How to Hide Contacts on iPhone

And how to find them when you need them

What to Know

  • Go to > Contacts > New Group > Add specific contact names.
  • On the iPhone, open Contacts > Groups > Hide All Contacts.
  • Use nicknames in contacts app: Settings > Contacts > Short Name and enable Prefer Nicknames.

This article shows you how to hide contacts on your iPhone and get a sense of privacy.

How Do You Hide Contacts on Your iPhone

iOS doesn't have a default one-touch feature to hide a specific contact or all your contacts. Though, there are some workarounds you can employ.

The methods to hide contacts on your iPhone depend on how private you want them to be. Here are three approaches.

Use iCloud to Create Contact Groups

You can create contact groups on macOS or iCloud. Then, you can opt to hide all your contacts or display a selected group.

The steps are illustrated on iCloud.

  1. Log into iCloud with your Apple ID and password.

  2. Select Contacts.

    Contacts icon highlighted on
  3. Select the "plus" icon on the left sidebar and choose New Group.

    New Group button highlighted in contacts app on
  4. Give the new Group a name.

    Newly created contact group in Contacts app on
  5. You can now add names to this contact group in three ways. This step copies the contacts from the All Contacts group to your designated group:

    • Drag and drop names from the contacts column to the group.
    • Select non-contiguous contacts together by pressing the Ctrl key on Windows (Command key on macOS)
    • Select multiple contiguous contacts with the Shift key.
  6. Open the Phone app and select Contacts.

  7. Select Groups.

  8. Select Hide All Contacts at the foot of the screen.

    The steps to hide all contacts in the Contacts app on an iPhone.
  9. Go back to the main Contacts screen and you will see that all contacts are now hidden.

  10. To reveal all contacts again, return to Groups. Select Show All Contacts to bring back your complete contact list or the specific Group only.

    Steps to show all contacts in Contacts app on an iPhone.


Contact Groups can be of any size. You can create a group of one and hide all your contacts or create a larger group of key contacts while hiding the rest.

Use Nicknames to Hide Real Contact Names

You can hide any name by using a nickname in the Contact app's first and last name fields. But iOS also supports Short Names or Nicknames from Settings. Nicknames aren't foolproof, but they can help you camouflage specific contact names from the call screen or the Contacts list. 

  1. On the Contacts list, select the name you want to give a nickname to.

  2. Select Edit.

    Steps to edit a contact in the Contacts app on an iPhone.
  3. Scroll down and tap add field.

  4. Select Nickname from the list. This is added as an extra field on the contact's information screen.

  5. Enter any nickname. This name will flash on the screen when the person calls instead of their real name.

    Steps to add the nickname field (and where to use it) in the Contacts app on an iPhone.
  6. To get iOS to use it, go to Settings > Contacts > Short Name and enable Prefer Nicknames.

    The steps to use nicknames in Contacts app on an iPhone.


In iOS 15, a bug may prevent the display of the nickname when a call comes in. But nicknames work with Spotlight Search and iMessage.

Turn Off Spotlight Search Settings

Someone can bring up specific contacts with a Spotlight search. Spotlight can display contacts even when the screen is locked unless you disable the Spotlight Search settings.

  1. Go to Settings > Siri & Search.

  2. Select Contacts by going down the list of apps.

  3. Turn off each setting under While Searching and Suggestions.

    Steps to remove Contacts awareness in Siri on an iPhone.

How Do I Find Hidden Contacts on My iPhone?

You may have hidden some contacts in a Group and forgotten about them. To uncover them, return to Groups. Select Show All Contacts to bring back your compete contact list.

How Do You Hide a Contact on iMessage?

Again, there are no default methods to completely hide contacts on iMessage. But these two methods can give you a sense of privacy.

Hide Message Alerts

The most secure way to hide a contact on iMessage is to delete the conversation or use a private messaging app. But you can have partial privacy by hiding messaging alerts.

  1. Open the Messages app.

  2. Select the specific contact who uses iMessage.

  3. Tap on the Profile icon.

  4. Toggle the switch for Hide Alerts to On.

    Steps to hide alerts on the per contact basis in the Contacts app on an iPhone.

Use Message Filtering

You can also hide a contact by deleting their number from Contacts. iOS then filters messages from unknown senders into a separate list. It also turns off iMessage notifications from senders who aren’t in your contacts. Then, use the Unknown Senders list to view their messages.

  1. Delete the specific contact.

  2. Go to Settings > Messages > Message Filtering > Filter Unknown Senders.

  3. Enable the toggle switch.

    Steps to filter out unknown senders in Messages settings in iOS.


The above steps can protect your privacy from prying eyes, but a knowledgeable user can easily bypass them. Combine the above methods with lock screen privacy settings for iOS to hide your contacts.

  • How do I delete multiple contacts on iPhone?

    iOS doesn't have a fast way to remove multiple contacts at once. You can, however, do so on a Mac. Either open the Contacts app, or go to iCloud and select Contacts. From the list, click the contacts you want to delete while holding Command, and you can select multiples. Then, press Delete on your keyboard to remove them all at once. Because your Contacts app syncs across all devices you're signed in on with your Apple ID, the changes you make will transfer to your phone.

  • How do I transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone?

    Your contacts travel with your Apple ID, so all you need to do to move them over is to sign in on the new device. Alternatively, you can set up or restore your new iPhone from a backup of the old one.

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