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How to remove duplicate contacts in Android

Duplicate contacts might not seem a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but they can make life inconvenient in any app where communicating with others is involved — you might end up sending a text to someone's old number or even messaging the wrong person altogether. We're here to help!

From Contacts in Android

The first place to start is the Contacts app in Android. Obviously this may vary depending on what your manufacturer of choice has decided to do with the Contacts app, but on stock Android you can tap on a name, then the three dots, and then hit delete. Alternatively, some versions allow this option via the edit icon (a pen symbol), and then the trash can to delete.


Linking contacts on Android 8.1 Oreo. / © NextPit (screenshot)

It may well be that you’ve got two contact entries for the same person (one with an email address and one with a mobile number for example). To find and merge them, just go to your contacts app, tap on the menu button (usually three vertical lines or three dots) and go to Suggestions. From there you can use the option Clean up duplicates, which will allow you to either merge contacts individually or merge all suggested ones. If you don’t seen the Clean up duplicates options, you don’t have any contacts that need linking. Keep in mind that you will not be able to merge contacts saved to different Google accounts.

If you’d rather merge contacts manually or you want to make sure the system is not mistakenly linking different contacts, you can do so by again accessing your Contacts app, tapping More (three dots), then Select and merging the contacts of your choices.

Most flavors of Android (Samsung Experience, EMUI, Sense and so on), have a similar feature or some other kind of tool for spotting and removing contacts. On a Samsung phone, for example, look for the link icon next to the Connected via label on contact pages to connect two contact cards together. On HTC, on the other hand, you can simply tap More and then Manage contacts to access a variety of options.

From Gmail on the web

Sometimes it’s best to manage your Google contacts from the web interface where you have a few more options to play around with. From Gmail, click on the drop-down menu to the top-left of the inbox, then choose Contacts from the list to see all of the people in your virtual address book.

androidpit duplicate contacts gmail

Merging contacts on the web. / © NextPit

Google has rolled out a new Contacts interface for the web, which you may or may not have yet, but the process is very similar. The moment you access the new Contacts page you will get a notification at the top of the screen, which should tell you how many duplicate contacts you have. You can simply click on it and proceed to merge or delete duplicates.

If you don’t see the notification, don’t worry – the option Duplicates can also be found the left side menu. Google looks for separate entries that share common details (like names or mobile phone numbers).

When you see the results appear, you can click Merge to join up a particular group of contact cards or Merge all to perform the procedure on all of them. Alternatively, you can manually select contacts from the main list using the tick boxes, then merge or delete them using the icons at the top.

Using a dedicated app

There are a number of apps around that will let you manage your contacts more easily on Android, so take your pick, but one of the best we’ve come across is called Simpler Merge Duplicates — it works in a similar way to the merge contacts tool that Google provides inside Gmail on the web.

androidpit duplicate contacts app

Simpler Merge Duplicates. / © NextPit

All you need to do is launch Simpler Merge Duplicates and the app scours your phone contacts and draws up a list of potential matches (based on both details and names). You then have the option to review them and choose the ones you want to go through with before confirming.

Merge Duplicate Contacts & Cleanup by Simpler

Install on Google Play

A lot of companies want to take full control over your contacts, syncing details from various different services (including Google) and including duplicate removal as one of the features. Take Merge+ for example, which is part of a bigger Contacts+ service for managing your address book.

A word of caution, however – many third-party apps require extensive permissions to clean up your contacts, including Google account credentials. Be careful which app you choose or avoid using one all together, if you’re a privacy-minded person.


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