You like your new phone — but its inherited address book is a complete mess.
Six entries for an ex-colleague, nine things that read “taxi” and 23 random contacts that are just defunct email addresses.
It’s time to make this right.
Make your phone do some of the heavy lifting. Start by installing an app that lets you merge or delete redundant contacts. For iOS, use Cleanup Duplicate Contacts (69p). For Android, use Go Contacts Pro (free).
Pick a storage space
Gmail, Yahoo!, outlook.com, Apple — choose a repository for everything. Syncing to the cloud means the end of those embarrassing “I lost my phone, send me your number!” Facebook updates.
(Already synced to the cloud? Go to step 5.) For iOS: use My Contacts Backup. The free app will save a .VCF file of contacts. Android: go to People app, select Import/Export > Export to Storage.
Email the VCF to yourself.
With that VCF saved somewhere safe, remove your contacts from your phone. For Android, you can use the free Contact Remover, and for iOS the Spring Cleaning app (69p) looks best. Delete them all.
Log in to your webmail inbox from your desktop and import the .VCF file. This is typically done in the settings, depending on your provider. In Gmail go to Contacts > More > Import and select the .VCF file you downloaded.
Once your contacts have been imported, knuckle down and go through them one at a time, taking care of whatever the app missed (doubles, old info, wrong default numbers). Doing it right means not doing it again any time soon.
Fill your phone (iOS)
Once your contacts are squeaky clean, set them to stay in sync with your phone. In iOS, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Log in to your email account and flip the Contacts switch to On.
Fill your phone(Android)
For Android phones, go to Settings > Add Account and log in to the Google (or any other email) account with your newly sorted contacts. Make sure that Contacts sync is turned on.