How to Change the Sort Order of Your Contacts on iPhone

By default, the Contacts app sorts your contacts by last name. And it displays them in the order of first name, last name. But perhaps you're not good at remembering last names and would prefer to sort contacts by first name. Or you might prefer to have them displayed last name first so that it's easier to scan down the list for a particular person. Fortunately, you can change both the sort order as well as the display order in Settings. Here’s how to change the order of your contacts on iPhone.

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

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

How to Change the Sort Order of Your Contacts 

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Contacts.
  • Select Sort Order.

ios 12 guide - a step-by-step guide to all the new features
  • In the screen that appears, the default of Last, First is selected. To change the order, select First, Last. The order of your contacts will then be according to first name.
  • Similarly, you can go back one screen to change the display order. Within Contacts, tap Display Order.

  • Select the option Last, First. Your contacts will now display with the person's last name appearing first.

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 /
Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.
Jim Karpen's picture

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.