You removed a contact from your phonebook but the contact shows up when you tap on New Message and proceed to fill the recipient's name. You'll find that the deleted contact is actually visible and available in many places. Fire up the Spotlight and type the first few letters of the name and the deleted contact shows up.
By removing it from the recent list, you won't see that contact detail again. This comes in handy especially when one of your contacts changes his/her number and your iPhone still shows the old one. It can be confusing to see two contacts and not know which number is active.
Obviously, it's a cache bug (or more like feature). If you find that it's a little annoying, Apple does provide a way to remove this. Take a look.
Here's how to delete recent contacts from messages app (and other apps in iOS):
- Go to the Messages app and tap on the New Message icon
- In the recipient field, tap the name of the recently-deleted contact (or a part of the number)
- When the contact shows up in the list, you should see a blue ‘i' icon right next to the contact you just deleted
- Tap on the ‘i' icon. Next, tap on Remove from Recents
- That's about it. The contact will no longer show up
It's really that simple. This will remove the contact from the cache (of recent contacts) and it will make sure that the deleted contact doesn't show up anywhere in iOS.
The problem doesn't appear for contacts that you have not communicated with (via Email, Message or FaceTime). It's mostly for contacts that you have communicated with via these services. The Recent Contacts list holds a cache of contact data (contacts that you have recently talked/messaged to) and it's not available to modify (just like Autocorrect dictionary).