Removing duplicate contacts from an Android phone

Do you need to cleanup your duplicate contacts? Are you dreading the idea of going through your contact list and deleting them one at a time? Don’t worry there is hope. In fact chances are you can remove and cleanup all of your duplicate contacts in a matter of seconds!

Contacts can add up quick and if you have doubles or triple of those contacts your address book can be a really long one. Duplicate contacts on an android phone love to pop up after performing a master reset or importing contacts from another source.

Androids actually have A LOT of backups built in to make sure that you don’t lose your information should anything undesired ever happen to your device. Be grateful! It’s much better to clean up duplicate contacts then to be missing contacts.

Luckily there are a few ways to remove the duplicate contacts from your android.

Showing contacts from a single source

The best way to cleanup your contacts is to make sure that they are not syncing from multiple sources. If you just synced your phone and it synced contacts that were saved on your SIM Card, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Y-mail, Hotmail, Exchange ActiveSync, an Address book built in by your service provider, your SD card (Memory Card), etc. then you might have a ton of duplicate contacts, one for each account!

So what we simply need to do is tell your phone to only show contacts from a single account or source.

Some phones make this easy you just have to know where to look.

Try this…

From the home screen, tap Apps > People/Contacts (it might say People or it might say Contacts depending on your phones manufacturer), while looking at your contact list tap the Menu key > select Contacts to display. Under Contacts to display, select the account(s) which contain the contacts you wish to display or deselect the account(s) that you do not want contacts displayed from.

Note: You might have to scroll down once you tap on your menu key, the “Contacts to display” option might not be visible unless you scroll down.

This is the most common method used to locate an Android phones display options but your phone might be a little different, so you might need to snoop around in your phones settings to try to locate the right display options.

This is the BEST way to remove duplicates because you don’t delete anything, and you get to keep backups of your contacts. All of your contacts remain on your phone and on their respective accounts it just doesn’t show them.

There’s an App for that

As usual the all powerful Android and its amazing Play Store has an app for almost anything and this situation is no exception.

If you choose, you can most certainly look for an application on Google’s Play Store that will assist in managing your contacts.

Access your Apps > Play Store > Search (tap the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of the screen) > Type in “Duplicated Contacts” into the search field; Press the Enter/Search icon in the bottom right of your keyboard. Read the reviews of the applications available, pick one, and enjoy.

A word of caution though, you might be trusting your contacts to an application and its developer so just be aware and take that into consideration, if you can use the Contacts to Display option mentioned earlier in this article to accomplish your goals then I recommend you stick with that method instead of an application, but I digress.

Delete your duplicate contacts one at a time

Not the most preferred method by any means, and if you’re here then chances are you didn’t want to go through the painstaking process of removing every duplicate contact manually. But this option is most certainly available.


I hope you enjoyed the article and remember that it’s always better to have duplicate contacts than missing contacts on your phone.

If you have any questions or would like to share another method that you used to remove duplicate contacts from your android phone then don’t hesitate to leave it in a comment below. Enjoy and have a fantastic day.

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17 thoughts on “Removing duplicate contacts from an Android phone”

    1. Selecting one source display…
      Selecting one source display doesn’t ACTUALLY remove the contacts, it just “hides” them and still takes up memory.

  1. Duplicate Contacts
    The problem is that although the contacts are no longer displayed they still show up when the magnifying glass search is used to find a contact by name. Am I missing something?

    1. Sounds like the contacts still exist elsewhere

      Hi Paul,

      It sounds like the contact(s) still exist elsewhere. If you have a backup contact list on your SIM for example and of course the original on your cell phone then performing a search might actually search every location where the contact(s) may exist or be available (Phone, SIM, Email accounts, Social sites, etc) and then it may show every result for any contact that falls into the search criteria. Hard to say for certain but from your description that might be what is happening.

      If you do a search does your phone allow you to press down on one of the duplicates and then delete it? If so you might be able to do some cleaning that way BUT you would be removing them from the original source so make sure to keep that in mind. It could also be that your phone might have had two different contacts created under the same name… which you could manually remove or merge together as well.

      1. Duplicate Contacts

        Further to my earlier comment, my phone is an Alcatel One Touch 6040A with Firmware 4.2.2.  When I select the contacts to display the list is limited to my desired gmail contacts but when I search the list includes additional duplicate contacts that are list under “Phone Contacts”.  I’m sure these are the problem but I don’t know how to delete in bulk.  All of the duplicates have the email address and in some cases a second duplicate with an email address and physical address but not the phone numbers which seems ironical for “Phone Contacts”

        How do I delete the Phone contacts in bulk?

