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Three contact manager apps better than the one that came with your phone

Liane Cassavoy | March 17, 2015
These third-party apps add syncing, organizational and other features you won't find on the stock contact app that came with your phone.

PureContact values quality over quantity, and because of that, it's best thought of as a favorites app, not a full-fledged contact manager. If you're going to be using it to stay in touch with a select group of people, it's incredibly handy. But if you're looking for an app to manage hundreds of contacts, this is not the app for you.

That's because you have to add all of your contacts manually. Unlike most contact managers, PureContact doesn't scour your various address books and services for people with whom you've been in touch. Instead, it accesses your phone's (Android or iOS) address book and lets you select who you'd like to add.

All of the contacts you choose are given their own circle, which you can tap or swipe to access or take action. PureContact lets you assign actions to behaviors, such as a right, left, up or down swipe, or a double tap. You can have the app e-mail your contacts on a right swipe, but call them when you double tap. I love how you can personalize these actions in a way that makes sense for you.

I also like PureContact's simple, sophisticated design. It's clutter-free and easy to use. At 99 cents, it's also very affordable. Still, that price tag may be hard to justify when the app is simply serving as a souped-up version of the "favorites" function your phone likely already offers.

CircleBack is a micro-manager's dream come true--and I mean that in a good way. Like FullCircle, it connects to various sources, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Outlook, and imports your contacts into one central location. It also has a Web version, and syncs information across various devices.

Like FullContact, CircleBack analyzes your contacts, looking for errors and duplicates. But unlike FullContact, CircleBack puts the work of fixing the errors it finds in your hands. This isn't hard work, however, and it's a level of control that many users will appreciate.

CircleBack's Dashboard displays information on how many of your contacts need updates, whether that's a new phone number or a change of title, how many are missing key details (email address, phone number, complete name, or company), and how many are potential duplicates. You can choose to apply as many or as few fixes as you'd like.

CircleBack isn't quite as slick as FullContact on some fronts. FullContact, for example, lets you initiate calls or messages by swiping your screen. CircleBack lacks FullContact's social feeds and the ability to add tags and notes. But where CircleBack excels is at pure and simple contact management. This free app (iOS only; an Android version is in the works) puts you in control of your contacts. And for many users, that's more than enough.


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