Keeping Track of People

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Dec 6

Keeping Track of People

December 6, 2023 @ 11:30 am - 12:45 pm EST

Man Putting His Black Iphone 5 on His Left Ear

The Contacts app is probably the most boring app on your Apple device. But in many ways, it’s also the most important. Your iPhone, iPad, or Mac is first and foremost a communications device. Think of all the ways you communicate with people (phone calls, email, video calls, texting) and it’s the Contacts app that makes all of this easy.

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Meeting Summary

Summary was generated by ai and may contain inaccuracies.

Website Launch and Contacts App Presentation

Mike Kwasniak initiated the meeting and introduced Chita, the moderator for the day. Mike Kwasniak announced the launch of their new website,, and shared their intention to speak at the next meeting about color photography. Mike Matthews then took over the presentation, discussing the significance of the contacts app on various devices. They highlighted the importance of maintaining accurate and complete contact cards, using photos, and adding one’s own information. Mike also demonstrated how to use the contacts app on the Mac. No questions were raised during this presentation.

Contact Management System Features

Mike Matthews discussed the features of a contact management system. They highlighted the ability to add comprehensive information about contacts, including birthdays, addresses, and photos, and demonstrated how to add these details and create lists or groups for efficient communication. They also mentioned the ability to use the Apple’s mail app to fill in email addresses for a list of contacts and explained the smart list feature on the Mac contacts app, which allows users to sync contacts across devices via iCloud and creates lists that automatically update based on specific criteria. Finally, Mike mentioned the search field at the top of the screen, which can be used to search for any specific information within the contacts app.

Contacts Card Relationship and Customization Tutorial

Mike Matthews explained how to add a brother and sister relationship in the contacts card, which includes a tutorial on adding custom labels. The discussion also covered the ability to add multiple spouses’ phone numbers and birthdays. However, Mike suggested that the app works best with one person per card, even when splitting spouses. Later, Mike provided information on the settings window for the contacts app and how to customize the display preferences.

Contact Sorting and Display Options

Mike Matthews discussed the sorting and display options for contacts in a contacts app. They explained that contacts can be sorted by last name or first name, and that the display order can be customized to show the first name first. They also mentioned a feature called short name format, which is useful for group chats where space might be limited. Mike further discussed the option to store contacts with different internet companies like Google, Apple, or Yahoo, but recommended keeping all contacts in one place for simplicity. They also touched on the ability to change the template for new contact cards, the universal Vcard format for contact information, and a feature called ‘private me card’ which allows selective sharing of personal information.

Contacts, Syncing, and List Making

Mike Matthews and Chita addressed questions related to settings and list creation. They discussed the issue of contact duplication, with Mike suggesting that it might be due to syncing or transferring contacts between devices. They advised caution when using the ‘Merge Duplicates’ command and recommended exporting the entire contacts archive as a backup before proceeding. They also discussed the process of merging duplicate contacts in the contacts app, emphasizing that it’s useful when there are only a few duplicates. Lastly, they addressed a question from Billy about list making, confirming that it can now be done on the phone as well.

Contacts App Features and Sharing Concerns

Mike Matthews discussed the new feature in the phone contacts app that allows the creation of lists and the addition of individuals to those lists. They also addressed Karen’s question about sharing a list of over a hundred email addresses with another block leader without exposing everyone’s identity. Mike suggested using the BCC field to put the addresses in the body of the email, and the recipient could then create contacts from that. They also touched upon Mary’s query about keeping Nugmug addresses separate from personal contacts. However, they clarified that it’s not possible to import a group without integrating it into the existing contacts. Finally, they acknowledged Betty’s issue with the Mac’s contacts app being uncooperative, and suggested using iCloud as an alternative.

Contact List Management Concerns

Keith Kaiser raised a concern about the absence of a nickname field in the smart list creation. Mike Matthews suggested a workaround, which involved using the note field to store the nickname for each contact. Cynthia Nicholson then asked if they could merge their husband’s contact list onto their computer without overwriting theirs. Mike explained a method involving exporting and importing a contact archive, which could potentially lead to duplicate contacts. They advised keeping both duplicates and suggested a shortcut to manage the process more efficiently.

Contacts List Management and Features Demonstration

Mike Matthews discussed the use of the option key in the contacts list and its significance in understanding which list a selected contact is on. They also touched on the process of cleaning up the contacts list to eliminate duplicates. They emphasized the importance of maintaining comprehensive and accurate contact information for easier use across various apps such as the mail and messages app, shared documents, and the health app. They further discussed the features of the maps app, including the search for contacts within the app, the airdrop feature, and the ability to filter messages based on known contacts and businesses. They demonstrated the list feature on the phone and explained how all list management can be done directly on the phone or iPad. Lastly, they demonstrated how to use the contacts app on a phone or iPad to send emails to specific contacts.

iCloud Contacts Storage and Merging Solutions

Mike Matthews discussed the use of iCloud for storing contacts, providing a solution for Don and Carolyn’s issues with duplicate contacts. Ed raised a concern about Siri not recognizing a company name when a contact’s name is included, which Mike couldn’t resolve. Karen brought up a problem with printing a block leader or member list, which Mike suggested could be a bug. Finally, Jurij asked about merging two duplicate lists of contacts, to which Mike proposed a workaround using the Mac’s drag-and-drop feature.

Efficient Dialing Methods and Contact Sharing Features

Stephen suggested a method to Mike Matthews for dialing numbers with extensions more efficiently. They advised creating a contact with a fake name and adding a phone number with an extension. Stephen also mentioned a workaround for Mac users to dial numbers, which involves pressing a comma after typing the number. Chita then clarified the difference between rebuilding and retrieving in the context of the contacts database. A participant, Fred, raised an issue about frequent failures in dialing numbers from the Mac, which Mike suggested might be related to the number not being set up for FaceTime. Finally, Mike demonstrated a feature on the phone that allows users to share specific information about a contact.


December 6, 2023
11:30 am - 12:45 pm EST
Event Category:


Mike Matthews
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