Friday, April 5, 2013

Have you ever duplicated your iPhone contacts?

Well, I have. I guess it's no surprise there! It's just one more episode in my Gracie Allen life.

If it can be done, sooner or later - because I like playing around with technology - I will find a way to do it. 

Our son and daughter-in-law (Josh and Lakin) were over at the house this weekend and she is a IT person. I love picking her brain when she comes over because other than her, there's no one around to get excited over apps and everything the iPhone is capable of! I had to block texting on Hubby's phone because he only wants to make and receive phone calls. I am finally getting him to actually leave a message on a voice mail as he doesn't like doing that either. 

Lakin was telling me that although iTunes claims to back up contacts, they really don't (yes! so I panicked of course, because I have almost 400 contacts on my phone.) She told me that she backs her contacts up with her google account. So...yes, that is what I did. And, some how or another, I duplicated all 378 contacts on my phone! (We have a business and if I call a business once, chances are I will be making a second call and I hate to look up numbers - so, it's easier just to store it. Also, we will be driving along and Hubby will inevitably ask me if I have that ONE number I DON'T!) So...I have this ginormous amount of phone contacts on my phone.

I am here to tell you today - that is, as of today - I have not found an easy way (the iPhone way) to divest yourself of all of the duplicated contacts, short of deleting each and every duplicate ONE AT A TIME. But, panicking the way I do, and then calling my cousin, Kelly (who to me is a genius because he is always getting me out of scrapes), who told me that there must be an app. Now, why didn't I think of that!? Have you ever asked a question on iTunes and found an app!? I went (figuratively) to the iTunes store.

Turns out, this must happen quite a lot, because there are a LOAD of apps to do just what I needed to do - delete duplicate contacts! After perusing a few and reading the reviews, I actually chose one, then a second, and then a third before I found the one I really thought did the job.

Before I had the need for these apps, I downloaded and used "Contacts Sync" which allows me to sync my contacts with my Google email. This was how I ended up in trouble - too many contacts on my phone! Now, since I've cleaned up my duplicates, I really like this app. If I add several business or personal contacts during the day, I can quickly hit sync and I know they are saved. Lesson learned here - only change information on my iPhone and then sync with Google. That way - no duplicates!

Now...for cleaning up the duplicates. First, I tried Cleanup (99 cents) and I thought it worked okay, but then I found duplicates it had missed. What I liked about this app was it uploaded my contacts and when I clicked the option "Select and Remove contacts", a screen popped up with my contacts with a little circle in front of each contact for me to check if was a duplicate or leave alone if it wasn't. I could clearly see the duplicates because they were listed one under the other. This was very easy and worked well. What didn't work well was merging those contacts that I had two files for: name and phone, and name and email. 

Next, I tried out Cleanup Elite (free app). After accessing my contacts I was given two options: Clean Up Contacts, and Merge Duplicate Contacts. It picked up on a few duplicated names where I had added a contact twice, but under slightly different names. That eliminated a few more contacts for me. 

I also wanted to try out one other app that caught my eye (I am comparing apps so you don't have to) and tried out Contacts Duster. After accessing my contacts, it brought up the report screen. I really liked this screen. It gave me the number of phone contacts, my groups, duplicate (there were still a few) and zombies (one can only guess). I clicked on duplicates and it brought up the duplicates (in the phone book under different names) and I was able to click on each and view the information before merging them. I also had the opportunity to view what it would look like after the merge. Big PLUS! Then, the app asked if I wanted to merge. I was able to click yes or no at that point. I really liked that feature.

In the defense of all of the above mentioned apps, I have information in my contacts that threw the programs off just a little when it came to syncing. For example - we have rental houses and each one has their own Entergy (power company in the South) account number. I have each house number in my phone as a contact with a note that has their account number, no phone number. It may be an odd way of keeping information, but I use my contacts for information other than just numbers. These programs weren't designed with me in mind. 

Also, I would recommend first transferring your contacts to your Google account. In the Google account you can easily merge duplicates. You can also set up your groups. I have found that setting up groups in my Google account (gmail account) was much easier than doing them one by one in an app. First, bring up contacts and then for example - let's use Family as our first group. Go down the line and check each family member and with one click, you can put them all into the group Family. If your contacts take two pages, as mine do, I found that you can only do one page at a time. Set up your second group - for example - Business Contacts. Check all that apply and click them into that group. Contacts can be added to several groups. 

Once you have completed that task and you have synced your contacts with your phone, download and open up the app, Groups (free app & not shown above). It will access your contacts and then you can click on any group you wish to view. This app will also allow you send a group text, which the iPhone will not. On the iPhone, you can select each person individually, but not as a group. This app will allow you to accomplish the task of sending a group text.  

My best advice on deleting duplicate contacts is not to duplicate them in the first place! But, if like me, you always do what you shouldn't, then I would highly recommend Contacts Duster. The reason being, I really, really liked being able to view the final merge before I clicked on Merge. Since I wasn't starting with almost 800 contacts as I did with Cleanup, I can't comment on how this app would handle it. If the ten duplicates my phone still contained is any indication, I would have had to go through 300 odd entries and merged each one individually. If that happens, use Cleanup first. 

I would love to hear from you. Has this duplication thing happened to you, and if so, how did you resolve it. Also, where do you back up your contacts?

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment! I really appreciate it! I read each and every response, and I love hearing thoughts and opinions from fellow bloggers, readers, and authors. If you have a blog, please leave a link so I can visit you back. Thank you.

I try to answer most comments, so if you would like to read my response, please visit often. Or, just click the "Email follow-up comments to [...]" box before publishing, to receive notification of new comments.

If you have to leave a comment anonymously, don't leave one at all. I will delete it. Own up to your thoughts.