I was working with a client the other day who wanted to know how to clean up his contact list. That is, he wants to get rid of duplicates and file away old contacts he rarely uses but still wants to save somewhere. Before showing him at our next session together, I decided to test a procedure to clean up my own address book (contact list). I did this on my Mac and wrote down the steps to follow.
Please note: I have all my Apple devices set to use the contact list on iCloud. That means there is one contact file on iCloud and all my Apple devices get contacts from that file. This keeps my Contacts in sync on my Mac, iPhone and iPad.
Before you begin editing, please make a backup of all your contacts. If anything goes wrong, you can restore this saved file.
On your Mac – Contacts Program > File > Export > Contacts Archive
From iCloud.com – Contacts > Edit > Select All > Gear Icon (lower left) > Export vCard
How to clean up your contact list on your Mac
- Eliminate duplicates
Contacts on the Mac has “Look for Duplicates” under Card in the menu
Check the merged information
Delete contacts you no longer want or need
- Create an archive of old contacts you want to file away
Create a group for the archive (call it Archive or something meaningful)
Select the contacts to archive
Drag these contacts into the archive group
Select the group
Choose File > Export > Export vCard
Save the file
- Delete the archived contacts from your list (refer to your archive)
This may take some time. I did mine in two sessions. A to L and then M to Z.
How to Export Contacts from the Mac
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