How to Change the Sort Order of Your iPad & iPhone Contacts

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

The Contacts app sorts your contacts into last name, first name order, and displays contacts in first name, last name order. To organize your iPhone or iPad contacts differently, reverse these settings. 

Related: How to Create Contact Groups on iPhone for Sending Group Emails & Messages

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We've already shown you how to sync iPhone Contacts to your Mac, and how to share contact information via text message. For more great iPhone tutorials, check out our free Tip of the Day. Now, let's go over how to change the alphabetical sort order of your iPhone Contacts and contact cards. 

How to Change the Sort Order of Your Contact Names

  1. Open the Settings app.

    iphone settings app
  2. Tap Contacts.

    iphone contacts
  3. Tap Sort Order.

    contacts sort order
  4. The default option is Last, First. To change the order, tap First, Last

    iphone contacts sort order
  5. Tap Display Order to change how contact names are written on contact cards.

    change display order
  6. Tap Last, First to display each person's contact card in last name/first name order.

    contacts display order

Note that since Chinese, Japanese, and Korean names have a fixed order, the order of those names won't change.

Top image credit: Real Life Design /
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Author Details

Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.