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iOS 4 feature: Linked contacts

When you sync contacts from more than one source (i.e. Exchange and MobileMe, on-device and Google Sync, etc.), and there are duplicates, rather than showing the same contact twice iOS 4 will instead create a single, linked contact. This works on any iOS 4 device, including iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, recent iPod touch, etc.

When you look at a linked contact, the header will show Unified Info at the top so you know it's linked. At the very bottom of the contact it will show you the source of the links (i.e MobileMe, Google). Tapping on the source lets you see the original, non-unfied info from just that source.

If you don't like the idea of your contacts being linked, you can tap edit and hit Unlink. If iOS 4 missed linking a contact that ought be linked, tap edit, scroll down to the bottom, tap Link Contact and choose the contact you want linked.

ios_4_contacts_link_contacts

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

16 Comments
  • "This works on any iOS 4 device, including iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, recent iPod touch, etc."
    No 3G? I don't see any reason why this feature should not be supported by 3G. It's not performance related.
    Martin. :-)
  • etc - adverb
    1. and others; and so forth; and so on (used to indicate that more of the same sort or class might have been mentioned, but for brevity have been omitted): He had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, frogs, et cetera, as pets. Abbr.: etc.
  • Great feature. Surprised no-one thought about this idea before. Oh wait....
  • So how do we tie this into FaceBook?
    I wonder if there's a way to set up FaceBook as a ActiveSync/Exchange account
  • @ Don, actually if you sync Facebook contacts with your contacts via the app it adds a field to the contacts but it gets a bit buggy
  • @ Martin
    "Any iOS4 device, including...., etc."
    Is your phone running iOS4? Yes? Then it's an iOS4 device.
    "Including...etc." implies a list. Your 3G is included.
    Use your brain. :)
  • Another reason why iPhone is the reigning champ of phones. Only Apple could think of a feature like this that makes using a phone so much easier.
    The rest are playing catch up! #pow
  • @IDavey this is old. Webos has had it since launch...and it syncs with facebook #pow.
  • Late to the party, again... This is already a feature in Android...
    Nevertheless, even if late, it is good for Apple to add it.
  • Hi. I'm running iOS4 on iPhone 3GS and the feature is not there, unless it has to be activated... ?
  • @ PLMorin, I can't see it either, must need to have contacts sync turned on for at least one account
  • Yes, you need to be syncing contacts from two or more sources for the feature to surface. (Otherwise there's nothing to link).
  • Makes sens! ;-)
  • This sounds great except I've been wondering if all of my outlook contacts will be in gmail and vice versa. Or will they stay separate there but both be on my iPhone (personal contacts in gmail and work in outlook).
  • Hm - pretty interesting - I'm not syncing from two sources so it doesn't bother me but definitely seems useful if I needed it.
  • can or will this work with calendars as well?