5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 15, 2012 5:58 PM by mobi007
PaulWR Level 2 (275 points)

Is there a way to stop iPhone from creating parentheses, spaces and dashes in phone numbers? I want to create all phone numbers as just a string of numbers with no formatting for each country, just a plus sign (for international calling prefix) at the beginning. It seems that editing out the punctuation in Address Book or or the iPhone has no effect.


I've tried reformatting numbers manually in Address Book in my MBP but then, after I sync again, in iPhone they've automatically acquired punctuation and formatting again.


I then setup formatting in Address Book prefs to a 'Custom' setting - a plain simple string of numbers with a + sign in front. But it seems to have no effect once the numbers are in the iPhone.


I've tried editing those numbers in iPhone. I delete, say, a dash or a space and it automatically adds the dash or space again when I've finished and press "Done" to save it.


I've even tried deleting and re-creating (in Address Book) some of the problem contacts as new contacts, hoping my custom-formatting setting in Address Book prefs would stick, but it still turns into formatted numbers in the iPhone.


I tried turning off International Assist in iPhone settings but to no avail.


Any help much appreciated. Thank you.

MacBook Pro 3.02 GHz, 15, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 8GB RAM, 3 iPods, iPhone 3GS, iPad
  • ckuan Level 7 (29,553 points)

    The format depends on the country you use and I don't think you can change it.

  • PaulWR Level 2 (275 points)

    Does the iPhone just DISPLAY the number as formatted for the country I'm in, but retain the non-formatted version I created so that it can reformat it again to display in a relevant way when I change country? That is to say, does iPhone ACTUALLY store the unformatted number I created in Address Book on Mac, but simply DISPLAY the number according to each country I'm in? (I'm finding this issue very difficult to express, but it is vital to me and my business.)

    Thank you.

  • mattflynn Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm currently having the same problem. When I export my contact information from my HTC Desire HD memory card and then import them into my MBP Address Book it automatically puts in a hifan (dashes). I have changed my prefrences to United Kingdom and for the custom layout to be +########## but still no luck.


    I was just wondering whether you resolved the issue at all?

  • PaulWR Level 2 (275 points)

    No sorry mattflynn, I've not found a solution. I don't think there is one. It's unfortunately one of those situations where the technology designers take responsibility for deciding what the end user really wants, without any way of overriding it.

    I'm even finding that some numbers format differently from other numbers, and that when I change the settings for another country I'm in, it chnages some of the formatting again! Has a mind of its own. Amazing. I'd have thought that it was more difficult to design this method than a plain, format-your-own-phone-numbers system.


    Does your HTC Desire re-format +########### neutral strings of numbers also?

  • mobi007 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same problem guys but i found half the solution:



    It seems you can custom format numbers (many custom formats) in address book on a mac.

    Then address book is smart enough to figure out which format to use for which country.


    i.e. if you put +44 XXX XXX XXXX for a uk number, then it will automatically format it to THAT format as soon as you enter a number starting with 44. Furthermore, it will automatically update all +44 numbers to that format. You can have as many custom formats


    Then have everything synced automatically via icloud.


    Though it looks great in Address book,

    i still have a problem getting all that nice formatting to show up on the 4s


    Any ideas?