Cleaning up contacts is hard work

I have two address books. One in iCloud and one in Gmail. iCloud has about 1000 records. Gmail has about 2000 records. Both of them have duplicates, collected over the years. I now want to clean them up and move everything into iCloud for privacy. Aside from eyeballing them, is there an easier tool to remove duplicates? the built-in in macOS will only detect duplicate within one address book, i.e. iCloud only but not iCloud vs Gmail. Cardhop does not do it. Any insights will be appreciated.

Assuming these contacts are synced in your phone, any Playa Apps apps will do. Read the descriptions first to find the right one.

Just pay a subscription for one month, I think it’s $1.99 and stop the subscription after you pick a master list and let it delete the duplicate contacts.

Make backups first of each unmodified list!!

Work slowly and read and re-read the instructions first before you press buttons.

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What happens if you draw all Gmail contacts to the iCloud contacts (using Contacts on Mac), and then use the search for duplicates function?


I’d make a backup of both contact lists first, then export the iCloud one and import that into Gmail. Gmail’s Contacts section is excellent at detecting and merging duplicates. It lets you review each merge, but it even has a Merge All button to do everything automatically if you’re feeling like taking a chance…


I ended up doing it this way too. Thanks!

  • Made a backup into vCard from iCloud and Google.
  • Import iCloud vCard into Google.
  • Used Google Duplicate and Merging System to fix dupes.
  • Export the new Google into vCard (at the point of this writing, Google allows export to “vCard (iOS)”)
  • Delete all old iCloud contacts.
  • Import new Google vCard into iCloud (scratch that. Somehow uploading directly to iCloud via browser will fail with some invalid vCards. So, it uploaded half and stopped. I deleted everything from iCloud and reimported the vCards into Contacts app in the Mac, and that works. YMMW)

I hope nothing is lost… gulp!

This is what the backups are for. :smiley:

The apps recommended above by @sgtaylor5 (link) are able to sync contacts between different accounts as long as both are being synced to the iPhone, which might come in handy in the future.

I don’t have any experience with them but was researching them at one point to keep two accounts in sync, and I think they were recommended by one of the guests on the MPU show at some point, or over at App Stories (sadly I don’t remember who and when mentioned them).

It is tedious to clean up Contacts on macOS, iOS, and iPadOS from before synching them via iCloud.

Even though I have used a Mac for 10 years, and iPhone many more, I only realised, today, that the does not show a profile photo or the contact initials in a colourful circle, like all other modern apps! It is just a plain text List. How did we ever accept such an ugly app from Apple and no one complains about it??