Syncing your Google account to a device can mess up your contact list if you’re not careful. Adding an extra SIM card may also do the same, whether it’s an eSIM-compatible phone or a regular one. Other times, you forget that you stored someone’s digits on your phone and then do it again. Any of these actions causes contacts to appear more than once. While duplicate contacts don’t pose a serious threat, they can delay sending a message or making phone calls. You’ll have to open each occurrence to be sure you have the correct number.
One quick solution is to merge them so that the repeated figures disappear, and you’re left with one. This trick is convenient compared to deleting them individually. If you want to unclutter your contact list and make communication easier, here’s how.
Duplicate contacts appear for numerous reasons, including the following:
- You saved the same number twice on one phone.
- You synced a Google account with your device, causing the contacts to appear alongside the ones you entered manually.
- You imported contacts as a CSV file to your device multiple times.
- You added another SIM card with the same contact stored on it.
Duplicate contacts may share the same name with their clones or the same phone number under different names. You could delete the copies individually, but it’s time-consuming. You want to open each contact and confirm that you’re removing the right one. Otherwise, multi-selecting them means accidentally erasing essential contacts.
A better solution is to merge them so that the multiple occurrences appear under one name. The latest Android devices have this feature in the preinstalled phone or contacts apps, and you can use it to clean up digits instantly.
Use the Merge and fix tool on the Google Contacts app to clean up duplicate numbers. It detects similar digits occurring more than once and joins them. But if you stored different numbers under the same name, it doesn’t find them. Also, the app doesn’t merge contacts existing on separate Google accounts. So, if you saved an “Anna” in one account and the same contact in another account, you can’t bring them together.
Contacts is preinstalled on most Android phones, but you can get it on Play Store or use the web version if it’s not on your device. The website is convenient if you don’t plan to use the app often. When you accidentally merge the wrong contacts, don’t panic. The app allows you to undo any changes from the website within 30 days.
The Samsung Phone app has a similar feature for combining contacts and more functionality. You can merge contacts that share the same name, email address, or phone number. But once it’s done, there’s no going back. Samsung designed the app exclusively for Galaxy devices, so it’s already your default dialer app. Third-party devices can’t get it on the Play Store and must use alternative apps.
If you own a Samsung, here’s how to use the Phone app to join duplicate contacts:
- Enter the Contacts menu.
- Tap the three-dot icon in the upper-right corner.
- Select Manage contacts.
- Select Merge contacts.
- Choose the contacts you want to combine from under the Number, Email, and Name sections.
- Select the default contact. It appears first when you open your Contacts list.
- Tap the information icon to see a preview of the merged contact.
- Tap Merge to complete the process.
Google Sheets is known for making data entry easier, but it can be more than that if you let it. One of its many tricks is scanning your data for duplicates and automatically removing them rather than merging them. It’s a longer process than the steps mentioned above, although it’s worth considering. Since Google Contacts can’t scan for duplicates based on names and Samsung Phone isn’t accessible to third-party devices, Sheets will help you remove them without limitations.
But we don’t expect you to type your contacts into a spreadsheet. Download an add-on from the Google Workplace Marketplace, which you’ll use to import your Google contacts. Then, use the built-in tool to remove duplicates from your spreadsheet. Follow the steps below to get started:
If you attempt this procedure, delete your existing contacts first. Otherwise, you’ll create more duplicates. You won’t lose your contacts permanently, as Google Contacts allows you to undo any changes within 30 days.
Import contacts and remove duplicates on the Google Sheets web app
- Create a new spreadsheet on sheets.google.com.
- Go to Extensions > Add-ons > Get add-ons.
- Search for Import Contacts.
- Install the add-on from Quicklution.
- Return to your spreadsheet. Then tap the installed add-on in the right sidebar.
- Select the attributes you want to import. For example, First Name, Phone, address, and more.
- Click Import to add your contacts to the spreadsheet.
- Click the column where the data ends, then press Ctrl+A on your keyboard to highlight the filled cells.
- Go to Data > Data Clean-up > Remove duplicates.
- Confirm the columns you want Sheets to scan.
- Click Remove duplicates.
When you’ve successfully erased duplicates from your contacts, use the following steps to download them to Google Contacts.
Export contacts from Sheets to Google Contacts
- Go to Files > Download.
- Select Comma Separated Values (CSV).
- Choose a location to save the file on your computer.
- Open another browser tab and visit contacts.google.com.
- Go to Import > Select file.
- Select the CSV file you downloaded earlier from your computer.
- Click Import to add your contacts back.
Once you’ve completed the steps, the changes reflect on the Google Contacts app on your phone. You’ll see these changes on the app if you linked your Google account to your Samsung phone.
The thought of deleting duplicate contacts one by one is demotivating. Plus, you could mistakenly erase an important contact from your phone. However, most Android phones collect them in a Trash folder, and you have 30 days to make a recovery attempt. If you synced your contacts with your Google account, you can retrieve them regardless of the app you deleted them from. So, if you lost them on the Contacts app, you can use the web version or your phone settings menu to get them back.