I was facing the issue outlined on this Apple discussion thread, where I had duplicates of every contact on my iPhone -- one in iCloud, and one "Unknown". The thread presents a working solution on how to remove all "Unknown" contacts.

However, when I add a new contact without using the + button, it still goes into an "Unknown" list. Does anyone else experience this? To replicate this, try:

  1. Add a new contact, say an unknown number from your recent calls list, or from an email. 1. Save it, and go to the home screen.
  2. Go to your Contacts tab in Phone
  3. Go back to "Groups"
  4. Choose "All Contacts" Try searching for this new contact — I don't see it
  5. Go to your spotlight screen (home, then swipe left)
  6. Search for this new contact — it'll show up, and you can select it

Does anyone else see this and/or know how to solve it?

  • Is there anything else we can do to help you solve this? Did you ever resolve it? We're getting lots of "Me Too" non-answers, so I'm closing this to new answers until we can get clarification on whether you have this issue presently.
    – bmike
    Mar 23, 2013 at 22:02
  • @bmike Seems to have resolved itself in the last year, perhaps over one of the iOS upgrades. If it helps to delete the question, I'd be grateful if you could do so.
    – yjsoon
    Jun 24, 2013 at 12:20
  • No need to delete it. You can edit that tidbit into whatever answer that helped you the most or just answer it and select your answer. We just close things when they don't have an answer or prospect to get one since others tend to "answer" with "me too - how do I fix this"
    – bmike
    Jun 24, 2013 at 13:03

2 Answers 2


My guess is "unknown" is somehow the same as "On my Mac."

If you go to Address Book / preferences / accounts, do you see "on my mac" or "unknown?"

If so, if you can disable or delete it (if you're sure your contacts are all on iCloud).

That will get rid of the duplication and if/when you add a new contact on your Mac it should go up on iCloud.

  • Richard - thanks, but I mean this on iOS. Unlike Address Book preferences on the Mac, there isn't an equivalent place (that I'm aware of) to define where to put newly-created contacts on iOS.
    – yjsoon
    Nov 26, 2011 at 3:32

Go to Settings>Mail, Contacts & Calendars, scroll down and there should be a default account option near the bottom in the Contacts section.

  • The "Default Account" option is for Mail -- at least, that's the case for me on iOS 5.
    – yjsoon
    Dec 23, 2011 at 7:27

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