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7 ways to make the most of your Android and iPhone contacts

Ben Patterson | Jan. 21, 2015
How to designate ringtones, put contacts on the home screen and even add phonetic names.

Create a custom vibration for a contact (iOS only)
Here's an even trickier way to divine who's calling or texting you without looking at your iPhone: a custom vibration pattern, perfect for identifying a caller or texter without anyone's being the wiser.

Open a contact, tap Edit, scroll down to Vibration (either under Ringtone or Text Tone, your choice), tap it, then scroll down and tap Create New Vibration.

Now, time to create your own vibration pattern. Tap the screen once, then start tapping and swiping. As you do, your iPhone will "record" a new vibration.

Finally, tap Save, then name your new vibration. Once that's done, your new vibration pattern will be automatically assigned to your contact. You can also just tap Record to start over.

Pin a contact to your home screen (Android only)
Want one-tap access to your most important contacts? What better way than to add a contact card directly to your Android phone's home screen--a nifty trick that iPhones and iPads have yet to master.

Just open a contact in the People app, tap the three-dot Menu button in the top corner of the screen, then tap "Place on Home screen."

Now, go back to your home screen, find your contact's icon, then tap it. When you do, a pop-up will appear with shortcuts for your contact's phone numbers, email addresses, Google+ profile, street address, and more.

Block a contact
We've shown you how to make it easier to get in touch with a contact, or to find out whether someone in your inner circle is trying to reach you. But what about those contacts you'd rather avoid?

For Android:
Pick a frenemy's contact card in the People app, tap the three-dot Menu button, then tap "All calls to voicemail."

Change of heart? Retrace your steps to unblock the caller.

For iOS:
Open the contact card for the person you want to block, scroll all the way down and tap "Block this Caller."

You can keep track of whom you've blocked by tapping Settings, Phone, Blocked. Tap the Edit button to remove a contact from the Blocked list.

Add a nickname
I've got a buddy named Matt who goes by "Skip" when he's with his oldest friends. How do you teach your iPhone or Android phone that when you say "Call Skip," you're really talking about Matt? Easy.

For Android:
Open your friend's contact card, tap the three-dot Menu button, tap Edit, then scroll down and tap "Add another field."

Select Nickname from the list, type in the nickname, then tap Done.

Now go ahead and search for the nickname, and the "real" contact name will appear in your search results.

 

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