How to Group Your Contacts by How You Know Them in the iPhone Contacts App

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

There's something soothing about grouping related things together, and that goes for contacts too! Contacts are listed alphabetically in the Contacts app and Apple doesn't offer a way to group them by any other criteria (although you can use the search function to filter contacts by things like company name or notes you may have added to a contact card). But these contacts won't otherwise be grouped all together in your list of contacts. You can work around this by editing your contacts' names to include initials or words so they appear grouped together according to criteria determined by you. Use this tip to group your contacts by how you know them—work, a hobby, family, etc.—so you can quickly browse to message a specific person or see everyone in that group at once. 

Related: How to Delete Suggested Email Contacts in Mail on iPhone

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By default, your iPhone contacts are automatically sorted alphabetically by last name then first name, but they're displayed in the order of first name, last name. 

For this tip to work as written, you will need to change the display order to last name, first name. (If you prefer to group your contacts in a different way than shown in this tip, this article goes into more detail about customizing sort and display order in the Contacts app.)

  • Open the Settings and go to Contacts
  • Tap Display Order and then select Last, First.

Now you are ready to start grouping your contacts.

  • When I want to group contacts together, I enter the person's full name in the First name field. (Learn how to edit a contact's name here.)
  • In the Last name field, I enter a word or initials that indicate how I know them. For example, all of my coworkes' last names are listed as "Work."
  • When I want to find them by group, I tap the W in the alphabet on the side of the screen to quickly go to contacts that start with W
  • Here I will find my coworkers listed all together in the contact list. 

This tip was inspired by iPhone Life reader Laurie M.!

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Author Details

Hallei Halter's picture

Author Details

Hallei Halter

Hallei is a 2018 graduate of Maharishi University of Management with a BFA in Creative & Professional Writing. She's currently working on a novel about people using witchcraft to clean their houses.