Gone are the days of dusty old address books filled with scribbles and scratched-out contacts in a variety of different colors of ink. Instead, we can keep all of our contacts right on our iPhones and iPads, and updating information doesn't require a second page. But, with advances in storing contacts comes the woes of managing them.
If you feel overwhelmed by how many people you know and all of the different ways in which you can get in touch with them, there is a solution - contact manager apps - and we've got a list of the best ones to suit your needs.
Cloze Relationship Manager
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Cloze is so much more than just a contacts manager. It's like a personal assistant for keeping track of important information about people you interact with. Any successful business person will tell you that the key to a good client relationship is remembering their personal details. Cloze prefects that by analyzing your activities on your iPhone, like your recent email activities and call histories, to build a list of contacts you should stay in touch with regularly, sometimes, or someday. There are dozens of features for actively managing your work relationships, like adding action items to your agenda, sending reminders to contact people, sorting your contacts by when you talked to them last, and a whole lot more. You can connect your productivity apps, like Dropbox, OneNote, and Office365, plus your social media activities.
It's free to download and use the basic features, but the most useful features are part of the Pro tier, which you can subscribe to for $19.99 per month or $159.99 per year. This is no simple contacts manager. If you're a busy business person, you should definitely try Cloze's 14-day free trial to see if its right for you.
My Contacts Backup Pro
My Contacts Backup Pro does one thing really well: backup your contacts. All you have to do is tap the backup button and it will sync your contact data to build a vCard list or a CSV Excel spreadsheet. Email it to yourself and you're done. If for some reason, you lose all of your contacts on your iPhone, all you have to do is open the attachment from the email and everything you backed up will import back into the Contacts app.
If you don't feel the need to manage your contacts, but do like the idea of securely backing them up, My Contacts Backup Pro is a one-tap process for you. If your contact list isn't too big, there is also a free version that is limited to 500 contacts.
Smart Merge Pro
Do you have duplicate contacts in your address book? Do you have two contacts for the same person, but one of them includes a work phone number and the other includes a home email? You need Smart Merge. It sniffs out similar contacts and lets you merge them into one. It then deletes the duplicates so you have a more organized list of contacts. Plus, it automatically backs up your contacts and sends you an email attachment of the vCard list that you can use to rebuild your address book with if something happens.
Smart Merge Pro also separates out contacts that are missing names, phone numbers or email addresses so you can go through each one and delete or update the information. You can filter contacts by recently added, birthdays, company, or job title. So, if you're looking for that guy you met last week that works for Google, but can't remember his name, you'll be able to track him down easier with the filter tool.
If you're tired of having duplicates or email addresses with no name attached, Smart Merge will help you organize and clean out your contacts.
In real life, we tend to put our friends, family, and business associates into social groups. Why not do that with your contacts? With Connect, you can quickly separate your contacts into as many groups as you want. Then, you can send an email or text message to everyone in a group with one tap.
You can also call, email, text message, or FaceTime with any single contact by swiping to the right. It's great for getting directly to how you want to communicate with friends and family.
If you are big on organizing your contacts into groups, Connect will make it super easy to split them up into as many customized lists as you like.
If you have contacts across a variety of different services, like Google, iCloud, Xing, Foursquare, and Microsoft Exchange, FullContact will bring them all together and—you guessed it!—bind them. You can connect each address book and see them in a unified contacts list.
When you select an individual, you can see their various social connections, including Tumblr and Twitter, and even view their most recent updates. You can find out more about where your friends work if you have their company email address.
FullContact does not connect iCloud contacts directly if you have two-step verification turned on. So be aware that you will need to create an app-specific password to sync your iCloud contacts.
It's free to download and sync a single account but to sync and merge multiple contacts. you'll need the pro model, which will cost you $99 per year, a price that may be worth it if you have more than five contact accounts that are important to maintain.
If you have multiple email accounts across different services, FullContact will bring them all together in one place for you.
How do you manage your contacts? Let us know in the comments.
Updated July 2018: Added Cloze Relationship Manager.
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Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books. If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).