With multiple email accounts, we can often end up with multiple places our contacts gets stored, which can be very confusing, especially if you have to switch devices.  In the early phone days, contacts for your phone were on your phone.  Contacts for email were in email.  You didn’t have to worry about having multiple accounts because everything was separate.  Today, you might have an apple/iTunes account with a .mac or .icloud extension along with your gmail or yahoo account and a work account.  The question then arises, where are my contacts?  To figure that out, the first thing you have to do is go to your Contacts app on your iPhone and discover what you see.

Where do I Find iPhone Contacts?

Open the Contacts App and Click the ‘Groups’ text in the upper left corner.  The checkmarks indicate the accounts that you have contacts stored in.

iphone contacts groups

If Groups does not appear, then your contacts are only stored in one place.  Go to Settings, Accounts & Passwords.  You can look down the list to see which account your contacts are stored in.

iphone contacts settings

Why Should You Care Where Your iPhone Contacts are Stored?

Contacts are our community.  It’s how we connect and how we stay in touch.   If they aren’t where you think they are, then when someone else rebuilds your phone or moves your data, etc., then you are at risk of losing them.  No one wants that to happen!  It’s tedious to collect all those emails and all those phone numbers again.

Recently, I was working with a family that had 3 iPhones.  They had all of the phones synced to one iCloud account and they had contacts in their iCloud account, Yahoo accounts, on their phone and in gmail accounts.  After understanding who wanted to share contacts and who didn’t,  I worked with them and their phones for several hours to get the contacts where they needed to be for each person.  Now, 2 of them are sharing their contacts and the teenager has their own file of contacts.  Score!

My Contacts Are Everywhere, How can I Move Them?

I discovered this great little app that allows you to easily move your contacts between accounts or off of your iPhone and into a cloud account, so that they are never lost again.  Contact Mover.  After you install the app, just follow the prompts to move your contacts where you want them.

iphone contacts contact mover

What to Watch Out For

  1. Check which account your default contacts are added to.  Go to Settings, Contacts, Default Account.
  2. Once you have your contacts where you want them, turn off the other accounts, so that you aren’t confused and don’t add contacts to the wrong account.  Go to Settings, Accounts & Passwords.  Touch the account and turn off contacts where you don’t want them.
  3. You will also need to be very careful when you setup a new account on your phone.  Be sure that when you setup the account, you turn off the Contacts for that account.  That way, you won’t accidentally add contacts to that account.