        1. Purge from sync location or only display contacts with numbers…

          Hi Paul welcome back,

          I unfortunately do not have an Alcatel One Touch 6040A with Firmware 4.2.2 so I cannot guarantee that the following advice will be the exact same on your smartphone but using my Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.2.2 as a reference you shouldn’t have too much trouble if you choose to do it this way. The steps on each phone should be pretty similar to one another seeing as they are both running on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

          Before I get into how you might be able to select all of your duplicates in order to delete them all at once I want to make another suggestion first.

          When I synced my Microsoft email accounts (an MSN and Hotmail) to my cell phone it showed a lot of contacts that I found to be unnecessary and many of them only had an email or a name, or address, or some other equally irrelevant piece of information that I would never need to access on my smartphone. So what I did was I accessed my cell phones Contact list, tapped the Menu key, accessed the Settings, and made sure that the “Only contacts with phones – Only display contacts that have phone numbers” was selected and had a check mark. Afterwards I went back to my contact list and it was a lot cleaner and certainly more manageable.

          So definitely look for that feature on your Android as you mentioned a lot of your duplicate contacts only showed an email address or physical address but not the phone numbers and you won’t have to purge it from the original source which might cause problems later…

          If you still want to delete the entire list of contacts stored in a specific location then you can open your Contacts list and then press the menu key to open additional options, you can then select the “Contacts to display” option and select the list that you want to clear. So if your search results are finding contacts in your “Device” you can choose to display contacts from your “Device” only. Go back to your contacts list, verify that it’s showing contacts only saved to your “Device” then tap the menu key, select Delete, Select All, Delete, and your done. Just make sure that you don’t have any contacts which are only saved to the Device storage when selecting all or that contact will be erased. You could select all and then deselect the contact(s) that you want to keep before pressing delete as well.

          Once you get your contacts organized don’t forget to create a backup of your updated address book to your SD card just in case.

  2. Unintentional merged contacts
    My issue is similar to the above fellow’s. Except that all my duplicates are merged. I made the mistake of syncing and that was the result. I went to the display phone only option and though it appears on the surface to be cleaned up, it still has all those extra numbers merged.
    I have like 200 or so real numbers but it gives me something like 450 when I pull from sd card backup.
    How do I get rid of all these merged duplicates?

  3. worked like a charm 007
    worked like a charm 007 thank you. that has been driving me crazy for months they are gone thank you

  4. Here’s another handy process…
    Here’s another handy process.
    Phone book > contacts to display > customize > if you have an email account visible, open it and then select/tick “started in android” > then select ok > for other contacts in the “define custom view option”, open them and deselect any box that is ticked. Select ok and you should be good.

    1. Thank you for your contribution

      Thank you for contributing to the site Dane. I am sure there are many people who will find your advice helpful when trying to clean up duplicate contacts on their cell phone.

      Thanks again, keep up the good work.

  5. Duplicate contacts due to multiple source synchs
    Yeah, but if you only show contacts from a single source, then you will be missing all the un-duplicated sources! I have many contacts that have 20+ instances, and it’s absolutely maddening to poke through them all and find the one with the phone number, or the street address. But if I select one source, say, google contacts, or facebook, then there are whole letters of the alphabet missing from my contact list. This is not a viable solution. Arrgh.

  6. Enable built in application on an Alcatel OneTouch smartphone
    Hi, I have made the mistake of disabling some built-in applications on my smartphone (an Alcatel One Touch). Like for example, the “Contacts Storage” application. These applications don’t give me the opportunity to “enable” them and I don’t find them on the Google Play, they seem to be apps which were built in and only Alcatel has them. Any idea of how I can enable them? Right now I can’t access my contacts or check my e-mail or the WhatsApp application.

    Thanks so much in advanced.


    1. Trying to fix the Contact Storage and other apps on your phone

      Hi Nidal,

      If you had the opportunity to disabling some of the pre-built-in applications that originally came with your smartphone from the manufacture then it sounds like you have rooted your Alcatel OneTouch as those applications are not typically available to tinker with right out of the box. When tinkering with such things you must be extra cautious because it can lead to all kinds of unpleasant results… including the situation you are currently in. That being said, here is what I recommend that you do…

      If enabling the applications manually is not possible you could try to create a backup of the information that you do have access to and then manually flash a fresh copy of your phones software back to the phone using a tool like ODIN. This should allow you to start fresh again. The only problem is that this will wipe everything from the phone. After the installation you can try to restore all of your backed up information and then your smartphone and its contacts and applications should work properly again.

  7. It works!!
    Thanks to the team!! Really you guys saved me a day of removing duplicate contacts from my mobile phone. Top stuff!

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