What does the “maybe” label mean on iPhone contacts?
The “maybe” label that sometimes appears next to contacts on an iPhone indicates that the phone has made an educated guess about who the contact is based on available information, but cannot definitively identify the contact. Here are some common reasons why you might see this label:
The contact info doesn’t match an existing contact
If you receive a call or message from a phone number that isn’t already saved in your contacts, your iPhone will try to figure out who it might be based on information like the area code, emails associated with the number from previous messages, etc. If it has a good guess but can’t find an exact match, it will display the name as “Maybe: [Guessed Name]”.
The contact has multiple phone numbers
If a contact in your address book has multiple phone numbers listed, your iPhone will default to showing the mobile number. If you get a call from one of their other numbers, it may show as “Maybe” since it doesn’t match the default mobile number.
The name is associated with multiple contacts
If you have multiple contacts who have the same first and/or last name, your iPhone won’t know for sure which contact is associated with an incoming call. It will make a guess based on other info it has, but display “maybe” to indicate uncertainty about which contact it actually is.
Information changed on the sender’s end
Your contacts info is only as up to date as the last time you updated it. If the sender recently changed their phone number or other info on their end, your iPhone will see the mismatch and show “maybe” while guessing who it might be based on old information.
The number is not from your contacts
For truly unknown numbers not associated with any of your contacts, iPhone will try to look up information on the number through your phone carrier or other databases. If it’s able to gather clues about the number this way, it may show a guess with “maybe”, since the number does not actually exist in your contact list.
Should I add contacts marked “maybe” to my address book?
If it’s a number you expect to be in contact with regularly, it can be worth adding it to your contacts to avoid the “maybe” issue in the future. Here are some pros and cons of adding a “maybe” entry to your address book:
- Eliminates the “maybe” label on future calls/messages
- Allows you to save the correct name to avoid confusion
- Lets you add additional info like an email address or photo
- Could result in duplicate contacts if your guess is wrong
- Not necessary for one-off interactions with people not in your contacts
- The number may change if it was entered incorrectly
How can I tell if a “maybe” contact is accurate?
There are a few ways to sleuth out who a “maybe” contact really is so you’ll know whether or not to add them to your address book:
Try calling or messaging the number
The simplest way is to directly call or text the number. Let them know you received a call/text from them but don’t have their info. Ask them to confirm their name.
Check your call/message history
Look for past incoming or outgoing calls/texts with the same number. The content and contact name on previous conversations can give clues about who it is.
Cross-reference with contacts
Manually go through your contacts looking for names that match, or partial number matches. This can help you identify the caller if their info changed.
Check email addresses
Email addresses attached to incoming messages can be a great identifier. Search your contacts for matching email addresses to hone in on the correct person.
Use a reverse phone lookup
There are various free phone number lookup services that can use public records and other sources to get the name associated with a phone number. This can confirm who the caller is.
Ask your carrier
Some cell phone carriers have number lookup services on their websites for customers. Or you can call and ask if they have any identifying info associated with the caller’s number.
What should I do if a “maybe” contact seems wrong?
If your iPhone keeps labeling a contact with the wrong name, here are some troubleshooting steps:
- Check that the number matches what you have saved. It may be a secondary number you don’t have stored.
- Look for name variants like nicknames or initials that may be throwing it off.
- Make sure your own contacts are cleaned up with consistent formats to avoid confusion.
- Remove old contacts you no longer have the numbers for.
- Toggle “My Info” on/off under the contact’s name to reset it.
- Update your iPhone’s operating system, which can sometimes fix glitches.
- As a last resort, delete the contact and re-add it from scratch.
Can I make iPhone stop showing “maybe” on contacts?
There is no setting to disable the “maybe” label completely. Your iPhone will always try to guess at contacts it can’t definitively identify. But there are a few things you can try to cut down on maybe contacts:
- Add common contacts that show up as “maybe” to your address book.
- Consolidate entries that have duplicate or outdated numbers.
- Clean up contacts without names or other identifier info.
- Make sure your own contact card has accurate info for calls you make.
- Turn off “My Info” under the names of contacts you know to be correct.
- Toggle “Share My Location” off for contacts so it doesn’t pull in others.
While iPhone’s “maybe” feature can be helpful for identifying unknown callers, it can also be annoying for frequent contacts it can’t get right. Taking the time to clean up your contacts directly on your iPhone can help minimize instances where it doesn’t know who someone is.
The “maybe” designation on iPhone contacts is simply its way of telling you that it has made an educated guess about a caller or texter’s identity, but doesn’t have enough information to know for sure who the person is. While it can be helpful in piecing together who an unknown number may be, it can also be frustrating when applied incorrectly to established contacts. By adding new numbers, removing old contacts, and keeping your address book organized, you can reduce the frequency of seeing “maybe” next to callers you actually know. Be sure to verify the name before adding any “maybe” entries permanently to your contacts.
|Contact has multiple numbers||iPhone showing non-default number as “Maybe”||Add alternate numbers to contact|
|Sender changed information||Outdated contact info on your phone||Update contact with new info|
|Multiple contacts with similar names||Insufficient info to identify unique contact||Add identifying details to distinguish contacts|
|Number not in your contacts||Truly unknown caller or texter||Lookup number via carrier or third-party service|