How to delete multiple contacts at once from your iPhone

Apple press shot of a contacts screen on a Macbook and an iphone
(Image credit: Apple)

Do you know how to delete multiple contacts all at once from your iPhone? We don't blame you if you're not sure. The ability to quickly and easily select names and numbers to delete from your iPhone used to be a more complicated process that you needed to log into iCloud.

However, in Apple's iOS 16 update a new feature was quietly rolled out that allows you to simply drag your finger over multiple entries so you can delete contacts quickly and easily from your iPhone.

It's strange that this relatively simple update has taken so long to land. But we're glad it's here and we'll talk you through how it works below step-by-step.

How to delete multiple contacts on your iPhone

1. Open the Contacts app or go to the Phone app and select Contacts from the bottom menu.
2. Find the contacts you want to delete.
3. Then, use two fingers to select one contact and drag up or down to select more than one contact to delete. You'll know if they've been selected as they'll be highlighted gray.
4. Once you've selected all the contacts that need deleting, release your fingers.
5. Then long press on the gray, selected contacts and a menu will pop-up, asking you if you want to Copy, Share, Merge or Delete the contacts. Hit delete.

A screenshot of the process to delete more than one contact from iphone

With just a double fingertip swipe and a long press, you can easily get rid of multiple contacts all at once. (Image credit: Becca Caddy/iMore)

That's it. It's now incredibly simple to delete multiple contacts all at once from your iPhone. 

However, if the process above doesn't work for you and you want more choice about how you delete contacts on your phone—like if contacts aren't next to each other but you still want to bin them all—then we've also detailed alternative methods below, which involve using iCloud and third-party apps.

They're a little more complicated, but give you even more control of what you delete.

Other ways to delete iPhone contacts in bulk

Using iCloud

If you're using iCloud, your contacts are stored and backed up in the cloud so you can use them across all your Apple devices, including iOS and macOS

Thanks to iCloud, changes made to contact information are pushed out to all of your devices automatically. For example, when you change an email in the Contacts app on your iPhone, it's reflected on your MacBook Pro, and so forth.

Unlike the Contacts app on all the best iPhones, you can select multiple contacts to delete using the web version of iCloud on your Mac. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Visit iCloud.com on a computer (not a mobile device) and log in using your Apple ID and password.
  2. On the main page, select Contacts.

Go to iCloud.com and log in with your Apple ID and password. Select Contacts. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Highlight the contacts you'd like to delete by holding the Control key on your Mac.
  2. Scroll down and select other contacts to delete.
  3. Click on the Settings icon at the bottom left of the screen.
  4. Select Delete.
  5. In the box, confirm your choice by choosing Delete.

Highlight the contacts to delete by holding the Control key, then select other contacts. Click on the Settings icon, select Delete. Confirm your choice by selecting Delete. (Image credit: iMore)

The contacts you selected are now deleted across all of your devices. Yes, this process isn't easy; a better solution is to use a third-party iOS app.

Using Groups

One third-party app stands out to delete contacts in bulk on your iPhone: Groups. In addition, the freemium app provides advanced features through in-app purchases. However, the ability to delete contacts is a free tool.

Here's what you need to do to delete contacts with the Groups app:

  1. Download the Groups app on your iPhone.
  2. Launch the Groups app on your iPhone.
  3. Tap Let's Get Started.
  4. Choose OK to grant Groups access to your contacts.

Download the Groups app from the App Store, then launch the app once it's downloaded on your iPhone. Tap Let's Get Started, then OK. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Select All Contacts from the Groups list.
  2. Go through your contacts and mark the ones you'd like to delete by tapping on the circle outline to the left of their name.
  3. Tap Choose Action at the top.
  4. Choose Delete contacts... in the popup menu.
  5. Tap Remove from my iPhone! to confirm.
  6. Confirm one last time.

Select All Contacts from the Groups list. Tap on the circle outline next to every contact you wish to delete. Tap Choose Action at the top. Choose Delete contacts, then tap Remove from my iPhone to co (Image credit: iMore)

That's it. You can now go into the built-in Contacts app on your iPhone and verify that the selected contacts have been deleted. These contacts are also no longer listed on your other devices, including the iPad and Mac. While Groups isn't the most attractive app available, it gets the job done quickly and efficiently. Give it a try.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.

With contributions from