I spent a great deal of time recently looking for a contacts manager. I have close to 150 contacts & I just wanted a better way to organize them, search them, & use them than Apple’s Contacts app.
There are a ton of contacts managers & many of them are FREE or have FREE versions to try before you buy. Many of them integrate social functions like adding recent Facebook updates or Tweets, but I decided this was not a feature I needed. I think I may have downloaded just about all of the available FREE apps & a few paid ones to boot.
Well, I finally hit the jackpot with Contaqs – the Contact Manager. It has absolutely everything I was looking for & more that I didn’t know I wanted until I got it.
There is no FREE version of Contaqs to try, so I just had to take a leap & hope that Contaqs was a good app. My leap paid off in a big way.
Contaqs is a universal app (photos above show main view on iPad & iPhone). There are very few contacts managers that are universal, so this is really quite a bonus feature for Contaqs.
There are so many features packed into this “enhanched address book” that it is hard to know where to start.
Let’s start with searching, which is the 1st thing you do when you open your Contacts app anyway.
The list view (photos above) is quite beautiful & elegant, especially compared to the bare bones Apple Contacts list view. Contacts are displayed on mini-profile cards with their photo in a little circle & their main information available right on the card.
If you’re just looking for a phone number or email address, you don’t even have to open the profile to find it in Contaqs. It’s right there on the mini-profile.
Searching for someone in Contaqs is super easy. Just click the 3 lines in the top, left corner to open up the options menu.
From this menu, you can do just about everything. For searching, you can always just type the name into the search bar at the top of just about any screen & find the person easily. But, if you can’t happen to remember the name of the person you’re searching for, you’re in luck.
There are also about a billion ways to search for people without knowing exactly who you’re looking for. Contaqs calls these Smart Lists & there are many of them.
You can search for people using everything from family relationship & nickname to city & zip code. You can also search for all the contacts you have that have a birthday in their profile or all the contacts that don’t have an email or address listed, etc. You can even search for all the people who don’t have images in their profile.
Contaqs puts badges after all the “without” Smart Lists, so you know exactly how many people you’re sorting through before you choose that list.
One thing the iPhone version has that the iPad version is missing (at least I can’t find it) is a filter available from the main view of the contacts.
The filter is located under the 3 lines that opens the options menu. When you press it, you get a list like the 1 in the photo. You can sort your contacts by everything from first & last name to company & city, plus many more.
This filter then reorders your contacts list according to the filter you chose.
The other thing the iPhone version has that the iPad does not makes a lot of sense. It has a Keypad accessible through the options menu. This allows you to directly dial your iPhone & make a call without leaving the app.
I think my only wish for Contaqs is that when you finish making a call, texting someone, or sending an email, you would be returned to the place you were at in the app. I noticed this feature in 1 or 2 of the other apps I tested & I really liked it, but you can’t have everything. I’ll take Contaqs lovely user interface & seamless contacts management over my little wish any day.
One last way to find people is by location. You can either search for all the contacts you have that are nearby (which brings up a map with the contacts listed to the left) or you can just bring up a map with pins on it locating all the contacts you have that have an address (photo above).
Just click on any pin to see who the person is & click on the blue arrow to got to their profile information. You can even search for a specific person in the search bar, as long as that person has an address listed in their profile.
Now that you’re done searching & have found the person you’re looking for, let’s look at how you can interact with the mini-profiles.
When you’re just in the list view of contacts, the quickest way to get ahold of somebody is by swiping right on their little profile. This will open up an elegant little menu (left photo) that gives you the options of calling them, emailing them, & texting them.
When you tap 1 of those options, you are taken to the appropriate Apple app that does that function (Phone, Email, Messages). Calls are made immediately. No dialing necessary. Texts & emails are started with that person’s information entered (if they have more than 1 way to contact them by a certain method, a pop-up of those options will come up for you to choose which 1 you want).
You can also swipe to the left on the little profiles in list view. This brings up 2 options (right photo). The top option will create an email with that person’s contact information in a convenient card format ready to send to whomever. The bottom option lets you edit that person’s profile information.
If you’d rather just view a person’s entire profile, just tap on their name in the list view to bring it up.
