iOS makes it super-easy to quickly find a friend on your contacts list when you're text messaging. Just start typing their name, select it when it pops up, and you're good to go. Unfortunately, over time, that contact list gets a little cluttered. The Sweet Setup shows how to clean it up.
When you start typing a name into the "To:" field of a text message, it shows your current contacts and a recently contacted list, which often includes people who aren't even in your contacts list anymore. Here's how to get rid of them:
If you want to start a massive cleanup session, you will want to start a message with each letter of the alphabet and look for contacts with the "i" symbol to the right. If you tap on that, you will see the option to "Remove from recents." Tap it and that contact is gone. Just repeat this process for each contact you want removed. You can then move onto the next letter of the alphabet. While this can take a while, it's a great way to pass some time in a waiting room.
This should make typing new messages a little quicker since you'll be able to find who you're actually looking for a bit faster.
Quick Tip: Clear unwanted contacts from Messages [The Sweet Setup]