How to Manage Your Favorite iPhone Contacts in the Phone App

iPhone favorites in phone app
image credit: Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty Images

The iPhone's built-in Phone app makes it easy to call the people you talk to most by adding them to your Favorites list. With Favorites, you simply tap the name of the person you want to call and the call starts. Here's what you need to know to add and manage names and numbers in your iPhone's Favorites list.

How to Add Favorites in the iPhone Phone App

In order to make a contact a Favorite, you have to have already added the contact to your iPhone's Address Book. You can't create new contacts during this process. To learn how to create a new contact, read How to Manage Contacts in the iPhone Address Book.

Once the person you want to make a favorite is in your address book, add them to your Favorites list by following these steps:

  1. Tap the phone icon from the iPhone's the home screen
  2. Tap the Favorites menu at the bottom left
  3. Click the + at the top right to add favorites
  4. This brings up your full contacts list. Scroll through it, search, or jump to a letter to find the contact you want. When you've found the name, tap it
  5. In the menu that pops up, you can choose from various ways to contact the person, including Messages, Call, Video, or Mail (the options depend on how much information you've added). The option you choose will be how you contact the person from the Favorites screen. For instance, if you always text someone, tap Messages to make their Favorite open the Messages app. If you prefer to video chat, tap FaceTime (this only works if the contact has FaceTime, too, of course)
  6. Tap the item to add it or tap the down-arrow to see your options. When you tap the down arrow, the menu shows all options for that type of communication. For instance, if you have both a work and home number for someone, you'll be asked to make one your favorite  
  1. Tap the option you want
  2. That name and phone number are now listed in your Favorites menu. Next to the person's name is a small note indicating whether the number is work, home, mobile, etc. In iOS 7 and up, if you have a photo of the person in their Contact, you'll see it next to their name.

How to Rearrange Favorites

Once you've set a few favorites, you may want to rearrange their order. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Phone app
  2. Tap the Edit button in the top left
  3. This brings up a screen with red icons to the left of the favorites and an icon that looks like a stack of three lines on the right
  4. Tap the three-line icon and hold it. The Favorite you've selected will become active (when active, it appears to be slightly above the other Favorites)
  5. Drag the Favorite to the position in the list you want it to have and let it go
  6. Tap Done in the top left and the new order of your favorites will be saved.

Arranging Favorites in the 3D Touch Menu

If you've got an iPhone with a 3D Touchscreen—as of this writing, that's the iPhone 66S, and 7 series—there's another favorites menu. To reveal it, press hard on the Phone app icon on the home screen. If you've done that, you may be confused about how the favorites displayed there are chosen.

The three or four favorites (depending on your version of the iOS) are from the Favorites screen, in reverse order. That is, the number one favorite on that screen displays closest to the Phone app icon. The fourth favorite displays farthest from the icon.

So, if you want to change the order of favorites in the pop-out menu, change them on the main Favorites screen.

How to Remove Contacts from Favorites

There's bound to be a time in which you want to remove a Favorite from that screen. Whether that's because you change jobs or end a relationship or friendship, you'll probably need to update that screen.

To learn how to delete favorites, check out How to Remove Favorites From the iPhone Phone App.