How to Remove Duplicate iCloud Contacts with Scrubly

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There are a lot of things in this world that are great to have duplicates of. You’ll never hear anybody complain about having duplicate cakes, cars, or cases of beer, but what you definitely don’t want duplicates of is your contacts.

Duplicate contacts eat up space in your address book and make it difficult to search for your contacts. Worst of all, if you send contacts to a friend or coworker a duplicate contact means you might send incomplete information, making you look like you don’t know what you’re doing with technology.

Add in to the mix syncing capability with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and you have a perfect storm of duplicate information. All it takes is one name spelled differently and now contact information is split between two or more contacts.

All is not lost however. Scrubly is a web application that you upload your contacts to via a small application you install on your Mac and depending on how much time you have, you can clean your contacts with a quick clean or a deep scrub. Both will sync your address book with social media accounts and both allow you to review any merges or deletions before the process is complete.

Best of all, your original contacts list is backed up with Scrubly in case something went wrong and you lost something important. It’s worth noting that Scrubly is free to run and use for address books under 250 contacts, but over this you’ll have to pony up a few bucks to download your scrubbed contacts. You can however go through the process for free no matter now many contacts you have so you can see if it’s worth the purchase for you.

Make sure to try Scrubly out and enter at the bottom of this post for your chance to win one of two free single-scrubs and one grand prize of a year of free Scrubly access.

Create an Account

First things first, head over to Scrubly.com and create a new account.

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Once you log in you’ll be greeted by the first step in the Scrubly setup process. Scrubly can work on Outlook for Windows, Contacts (Address Book) for the Mac, Google Contacts, and even CSV uploads. For this though, we’ll choose Address Book (for Mac).

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Once you click on Address Book (for Mac) you need to enter a name for the address book. This is how you’ll know what address book you’re working with inside of Scrubly in case you add multiple contact lists. Let’s name this one Mac. Click Next and setup is complete. Click Next one more time then click the Download Mac Client button. This will download the Mac Scrubly client to your computer. Once it downloads, install it.

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Once installation is complete, the Mac client should open automatically. If it doesn’t, it can be found in your Applications folder. Once the client is installed and opened, you may get a warning about stopping sync services. Quit any that are listed and click OK to continue.

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You should now see a screen letting you know that you’re ready to send contacts to the Scrubly server. Click Send to continue. Depending on the number of contacts you have, this can take a few minutes, so be patient as your contacts are uploaded. When the upload is complete, click Go to Scrubly Online or copy/paste the URL shown.

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If everything went as planned you should get a Congratulations!! message. Click Next to continue. You should now see your contacts list with a Start Scrub button next to it. Click Start Scrub to continue.

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Express or Deep Scrub

Scrubly now shows you two options. The first option is to scrub contacts fast and easy. This is the quickest way to remove duplicates. If you have a lot of odd duplicates, like first names in the middle name spot, or other more complex issues, then you want to go with the Deep Scrub. For the sake of this how-to we’ll go Express. To merge Notes fields click the Next button in the popup that appears.

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Scrubly will now run through all your Apple Contacts looking for duplicates. When it’s done, you’ll get a report telling you what was done. Click Next to continue.

Next you’ll get the option to sync your contacts with your social media accounts to update fields like phone number, picture, name, and birthday. To run this click Run Update. If you’d rather not, click Skip. To keep this short, we’ll skip this.

Once the process is complete, you’ll have the option to download your cleaned contacts. Click Continue to download your scrubbed contacts.

Note: It’s at this point you’ll need to be a paying customer to download your cleaned contacts if you uploaded a contacts list that’s more than 250 entries. If you have a single scrub purchased or a year subscription, clicking Continue will download your contacts.

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Your contacts should start downloading again. This will take anywhere from 15 seconds to a few minutes, depending on the number of contacts you uploaded. Once you’re done click Close to finish the process.

Deep Scrub

If you decided to run a Deep Scrub on your address book, you’ll be given a bevy of new options including name and email address matching, blank name and email matching, and even phonetic matches for when you enter Jon instead of John.

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You can check or uncheck the boxes next to each of these to run the various scans. Unlike the Express Scrub, you’ll get to review each change if you’d like. Click Manually review duplicates to do this, or if you’re feeling lucky, click Auto Merge selected duplicates to do the work automatically.

Once you walked through all the changes, you should be walked through all the checked options. IT’s a very good idea to manually review each of these. It’ll take some time, but the interface is easy to use.

The big plus to running the Deep Scrub is the chance to format all your phone numbers the same way. Choose the way you want them to show and click Next to continue.

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Next you’ll have the option to run the Social Update. Since we’re deep scrubbing click Run Update to continue. Log in to your social media account and click Next to continue.

Choose what you want to sync from social media, and most importantly, what you want overwritten and click Next to continue. This process can take anywhere from a minute to 5 or so to complete.

When you’re all done you should see a list of what was updated and deleted. Click Download to Mac to finish the process. This will direct you to click on the Scrubly app in your Dock, then click on the Scrub menu, and finally Download Scrubbed Contacts.

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This should finish the Deep Scrub process. No matter whether you chose the quick or the deep scrub, you should have a nice and orderly address book. If things end up missing, just re-download the initial backup from your account at Scrubly.com.

The Giveaway

Hopefully you can see how useful Scrubly can be. While it isn’t a free webapp, it’s a pretty amazing one that can save you a lot of time and headache while allowing you to review al the changes made.

We’re giving away one 1-year membership grand prize and two single-scrub grand prizes. Just use the entry form below to be entered. Drawing will be held on August 15th.
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About Brian Meyer

Brian is a technology nut who loves all things Apple. Along with tech blogging he owns and operates a website dedicated to Craft Beer knowledge and information: Craft Beer Academy. With a love of sharing information and finding the newest tech out there, he is a great source for interesting news and instruction.

Comments

  1. auribe14 says:

    Scrubly actually reported no duplicates for me.

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