Adding and Finding People in the Contacts App

Did you Have an Address Book?

Many people have used a paper address book over the years. It was a place where you could capture the addresses of friends and family members that you needed.

But we know that addresses change and it was sometimes kinda funny to keep track of addresses as they changed. And you always had those people who seemed to move every year or two that would make a mess of your address book with the required changes.

The address book was the place where you also might record birthdays and anniversaries.  And frankly that address book never did a very good job or helping your remember birthdays.  But it was what we used.

Today, that has all changed with a variety of tools that are available to store contact, address and even birthday information. On the iPhone, the built-in tool for contacts is the Contacts app.

Introducing the Contacts App

The Contacts app allows you to save phone numbers, email addresses and contact information for the people you know. Once a contact is saved, you can quickly place a phone call, facetime, send an email or text message. A contact is also required if you wish to use Siri to dial phone numbers or send messages by name. Don’t Hold Back – The iPhone allows you to create as many contacts as you need with an upper limit of 50,000 contacts.


Adding Contacts to the Contacts app


This lesson will offer six different ways to add Contacts. Why so many? To provide you with shortcuts where some information, e.g. phone numbers, names and email addresses are already entered for you. The six methods are:

  1. Manually Add a contact
  2. Add a contact from Recent call records – Will create a record from phone number where you only have to add a name and email.
  3. Add a contact from an email – Captures the name and email from an email.
  4. Add a contact from a text – Have someone send you a text message and you can create a contact by adding a name.
  5. Add a contact while making a call.
  6. Add a contact for a business from the Maps app.

Manually add a Contact

Launch the Contacts app often found in the Extras folder on the home screen.  You can also find the Contacts app at the bottom of the main screen in the Phone app.  


The Contacts app icon found under Extras

After launching the Contacts app, tap the + (plus) sign on the upper right of the Contacts screen.

Tap + to add a new contact

Type the desired information and then tap Done in the upper right to save.

Add essential information like name, phone and email

Start with essential information: A basic contact record could include just the first and last name, phone number and email address. Optional Information – Use the Contacts app to fully replace any address book that you are maintaining. Optional information can include:

  • Company
  • Multiple Phone numbers
  • One or more addresses
  • Birthday – When you add birthdays to the contact information, the Calendar app can automatically notify you of birthdays. (Set up by tapping Settings, Calendar, Default Alert Times, Birthdays)
  • Social media or website URL
  • Notes, e.g. “Bob is a cousin of Susan”
  • Custom Field


Create Contact from a Phone Record

If you receive a call from a friend who doesn’t have a contact record, create a record from the phone record and eliminate having to type the phone number.

Launch the Phone app.

Tap Recents, then tap the Info (letter i in a circle) icon next to the desired number.


Tap Info to work with contacts from a previous phone call

From there, you can Create New Contact or Add to Existing Contact.

Two options: Create or Add from any existing phone call.


Depending on the option you choose (Create or Add) you will be presented with the normal contact edit screen for the Contact app.


Create Contact from an Email

If you receive an email from a person who doesn’t have a contact record, create a record from the email and eliminate having to type the name and email address. You can add other information as desired.

Retrieve the email from the Mail app.

Tap the > arrow next to the From: name.

From there, you can Create New Contact or Add to Existing Contact.

Tap > from the Inbox to Add or Create a Contact record from an email.

From there, you can Create New Contact or Add to Existing Contact using the same screen as with phone calls and email messages.


Create a Contact from a Text message

An easy way to record someone’s phone number when you are at an event is to ask them to send you a text to your mobile number. The text message will show in your Messsages inbox without a name.

Retrieve the text message with no name.

Tap the Arrow  (>) icon next to the phone number on the text message


From the Details screen, tap the Info (circle i) icon below to the phone number/icon.

From there, you can Create New Contact or Add to Existing Contact using the same screen as with phone calls and email messages.

Create a Contact Record While Making A Call

You can quickly create a Contact record while dialing a phone number to make a call.  And best of all you do not have to retype the phone number.

1 Launch the Phone app.

2 Tap Keypad  on the bottom of the screen just as if you were dialing a phone number.

3 Tap the phone number.  But instead of tapping Dial (Phone Icon), tap Add Number.

4 Choose Create New Contact to create new record or Add to Existing Contact to add the phone number you typed to an existing record.


Create a Contact Record from a Map Listing

This process is particularly useful to enter the number and address of a business or organization.  Essentially, looking up the information on the Maps app and adding it to a Contact record.

Here are the steps.

1 Launch the Apple Maps app

2 Use the Search bar to search for a business by name.  If the business is not near your location, provide a city or other location information. (e.g. St Anthony Library )

3 When the business or organization is displayed, tap the More (…) icon found next to the distance indicator.

4 Tap Create New Contact to create new record or Add to Existing Contact to add the business information to an existing record.


 Smart Tip: A Fast way to Create a Contact

You know this situation.  You are out at an event and the words, “Can I get your phone number?” come up.  You are looking to be able call or text with another person and you and the other individual both have cell phones.   A fast and easy way to capture that information is for your to either text or call the other person immediately and capture the number from our calls or texts.  Use Create Contact from Phone Records or Create Contact from Text Message to create the contact quickly.



Using Contacts



View a Contact Record

With all of your contacts store in the Contacts app, an essential skill is finding a contact record. Once you find a record you can view the information but you can also send emails, send text messages, start FaceTime calls and much more. There are two primary approaches to finding a record:

  1. Search using the search box at the top of the Contact list.
  2. Browse by letter. Tap on the desired letter and then swipe up or down to view your contact list.

Find Contact records by either Search or Browse.


Using a Contact record

From the contact record you have retrieved, use the icons to start a message, call, Facetime or email as desired. The two basic approaches are identified in the screen below:

Two ways to use a Contacts record

  1. Tap the icon for message, call FaceTime or mail in order to launch those apps.  When you tap call, if there there is more than one phone number, you will be presented with a list of numbers to call.
  2. Tap the specific phone number or email address to launch those apps while calling those numbers or addressing an email.


View and Print a Contact on iCloud

If you are away from your iPhone, you can still access the contact information at  This access assumes that you have enabled iCloud and are syncing your contacts to iCloud and other devices. 

In addition to viewing contacts on iCloud, you have other functions that are not available on your iPhone or iPad.  This includes printing contacts and performing import and export functions.   

Here is how to get started:

  1. Using you web browser, go to the iCloud website
  2. Log  in with your Apple ID & password. If you have two-factor authentication set up, you will also need to enter the code sent to your device. 
  3. Select Contacts application

You can search or browser for contacts similar to iPhone functions.  

Functions like print and import or export are found by clicking on the Gear icon on the lower right corner of the iCloud Contact screen.



Additional Information

The Senior Tech Club recommends the following additional resources for members that wish to pursue additional and/or advanced information on this recipe:

iPhone User Guide – Contacts App

iPhone User Guide – Use other contact accounts on iPhone

Apple Support Doc – View contacts on