checkbox is selected, then iCloud is set to keep contacts up to date.
  • Windows: Open the iCloud Control Panel. If the "Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks" checkbox is selected, then iCloud is set to keep contacts up to date.

If iTunes and iCloud are both set to keep contacts up to date, consider disabling contact syncing in iTunes. Then, only iCloud will update your contacts.

  1. Connect your iOS device to your computer via USB cable.
  2. Click the Devices button in the upper-right corner, then select the Info tab.
  3. Deselect Sync Address Book Contacts or Sync Contacts.

If you want to continue using iTunes to update your contacts, disable iCloud Contacts:

iOS

  1. Tap Settings > iCloud on your iOS device.
  2. Deselect Contacts.
  3. When asked, tap Delete from My [device].

OS X

  1. Choose Apple menu () > System Preferences, then click iCloud.
  2. Deselect Contacts.
  3. When asked, click Delete from Mac.

Windows

If you want to use iTunes to update your contacts on your PC, you must disable automatic updates between Outlook and iCloud. In iCloud Control Panel, you can't disable only one service. Disabling contact updates will also disable mail, calendar, and reminders updates with Outlook.

  1. Open the iCloud Control Panel.
  2. Deselect “Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks,” then click Apply.

Resolve duplicate contacts

If you confirmed that your contacts are duplicated on a single service, use the following tools to remove the duplicate contacts.

Use Contacts or Address Book

If you're using OS X Lion or later, both Contacts and Address Book have a built-in tool that finds and merges duplicate contact information. Make a copy of your contacts before you use the Duplicates Tool. To effectively use the Look for Duplicates tool, you may need to run it a few times.

  1. Open Contacts or Address Book.
  2. From the Card menu, select Card > Look for Duplicates.
  3. Review the results, and click Merge when asked.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until no duplicates are found.
  5. After removing the duplicates, make another copy of your iCloud Contacts.

Use Outlook 2007 or later

If you're using Microsoft Outlook and have duplicates contacts, see these Microsoft articles for help:

This document will be updated as more information becomes available.
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Last Modified: Jul 11, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Jul 11, 2014
  • Article: TS4147
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