These days when you attend a conference or meeting, you probably still carry a pack of business cards in your pocket, ready to bestow them upon whoever asks for one. You also likely collect business cards from all the new people you meet. But what happens next? In the old days, all cards were meticulously filed or placed in a handy Rolodex, but today, even more efficient, automated contact managers can reside directly on your iPhone, readily available for download from the App Store.
For salespeople, entrepreneurs, business owners or marketers, the best contact management apps not only help you collect but also manage your contacts so you can search for and reach the right ones quickly, keep information updated, and track people in a more efficient and effective way. The best iPhone contact managers can track both personal and professional information like business specialties, job classifications, work anniversaries and family details, as well as merge duplicates and let you search for individual contacts.
Add a specialized contacts app for your business
If you are tracking hundreds of contacts, you need a powerful contacts app with data-tracking capabilities that are up to the task. Adding a specialized Contacts app to your iPhone doesn't mean you have to delete the default one that comes with your handset. You can continue to use Apple's Contacts as your personal phone book, or you can ignore it or delete it from your phone.
Apple has a handy feature called Offload Unused Apps, which automatically offloads any apps from your phone that you don't use but retains the relevant data, if there is any. You don't have to do a thing except enable the feature via Settings > General > iPhone Storage > Offload Unused Apps.
Common features for contact apps
Common pro-level contact management apps can automatically scan the information contained on a business card and convert it into digital format. Many apps, however, have new artificial intelligence features that can recognize and pull together contact information from different sources, such as social media accounts, other contact managers, and the cloud. Many apps also have syncing abilities that ensure all information is up to date so that when a contact switches jobs or changes location (or phone number), you can reach them. Some even act as scam call blockers and facilitate caller ID or let you group contacts together for simultaneous messaging.
These apps make networking easier by helping you organize hundreds of contacts. Here's our pick of seven of the best iPhone contact apps that help you organize your contacts, make new connections and expand your professional network.
Swapping business cards is a time-tested way to introduce yourself to a new business contact, but in the age of the smartphone, it may not be enough. Paper cards are easy to lose, and typing all that contact information into your phone's address book is tedious and time-consuming.
CamCard is the best contact app for iPhone for its ability to easily transform paper cards into digital contacts. Just point your iPhone camera at a business card and snap a photo. The app's OCR text-recognition software pulls out key details, including the person's name, phone number, email and company name, and updates your address book automatically. The basic app is free and ad-supported. For multidevice support, the ability for CamCard to scan cards on your behalf and VIP recognition, you'll need a premium account for $5 per month or $47 per year.
Sync.ME bills itself as a caller ID and spam blocker. It identifies incoming calls and warns you if one is from a known spammer. Also, it connects your contact's picture in Facebook or Twitter in case you forget that person's name. You can easily look up missed call numbers in a database of more than 1 billion numbers.
Sync.Me is the best contact app for business people and entrepreneurs who can't waste time with bogus incoming calls. Starting at $3 per month and $10 per year for the premium version, you get extra features, such as merging duplicate contacts, creating backups, and background syncing.
AI can do so much to make your business more efficient and dynamic, including keeping track of your contacts on your phone. Cloze is the best contact app for people who have many information sources and seek a single way to consolidate all the data available about each contact and your interaction with them.
Cloze compiles information from your apps – RingCentral, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Slack, Exchange, iCloud, Evernote, OneNote, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – to create a single composite profile for each of your contacts. It creates a file that includes your email communications, calls, files and social messages. It even reminds you to rekindle fading relationships with clients.
You can use CircleBack to scan business cards and save them as contacts. It uses AI and crowd-based intelligence to automate contact management to keep job titles up to date. This app is excellent at consolidating information. It removes duplicates, and discovers new contacts in your Google, Microsoft and Exchange inboxes, syncing them across multiple platforms, including Salesforce, Facebook, Gmail and Exchange.
Contacts+ (previously called FullContact) is an address book that syncs multiple types of accounts and platforms, including iOS, Mac, PC, Gmail, Exchange, and Twitter. You can use it to combine Google Contacts, your phone's address book and social media profiles. You can scan and save business cards while the app backs up all information to the cloud. You can also attach notes to contacts so you remember important details for the next time you connect with a client or vendor. A premium option is available for scanning and syncing more than 1,000 contacts per year, and syncing up to five address books.
A2Z Contacts (free)
A2Z Contacts is an intuitive, all-in-one contact manager that sorts your contacts into different groups for quick browsing and access. You can access contacts from iCloud, CardDAV, Facebook, Exchange and your mobile device. Creating a group lets you send group messages via email, iMessage or SMS. Other standout features include a favorites list that gives you quick access to the contacts you call or message the most. You can even clone contacts and groups to create new groups without having to manually add members.
If you're an avid user of Google on your iPhone but find it hard to keep Gmail and iPhone contacts accurate and consistent, Synctastic is the best iPhone app to sync your contacts from both sources. This two-way sync functionality keeps contacts on both platforms updated, regardless of which one you use to edit or add contacts. If it finds duplicate contacts during the initial sync, the program alerts you so you can merge them or delete one. Use it to back up your iPhone contacts to Gmail, sync iCloud or exchange contacts with Gmail, or perform syncs in one direction, say Gmail to iPhone. This app is compatible with A2Z Contacts.
Andreas Rivera also contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.