There Is No Better Address Book App for IOS
As part of a 2018 update of Lifehacker’s (growing) list of essential iOS apps, I dug around a bit to find third-party address book management apps that were better than Apple’s default Contacts app.
There is none. At least from what I found, it shouldn’t have been worth using for more than a day (or even getting installed on my iPhone to start with). And even the process of giving other people access to your contacts is worrying because you don’t know what other companies are doing with the information you provide.
What’s wrong with the Apple Contacts app?
Let me go back just a minute. Apple’s Contacts app is fine for the basics, but it’d be great if it gave you more ways to automate getting information. For example, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to link different social media services – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Mastodon , etc. – and have your contacts automatically update whenever friends or colleagues make changes to their information?
Heck, I’m still missing a feature removed in iOS 11 that allowed you to import your Facebook contacts’ profile photos. It never worked perfectly, but it was better than looking at a big gray silhouette. Conversely, I would like to know about my friends’ job updates without downloading all the LinkedIn contacts I have to my device. And those who are more popular than me – which shouldn’t take long – will probably want an easy way to eliminate duplicate multiple contacts if they’ve imported tons of contacts from other services.
Third-party contact management apps can be a headache
There are several contact management apps in the App Store, but I was not impressed. The ones I’ve tried so far, including Covve , CircleBack, and Sync.mc, either seem overly complex in the sense of “edge CRM”, are very encouraging to sign up for premium subscription services, don’t work at all, or make mine privacy flag start fluttering.
This last point, in particular, is a great reason not to share your contact information with other apps and services. I’m not saying Apple or Google are perfect, but I firmly believe they don’t create some kind of secret database of contact information for possible misuse (like selling data to other companies, Facebook coughs). Apps and services that you don’t know much about but want you to import for all of your contacts into their databases to help you “manage” your address book makes me (and others) a little nervous .
Even if you don’t care about your own privacy because you don’t really care about others associating your phone number with your social media accounts or work credentials, think about your friends. Depending on which app or service you use, you can help the company create a digital dossier of someone who has refused to share their information – all thanks to you. As mentioned, you are contributing to the Facebook effect .
I have used various “sync” apps over the years to improve my contact list, and now I wish I had. For those closest to you, just take a photo of their faces and save it as your main image. If you don’t have someone’s last number, use the many messaging services at your disposal to ask them for an updated number. You can even do it in person the next time you see them.
And if updating contacts on iPhone is too difficult and you don’t have a Mac to update your iCloud contacts, use Google Contacts instead. The service allows you to remove duplicates, manage information about your contacts and remove people you are not interested in. Sync Google List with your iPhone or iPad and use it instead of iCloud contacts. You should at least be able to regain control of your address book a bit without letting some random service organize it by browsing your virtual Rolodex and copying whatever it can.