[5 Ways] How to Delete Read-only Contacts on iPhone Easily

If you are wondering how to delete contacts that are read-only on iPhone, this post must be worth reading, which guides you to erase them so easily!

Kathy by Kathy Updated October 18, 2023
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What does the iPhone read-only contact error mean?

The "read-only" contact error on an iPhone means that you can only view the contact and can't edit or delete it. Additionally, contacts synced to the device through iCloud cannot be modified or removed.

So, when you delete read-only contacts on iPhone, you may get an error saying not all contacts were deleted. But don’t worry, we will explain why your contacts are read-only and show you how to delete read-only contacts on iPhone easily.


Why are some contacts read-only?

Several factors can contribute to this issue.

enlightenedRead-only mode: The device may have been set to read-only mode due to a hardware problem or a change in the user's settings.
enlightenedSynced from another device: The contact might have been created on a different device and subsequently synced to your iPhone.
enlightenedImported from third-party services: The contact may be imported from external platforms like Google Contacts or Facebook.
enlightenedApp-based creation: The contact might have originated from messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Skype.

Now you can keep on reading to learn how to erase them on your iPhone easily.

How to delete read-only contacts on iPhone

5 ways are listed here to solve your problem. And FoneTool must be the easiest way to make it in one click.

Method 1. How to delete contacts on iPhone efficiently

If you want to delete all read-only contacts quickly and conveniently, FoneTool will help you a lot. It is a professional iPhone data eraser enabling you to one-click delete all contacts from your iPhone even though they are read-only. 

And it comes with a backup feature, which allows you to selectively back up your contacts to a Windows PC before the erasing. Now you can click the download button to finish the process.  And if you have already backed up contacts or don’t need a backup, you can skip to part 2 to remove them directly.

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Part 1. Selectively back up useful iPhone contacts to Windows PC

Step 1. Connect the iPhone to your computer via USB > You may need to tap Trust to let your computer access iPhone data.

Step 2. Open FoneTool, and click Phone Backup > Selective Backup > Click Get Started.


Step 3. Check the Contacts icon and uncheck the others > Preview and select the contacts you’d like to back up to computer > Click OK to confirm.


Step 4. Then select a backup destination by clicking Backup Storage Path, and tap Start Backup.

start to back up contacts

After the backup, you can erase all your contacts on the iPhone without worrying about data loss.  

Part 2. How to delete contacts on iPhone

Step 1. Choose Toolbox and select Data Erase. Go to Erase private data and click Get Started.


Step 2. Tap the Contacts option and you can enable Deep Erase Technology if you need to delete read-only contacts completely. Then click Start Erase to make it.


Tip: As you can see, except for erasing contacts, FoneTool can help you delete documents and data such as photos, videos, music, etc. on iPhone.

Once the process is finished, you can go to the Backup History to restore your useful contacts from the backup.

Method 2. Disable the iCloud contacts sync

If you don’t need a third-party app to tackle the issue, you can also choose to delete contacts via iCloud.

Step 1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone > Tap on your Apple ID > Choose iCloud > Contacts to toggle it off.

Step 2. Then choose the Delete from My iPhone option in the pop-up window to remove contacts.

delete read-only contacts

Step 3. Then restart your iPhone and back to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Contacts and toggle the option next to Contacts on > Delete the contacts again.

Then you can open the contacts app on iPhone and verify if the read-only contacts are still visible.

Method 3. Clear the read-only contacts from iCloud

Deleting the contact from iCloud is also available. Here's how to delete a read-only contact on iPhone from iCloud:

Step 1. Visit iCloud.com and log in using your Apple ID, which is the same one you use on your iPhone.

Step 2. Access the Contacts app on iCloud.com > Scroll down to find the contact you want to delete > Tap Edit button and then scroll down to delete multiple contacts on iPhone.

delete contacts

Method 4. Remove the read-only contact from its associated account

To solve the issue, you can also go to the respective app to delete the contact from the associated account, such as WhatsApp, Google Contacts, or Skype. Here we take WhatsApp as an example:

Go to the WhatsApp app > Click the Chat tab to find the chat related with this contact > Swipe the chat from right to left and click More… > Choose Clear Chat to make it.

delete whatsapp contacts

Method 5. Factory reset iPhone to remove contacts

Clearing all app data from your device can be another useful approach.  Before the process, it's better to fully back up iPhone data with FoneTool to avoid data loss. (Go to Phone Backup > Full Bakcup)

Then you can go to the Settings app on your iPhone > Select General and then tap on Reset > Choose Erase All Content and Settings.


Finally, open the Contacts app on your iPhone to check if the read-only contacts are deleted successfully.


These are all about how to delete read-only contacts on iPhone, and it has to say that FoneTool will give you the most convenient way to clear read-only contacts from your iPhone. And you can also solve the read-only contacts problem by other 4 methods.

Except for deleting contacts, FoneTool also helps you remove messages from iPhone but not iCloud if your text messages take up too much storage.

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