Skip to main content

How to use Contacts on iPhone and iPad

iOS 13 holidays
iOS 13 holidays (Image credit: iMore)

Learning how to use Contacts on iPhone and iPad might seem a little basic, but there are many things you can do that you probably didn't know about. You can add photos, import your contacts from iCloud, and many other available features within the app. And thanks to the Apple ecosystem, your contacts will be updated on all your Apple devices, including your Mac with no extra work at all. Here's everything you need to start mastering Contacts on your iPhone.

How to add a contact on iPhone and iPad

The first step to mastering Contacts on iPhone or iPad is learning how to add a new contact to your list. Here's what you need to do.

  1. Launch the Contacts app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the plus sign in the top right corner.
  3. In the top section of this screen, you can type in necessary information like:
    • Contact's first name
    • Contact's last name
    • Contact's company

How to add a contact on iPhone and iPad: Open the Contacts app, tap on the plus sign on the plus sign. Add the necessary information for your new contact (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap on the green plus sign next to add a phone number.
  2. Enter your contact's phone number
  3. By default, home will be selected as the label associated with this contact's number. To change this, tap on the arrow next to home.
  4. Tap on an appropriate label that goes with your contact's number (e.g., work, mobile, etc.)
  5. Tap on Done in the top right corner to save this contact.

How to add a contact on iPhone and iPad: Tap on the grun plus sign to add a phone number and enter it. Change the label to the contact number by tapping the arrown next to home. Tap on the label you w (Image credit: iMore)

You can add additional information for your contacts, like alternate phone numbers, email addresses, website, address, birthday, etc., using similar tap and type steps as above.

How to import contacts on iPhone and iPad

If you already have contacts associated with iCloud or an email account, it's easy to add them as contacts.

Sometimes after you do an import, you end up with duplicate contacts. No need to manually remove all the double entries. There's a faster way to get rid of duplicate contacts.

How to update an existing contact on iPhone and iPad

Has your friend changed their number, email address, or name? It's easy to edit their contact information on the iPhone and iPad.

  1. Launch the Contacts app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the contact you want to update.
  3. Tap on the Edit button in the top right corner.

How to update a contact on iPhone and iPad: Launch Contacts and tap on the contact you want to update. Tap on Edit on the top right corner. (Image credit: iMore)

From here, you can add additional phone numbers, email addresses, and other information specific to this contact.

How to find an existing contact on iPhone and iPad

As your contact list grows, it can be tough to track down people's numbers. Here are some fast tips for finding contacts.

  1. Launch the Contacts app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the search bar at the top of your screen.
  3. Type in your contact's name (first or last) to locate them.

How to find an existing contact on iPhone or iPad: Launch Contacts and tap on the Search bar at the top of your screen. Type the contact's name to locate them (Image credit: iMore)

If you've forgotten someone's name but know they're in your contacts, you can quickly browse connections by the first letter in their name.

  1. Launch the Contacts app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on a letter on the right side of your screen.

How to find an existing contact on iPhone or iPad: Launc the Contacts app. Once in them tap on the letter on the right side of the screen to find your contact. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Once you've tapped on a letter, you will automatically go to contacts whose first or last name starts with that letter depending on your settings.

How to share a contact on iPhone and iPad

Need to share a work contact with a colleague or pass along the info of a good insurance agent to a friend who is taking up fire juggling? Share your contacts with ease, right in the Contacts app!

  1. Launch the Contacts app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the contact you want to share.
  3. Tap on Share Contact.

How to share contacts on iPhone and iPad: Launch the Contacts app. Tap on the contact you want to share. Tap on Share Contact. (Image credit: iMore)

Depending on the applications on your phone, you'll have a few different ways to share your contact, including AirDrop for nearby devices, Message, Mail, and other third-party apps. Tap on whichever one is most relevant for the way you want to share your contact and follow the prompts to send it off!

How to assign photos to contacts on iPhone and iPad

What's great about the Contacts app is that you can assign a photo to your contacts from the Photos app. Here's how to do it!

  1. Launch the Photos app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap the photo you want to assign to a contact.
  3. Tap the share button on the bottom left of your screen.
  4. Tap Assign to Contact.

Open the Photos app. Locate the photo you want to use and tap on it. Tap on the share button and select Assign to Contact. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the contact to whom you'd like to assign the photo.
  2. Drag and pinch the photo to scale and move it as you like.
  3. Tap Choose on the bottom right of your screen.
  4. Tap Update on the top right of your screen.

How to assign photos to contacts on iPhone and iPad: Tap on the contact you'd like to assign the photo to. Scale the picture the way you like it. Tap on Choose on the bottom right corner and then Upda (Image credit: iMore)

The photo will now be part of that contact's profile.

How to delete a contact on iPhone and iPad

If a friend has gone off the grid or a friend is no longer a friend, it's time to delete them from your contacts.

  1. Launch the Contacts app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the contact you want to delete.
  3. Tap on Edit in the top, right corner.

How to update a contact on iPhone and iPad: Launch Contacts and tap on the contact you want to update. Tap on Edit on the top right corner. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  2. Tap on Delete Contact.
  3. Tap on Delete Contact.

How to delete a contact on iPhone and iPad: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and tap on Delete Contact. Tap on Delete Contact (Image credit: iMore)

Doing this won't prevent the person from being able to contact you (to do that, you have to block them, but at least they're no longer in your contacts. If you change your mind, you can always re-add a person into Contacts on your iPhone or iPad.

Now sure how to use Contacts on iPhone or your iPad?

Do you have any questions about how to use Contacts on iPhone and iPad? Shoot them in the comments!

Updated November 2020: Updated for iOS 14.

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.

5 Comments
  • There should be a way of reordering telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, addresses, et cetera. Also Apple should stop auto-lowercasing the domain section of e-mail addresses in view mode. I use camel case for readability and a nicer aesthetic.
  • The domain is case-insensitive, so it's most likely just done to make it consistent, Google does the same with their search results. You could try another Contacts app, I've been using Cardhop
  • I know it's case insensitive. Not remotely my issue. It's about readability and making it easier to transcribe. Multiple words without punctuation is akin to mumbling to the human eye.
  • That's true, it can be hard to read, I never understood why domain names all as one word became popular, they allow dashes. I just tried it out in Cardhop and that app does indeed display them how you've typed them, it's a paid app but it's worth it in my opinion, made by the same people who made Fantastical.
  • I imagine they became popular because the space character can be troublesome in certain instances. The easiest way to make things readable is using camel case. Thanks for the recommendation but for my needs the benefits Apple Contacts outweigh the negatives. It’s just irksome when software unnecessarily changemy data. I rejected a couple password programs like Dashlane because they altered my data, making it less informative.