By Aston Shaheen
Open the Mac App Store to buy and download apps.
Contacts Cleaner analyzes, reports, and fixes dozens of problems with OS X Contacts and Apple Sync Services—problems ranging from the obvious, such as duplicated contacts, to the subtle, such as invalid characters and poorly formatted contact names.
Your contacts are the center of your personal social network, and as such are often synchronized among your Mac, your iPhone, and many other apps, services, and devices. Contacts Cleaner finds and fixes the little problems that can creep in while you're not looking.
Note: Contacts Cleaner currently does not fix contacts hosted on an Exchange server. Contacts Cleaner does work with iCloud.
For more information, tips, and a FAQ, see:
What's New in Version 1.7.3
* Bug fixes
* Minor UI tweaks
* New app icon
* Rebranded part of "Cleaner Tools for Mac"
New in version 1.7.2:
* Read-only contacts (such as those from Facebook) are handled better
* Better handling of pause command (",") in phone numbers
* Fixed a problem with international codes when fixing phone numbers
* You can now set a default area code to use when fixing phone numbers
For what the use I got it wasn’t worth the $5. There was only one thing I let it do for me and otherwise used the analysis to guide my cleanup tasks, but only because it gave a little more information than the native app does and let me see things side by side more easily. In my use case, I keep duplicates of many contacts in a Gmail account I share with my partner. This app wanted to “delete the duplicates”. What really needed to happen is for the Contacts app to Link the duplicates between the two accounts. When I did that (select both, Cmd-Shift-L), this app stopped seeing them as duplicates. None of the other issues it identifies were issues I wanted it to “fix”. I have a number of single name contact entries; nothing to “fix”. It said phone numbers were poorly formmated, partially because I put “+1” at the beginning of U.S. numbers, I sometimes put spaces in the First Name field (Andy & Joan) etc. In reality, most of the problems it found were problems of its own making. Every “single name” error also produced “Shared Email” errors. Overall, not as helpful as I was hoping.
Best I’ve used
I am in sales and collect contact information at a astonashing rate. If I am at an event or conference I can easily collect 50 cards and a lot of other misc. data. My phone is where it gets stuck, and over time it becomes unruly and needs a good cleaning.
I started a new job with a new system, and it duplicated my contacts, and resorted things into a real mess. LinkedIn screwed up my list real good too.
The first de-duplicator I bought doesn’t allow you to fix anything in bulk. Meaning- it pulls every contact and asks what you want to do. I had 7800 contacts- this was an impossible task.
I bought this app and it groups the errors into similar kinds, allows you to determine the logic of fixing that group (merge, delete, delete the bad variable, etc). I’m 20 minutes into the cleanup and have reduced my list from 7800 entries to 1994. It just cleaned up 720 duplicated ‘notes’! Just what I needed! And so cheap compared to the time it saved!
My fave for a painful but important process
It looks to me like cleaning up data is just hard, and contacts must be harder. Nothing I’ve tried, on any platform, gets it done perfectly or without a little anxiety. But the PITA factor with this is much less, the errors (like having to just write off an address that just has a single email in it…where you know the person’s name, or could guess…because it’s just not worth opening up Contacts and typing in your guesses) are fewer, and most of all the anxiety is very low. You can *see* what it’s doing.
I guess the unpleasantness is having to admit that, after moving contacts among systems for years, there’s just some attrition. Which is not the program’s fault.
The great thing about Contacts Cleaner is: it happens fast, you can see what’s going on, and then it’s back to real work. TOTALLY worth the tiny price.