Interact - Do more with your Contacts! ($4.99) by Agile Tortoise is a powerful contact manager that lets you be more flexible with your address book than the native iOS app. If you’re a fan of other apps by Agile Tortoise, such as Drafts and Terminology, then you’ll want to check out Interact.
Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of contacts in my iPhone’s address book, and quite frankly, I don’t need many of them anymore. However, the way that the native Contacts app is laid out, I’ve never felt the need to go and clean things up, because let’s face it — Apple’s Contacts app is not the best when it comes to going through and tidying up your address book. It’s a huge pain in the butt to go through everything one by one, and it’s not like you can batch delete or move contacts. Fortunately, Agile Tortoise has stepped up to the plate and is providing us with Interact.
Like other apps from the developer, Interact has a pretty barebones interface design that is not exactly the most streamlined and prettiest thing to look at. The app features a lot of whitespace in each cell for your contacts, complete with name and profile pictures, but also has some off-white, beige colored rectangles in the bottom right of each cell that contain orange-hued buttons for selecting, viewing details, and deleting. I’m not a big fan of that, as I think it makes the app look a bit more cluttered than it should be. Along the bottom will be buttons for seeing all of your selected contacts, editing subject and body text, and getting images from your library, iCloud, or taking a new photo. I think the current iteration of the design is a bit messy, and it does take some time to get used to, but once you pick up on things then managing your contacts is a breeze. Interact also has a convenient “Contact Scratchpad” that can be accessed with a button in the top right corner, along with a search tool.
On the first launch, Interact may take a few seconds to load up all of your contacts, especially if you’ve saved a few hundred over the years. Fortunately, the process is still fairly quick and painless, and you can see your entire address book in a matter of moments. If you’ve ever organized your contacts by groups, then you can swipe from the left edge of the screen or tap on the button in the top left to view accounts and groups. For some reason, Interact did not display whether it was my Google or iCloud account that I’m viewing, so it may lead to some confusion.
Despite some weird design choices, Interact has made it pretty easy for me to go through and weed out my contacts. I can tap on the “+” button for any contacts I want to select, and then tap on the “Interact” button in the bottom right corner to delete them all at once. Or, if I needed to, I can create a group with those select few, add them to an existing group, or even share their information (vCard) with someone else. Interact also provides shortcuts for iMessage and email directly within the app, so you don’t have to jump out of Interact to send a message to someone.
If you want to see someone’s contact details before taking action, Interact provides you with two ways to do this: tap on the “…” button on their cell, or tap on the “i” button. The first option gives you each bit of information in a card format, with direct operations you can take like viewing group memberships, arranging properties, and sharing. The second choice gives you the traditional iOS view, where you can edit details and send a message, share contact, or add to Favorites. Any action that you take on a contact will be reflected immediately in the Phone and Contacts apps, and Interact will confirm with you before deleting since that action is not reversible.
If you need to search for someone in your address book, the search tool in Interact is pretty fast and gives you results in real-time as you type. The Contact Scratchpad is one of my favorite features of the app, as it lets you quickly jot down information without having to deal with the clumsy iOS text fields when creating a new entry. The magic also is behind the ability to quickly add tags to the scratchpad, such as first and last name, company, phone, email, Skype, etc. Once you have all of the data bits you need, just tap on “Next” and Interact creates a contact card with the information you provided in the scratchpad. You can then send a message, share contact, create new contact, and add to or update existing contacts that match the name you provided. It’s a fast and easy way to get new information down and create a new entry without having to deal with the annoying text entry fields in the native iOS apps.
I have been wanting to clean up my address book for a long time now, and I think Interact is the app to help me accomplish this. While I don’t agree with some quirky design choices, the app is pretty simple to use once you understand the basics. It’s also relatively fast, so you don’t have to wait for changes to be reflected in the native Phone and Contacts apps. I do hope that the developer streamlines the design in the future though, as it’s not the prettiest in its current state. Still, if you need a powerful and flexible contact manager, then give Interact a try for yourself.
Interact is available as a universal app for the iPhone and iPad and can be yours for $4.99. This is special launch pricing for a limited time only, and the app will be $9.99 after the introductory period.