How to Hide Contacts on the iPhone

By Diana V. Faustmann

You probably accumulate a distinct set of contacts within each of your social and work circles. While you can sync them all to your iPhone from your computer, iCloud and other online sources, you don’t need to see all your contacts all the time on your device. With its Groups feature, the Contacts app enables you to hide or display specific groups of contacts as needed so that you can browse and search through them more efficiently. If you want more privacy, consider hiding sensitive contacts within a password-protected third-party iPhone app.

Hide Contacts Using the Contacts App

Step 1

Tap “Contacts” on the Home screen to see the list of your contacts.

Step 2

Touch “Groups” to display several clusters of contacts, each identified by the source from which you imported or synced them to your iPhone. For example, if you’ve permitted your iPhone to show your Facebook contacts, a contacts group called All Facebook is displayed. By default, each group is marked with a check mark, indicating that their contacts are visible in your Contacts app.

Step 3

Touch the “Hide All Contacts” button, which only displays if you have more than one group of contacts synced on the iPhone. This command conceals all your iPhone contacts. When you tap the “Contacts” app afterward, you’ll see a blank directory.

Step 4

Tap “Show All Contacts” to reveal all your groups, and then tap to uncheck only the group or groups you want to hide. When you tap the “Contacts” app, you won’t find the contacts from groups you’ve restricted, unless they’re duplicated in other groups.

Hide Contacts Using a Third-Party App

Step 1

Download and install one of several apps available from the App Store that can store contacts, data and media within password-protected folders, such as CoverMe (see Resources). Open the app, enter the password you established during the installation, and then tap “Sign In.”

Step 2

Touch “Friends,” followed by “Contacts.” If you didn’t previously allow this app to access your iPhone contacts, do so when prompted. Alternatively, tap “Settings,” select “Privacy,” tap “Contacts,” and then toggle the “CoverMe” switch to the On position.

Step 3

Tap “Add Private Contact,” and then choose “Import From Contacts.”

Step 4

Select the contacts you wish to hide, and then tap the check mark symbol. On the Move Contacts screen, choose “Yes” to retain their original records in the Contacts app. Alternatively, tap “No” to delete them for maximum concealment.

Tips & Warnings

  • With iTunes, you can sync groups created on your computer with your iPhone. However, you can’t configure their visibility or invisibility in the syncing process. ITunes only enables you to permit or prohibit specific contact groups from syncing.
  • Other well-rated third-party apps that can hide and password-protect your iPhone contacts include Secret Folder Icon, Smart Safe and Private Folder. Choose an app that best suits your needs and style after reviewing its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
  • Information in this article applies to iPhones running iOS 7.1. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.