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My iPhone keeps merging contacts when two of them are of the same company or have something else that is identical.

So, let us say I wish to call a contact (that unknowingly to me has been merged), I keep scrolling through my list of contacts until I finally decide to obtain their number via other means. Much later, I find that this very contact had been merged with the main company contact or one of their colleagues.

It has happened countless of times since the iPhone 5. Unmerging and re-adding contacts has become part of my routine.

My iPhone has one Exchange account configured that synchronises the contacts. I use Outlook 2016 on PC.

How to stop my iPhone from merging contacts?

  • We use office 365 across thousands of people and never had this reported. Are you certain you have disabled contact modification permissions for all third party apps. This sounds like Facebook contact sync or another similar issue and not iOS or MS doing the merges. – bmike Mar 13 '17 at 10:45
  • @bmike Thank you for your reply. It should not be unless WhatsApp is the culprit. All of the other listed apps were installed later. We are on Office 365 E3. – Xen Mar 13 '17 at 11:04
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It appears to be a feature of Office 365. Similar contacts get ‘linked’ automatically. Unlinking is possible, although, when I attempted it myself, one of the linked contacts was lost completely. There is no way of disabling the ‘feature’ at the moment.

Unlinking contacts may be achieved as follows:

  1. Open Outlook 2013 or newer and switch to People;
  2. Ensure that your Current View is set to People;
  3. Choose any of the contacts that you believe to be linked;
  4. Press ‘Link Contacts…’ under View Source at the right;
  5. Press × for each contact listed as they will reappear in your list of contacts.

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