....After Facebook messed them up.
You might or might not be aware that since iOS 6 your iDevice can very easily integrate with your phone and synchronise your phone data with your Facebook data.
What this means is you can match up your phone contacts with Facebook information. It does the same with Calendar functions also to make sure you never miss your friends birthday.
All this sounds wonderful on paper but unfortunately it makes too many assumptions about you and your contacts and also doesn't allow for configuration. It also means you then have to do an additional task to ensure it makes your contacts useable and sensible.
Now before I continue I personally like my contacts as sensible as they come. So I like them to show the contacts first me, last name and work information. Apple has given you the option to add "nicknames" which you can utilise but ultimately I like my contacts to be as Smart as my smart phone will allow. That aside I know people who will literally just put first names or nicknames in as their detail Facebook will still create issues with your contacts but you might care a little less than myself.
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM.
The problem arises when people are creative with their Facebook name, or when they get married or change their name.
So say you know "John Smith" and John decides to make his Facebook name "Johnny Smith". Facebook will synchronise the detail and create a new contact called Johnny Smith and John Smith will be left without any detail.
So what Apple and Facebook would like you to do is go into your contacts and link the two together, therefore copying all of Johnny Smith detail onto John Smiths contact and "hiding" Johnny Smiths detail.
However this creates two problems. If you have 200+ phone contacts and 600+ Facebook contacts it will be a very long and drawn out process if you aren't that technically minded. It can also go unfound as the option to link is hidden away in the edit contact menu right at the bottom.
Also if any app uses your contact detail such as Buzz Contacts or Instagram it will not see the links, for example buzz contacts would display John Smith and Johnny Smith. So it's not very practical as Apple hasn't opened up the API for use.
So I have a solution. It's a three pronged attack and can be configured in three ways to reduce the amount of work or reduce the cost.
LET'S GET TIDYING. PHASE 1.
Firstly you need to turn off the contacts to Facebook integration.
Settings - Scroll down to Facebook. Then you will have information about which applications use Facebook information. Switch off contacts. Then scroll down and click update contacts.
Now phase one is complete. You can leave it here if you wish. You can manually go into your contacts and correct any names that are incorrect and Facebook will never correct them again.
If you still want Facebook to integrate with your contacts "There's an App for that."
Download Sync Me for Facebook. It does everything the Default app does, plus it allows for Configuration and personalisation. Mainly the option to Not to Sync the contact name. It also allows individual control over each contact. So you for instance you can change the setting to synchronise contact name to only those people who change their name on Facebook and then if someone legitimately changes there name because of marriage. It will update your contacts when you sync.
Download Sync.me For Free.
So the first two phases fix the issues of Facebook syncing. However they don't fix what's left behind. What you might find that you have a lot of duplicated contacts, with lots of duplicated information. That's where you need to tidy up. You can either manually take the time and effort to go into each individual contact and copy over the information and delete the duplicate or..."There's an App for that."
Download Smart Merge. Which does the manual work for you, it scans your contacts and finds any duplicate names, contact numbers, emails, anything that matches and then allows you to check through the information and remove any that might be common names such as 2 John Smiths. Then once your happy it will merge the contacts together and remove the duplication.
The app also allows a helicopter view of your contacts so you can break down information to manage them 100%. You can see which contacts don't have numbers, don't have emails, and are missing key fields.
It truly is a contacts manager. Download Smart Merge - 69p
A final last tip is if your lucky to have two iDevices, and you access Facebook on both and you back up to iCloud on both I suggest you complete phase one on both devices before changing any contacts as this may create more duplication.
iOS 6 Facebook integration was a long over due step forward, and a very useful one, the ability to share information at the touch of a button improves the user experience however the contact integration was a unthought out bolt on that creates chaos in contacts app. I suggest you reclaim power by completing all three phases above and create a happy contacts app.
If you have any questions or feedback about this procedure please email me at iKnow.iJoe@Gmail.com
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