Doppelganger Contacts!

Losing all your contacts or even a few of them is the stuff that nightmares are made of. It is thus only natural that Android has come up with a multitude of backup options to ensure that you never ever have to go foraging for your contact details. However, while backup is good, too much of it can often backfire.

Thanks to users backing up their contacts in Gmail, Google, Facebook and more there are instances when your phone ends up having more than a single entry for each contact.

This generally happens when you flash a ROM or factory-reset your phone and then try to sync it with the backup accounts to retrieve all the lost information. Since the syncing happens from multiple accounts all having the same set of contacts, you could very well end up with a device that is bulging with duplicate data.

Minimize the Occurrence of Duplicate Contacts

While it is possible to get rid of the duplicate contacts on your phone, it is always a good idea to prevent such an occurrence altogether. It is possible on Android to mention the accounts from which your phone would sync up.

Open the Contacts app and then tap on Options to get an entire list of useful settings available.


Select Accounts from this list and you should see all the accounts from where your phone is getting data.

Limit this number to as low as possible to ensure that duplicate syncing does not take place.

However, a word of caution here, there are times when certain accounts do not have all the backup data. Thus, it is important to ensure that you include accounts that have a comprehensive list of all your contacts.

There is an option of Add accounts here that would allow you to add some accounts like Twitter, Facebook and other mail accounts which are not available by default.

How to Get Rid of Duplicate Contacts


As mentioned earlier minimizing duplicate contacts on your phone is a good practice. However, despite our best intentions there is always a possibility that some duplicates sneak in unnoticed. Fear not, for there are a number ways of dealing with these duplicates without actually having to delete them one by one.

Delete Duplicates through Your Phone

Most Android phones have a feature specifically included to manage and delete all duplicate contacts.


Open your phone contacts and from the Contacts menu select the Merge Accounts option.

Once you have selected the merge option it would prompt you with accounts to merge from, tap on Merge from Google and then select OK.

Once you do this, the phone would scan its entire set of contacts and come up with duplicates basis the contacts having the same number and email id. Users can specify these criteria for identifying duplicates as well.

This is all it takes to get back your neat looking contact list. However, if you own an Android phone that does not support this feature then there is no cause to be disheartened. There are other just as simple and effective ways to get rid of the duplicate contacts.

Remove Duplicate Contacts Using your Gmail

It is not really surprising that Gmail with its abundance of features has something to help us clean up our contact books as well. You can use the Gmail account that is synced with your phone to get rid of all the duplicate contacts without even having to touch your Android device.

In order to delete duplicates you need to login to your Gmail account and then click on the Gmail tab present at the left top corner of the screen.

From the drop down menu select Contacts. This should show you all the contacts that have been synced from Gmail, Google+ and your phone.

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Click on the More option to the right and then click on Find and Merge Duplicates; on doing so Gmail will scan your contacts and produce a list consisting of the duplicate contacts and further prompt you to allow it to go ahead with the merge.

Click on Merge to get rid of all the duplicate contacts in one go..

If your phone allows for automatic syncing with Gmail, then the duplicates would be deleted from your phone’s contact list as well.

Delete Duplicate Contacts Using Apps

Google Play Store’s impressive app gallery has a number of third party apps that can take of your duplicate contacts problem elegantly. However, the only catch here is that you would be trusting an outside application with your valuable contact information. If the above mentioned methods do not work for you then an app might be the only way out of your duplicate quandary.

Duplicate Contacts  is an efficient application that can get the job done with minimum fuss. Download the app, launch it and it would automatically scan your mobile and come up with a list of all your duplicate contacts.

One set of duplicate contacts would be checked for deletion, if for some reason you want certain duplicates to remain then uncheck these from the list. Now click on ‘Delete Selected’ to get rid of all your unwanted duplicates.

Contact Optimizer is another highly intelligent app that can take care of removing duplicates from your contact list with just a few clicks. There are several other apps which can also get the work done. However, it is a good idea to stick to the trusted ones.

Final Thoughts

Regular backups can save you a lot of hassle if something ever goes wrong; thus, never stint on the number of accounts that you sync your mobile data to. Retrieval from these accounts as we have seen can be controlled by us ensuring minimal clutter on your device.

Even if things do go wrong and you end up with duplicates then as we’ve seen it is pretty easy to deal with them. It is better to deal with duplicate contacts that you can delete easily than to deal with a situation wherein you are left bereft of your all important contact information.