I'm with you. I am trying to help my nearly blind 87 year old mother setup her iphone and her contacts emails came from one source, those people's phone numbers from another and now I have duplicate contacts for everyone, one entry with their Email, another with their phone number. There must be a quick and simple way to merge the duplicates into single contact entries in iCloud. Isn't there? (she uses an iphone, an ipad but her desktop is a windows based machine.)
I ended up using an app called "ContactClean Pro" with this I could compare and merge and eventually got things tidied up, I still use it today on my iphone 6 although rarely have anything to clean up any more. It was well worth the 99 cents but still has me wondering why Apple couldn't have this feature built in.
for other people's reference, I gave up on iCloud (which at the risk of offending Apple people strikes me as insanely non-intuitive. But that is another issue) as I could not find any mass De-Dupping feature.
In the end I am using the Gmail contact system to clean things up.
I basically exported all my mother's entire contact list from iCloud (dups and all) and imported them into the webbased Gmail contacts system. That has a very simple De-Dupping feature (though I have to go through and manually clean up the names so that they match and can be ided as dups.)
I'll then either specify Gmail as my mother's Contact option on her iPhone or I'll reimport the list once cleansed to iCloud.
But really, one should not have to go to 3rd party apps to do something as simple as this. (Maybe Steve Jobs had a PA to do all this nonsense and never had to do it himself.)
actually it is Google Contacts I am using, not Gmail perse.
I agree with you wholeheartedly about your earlier comment, i.e. this should be a feature in iCloud (I'm paraphrasing). If you use the new Google Contacts Preview, there is a option to click on Find Duplicates which I've found to work really well cleaning up duplicate contacts. Good luck!