The profiles have a cool little feature that lets you see the entire photo of the person instead of just the little circle. Just grab the circle & pull down to make the photo above it grow larger (left photo).
Another neat feature available in the profile view is a button to add the person to your home screen. Pressing it brings up a web page in Safari with a square photo icon & the person’s name. From there, you just follow the directions to add the button to your iDevice’s home screen.
That means that you then don’t even have to open Contaqs to contact that person. You just press the icon on your home screen to call the person & it also opens that person’s profile in Contaqs.
You can also edit a person’s profile from the profile view. Just click the pencil to start editing (right photo). This brings up all the fields that are available in Apple’s Contacts app & lets you add a photo if you have 1.
There are 3 main ways to view your contacts in Contaqs. Just open the options menu to choose whether to view your Favorites, all your Contacts, or Groups of contacts. There are badges next to each 1 to tell you how many people or groups are in each view.
Putting people into groups is very easy. You can press & hold on a contact in the list view & just drag them up to a group (left photo), if you have groups already made. You can also drag them to the delete button to get rid of them.
Additionally, you can press the pencil in the list view & tap the circle next to each name you want to put in a group. Then, you just press the word Contacts at the top of the screen to bring up a menu that lets you add the selected people to a group, to Favorites, or just contact those people using email or text (right photo). You can also Copy the selected people & Send their information to others via email.
If you need to create groups from scratch, just go to the Groups view from the options menu & choose Add Group at thee bottom of the screen. Creating groups is great if you frequently need to contact a group of people all at once or for finding people quickly based on group affiliation.
Oh no! I forgot to tell you how to add a new contact. I guess that’s a pretty basic thing you’ll need to do.
Creating a new contact is as simple as pressing the + button in the top, right corner of almost any screen. You can also open the options menu & choose New Contact right at the top of the list. Then, just enter the information & click the checkmark to finish.
There are 3 more features in Contaqs that are both essential & cool.
Near the bottom of the options menu you’ll find the selection to Backup your contacts list. Backing up your contacts list is relatively quick & creates a file that you can email to yourself as an attachment & save somewhere in case you ever lose your iDevice or for some other reason lose your contacts.
Below the Backup option is an option to Remove Duplicates. This cool feature scans your contact list & alerts you to any duplicates that exist. You can then choose what you want to delete.
The last feature is just plain cool & quite a bonus feature for a contacts manager.
Contaqs has several ways to keep track of the birthdays of your contacts. You can see all the birthdays you have added to your contacts in list form by selecting Birthdays in the options menu. You can also just view Upcoming Birthdays to see birthdays that are happening soon.
But, the best way to view birthdays in Contaqs is using the Birthday Calendar (photo above). You can flip through the months & see everyone who has a birthday in a given month. Click on the day that has a picture on it & the contact information for that person pops up under the calendar. It’s really very cool!
The very last selection in the options menu is Settings. The Settings menu has loads of useful things you can set for your preferences for Contaqs.
The 1st thing in Settings is Accounts. This shows you which accounts you have linked to your contacts (like iCloud or Exchange). You can choose to have Contaqs show all the contacts in every account or just the contacts in a certain account.
Secondly, you can choose which of the 3 main views Contaqs opens to: Favorites, Groups, or Contact list. On the iPhone, you can also choose to have the app open to the Keypad, instead.
Under My Contact, you can choose which contact is yours by selecting from the list under Set My Contact.
Turn on the Birthday Reminder to have Contaqs alert you when a contact’s birthday is nearing. Once you turn it on, you can choose the reminder time, day, & sound of the alert tone.
Deleting the cache can really save you some space in the memory footprint of the app.
Under the Support section, you’ll find frequently asked questions, what’s new in the most recent update, a walkthrough for the app (which I guess you don’t need now), & a link to send suggestions to the developer.
Phew! That was quite the walkthrough! If there’s a feature I missed telling you about in Contaqs, I just won’t believe it.
It was a long, hard search to find a contacts manager that met all of my expectations, but Contaqs made it all worth it. Contaqs is beautiful to look at, easy to use, & has features that make keeping in touch with your family & friends fun. Take the leap & try Contaqs today.
That’s it for me today. Until later, …