Contacts lists have a habit of going bad. People switch jobs. They change their email addresses. Many times they don’t let anybody know they’ve done either. The electronic equivalent of milk in a carton, your contacts list requires plenty of TLC in order to stay fresh. Without that, it’s all too easy to fire off an email to a former work associate only to have it bounce back un-deliverable. CircleBack is an app that ensures that doesn’t happen.
Billed “the first artificially intelligent contact manager,” CircleBack has been hanging around the App Store for a little while now, but recently received a fairly substantial revamp in both its looks and functionality. With the refreshed version, iOS users can more comfortably leave all the worrying about whose contact information is current and whose is out of date up to the app – automating what can often be a painful and time consuming task.
In true A.I. fashion, CircleBack doesn’t rely on the information you provide it to stay accurate. Instead, it draws information from a variety of resources including your other email accounts and social media profiles. In the app’s settings, you have the option to Manage Networks. With this tool, you can add additional networks by connecting CircleBack to your Facebook, Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo and Twitter accounts. The integration is as simple as navigating a few taps and giving permission. The rest is automatic and worked seamlessly in testing, building a fully updated contacts list from a mix and matched assemblage of social media and email accounts.
The app is free and boasts a user-friendly interface that requires little to no reliance on the built-in tutorial, although it’s good to know it’s there if you need it. From within the app you can access and view your contacts list. The app also sends you push notifications if it finds any duplicate listings, matching up similar information and suggesting merging it all into one concise entry. In general the app is pretty obsessive about fixing incomplete listings, so it’ll also let you know if any of your entries have missing name or company information, as well as any absent email or phone number data.
A constantly updated backup address book is stored to the cloud, making it easy for you to install CircleBack to your other connected devices and have immediate access to the same information. Put another way, the app makes it possible for you to simply migrate all that information to a new phone without having to send out one of those annoying “Got a new phone, text me with your contact info” messages across social media.
CircleBack also has a couple of useful bonus features that make it especially worthwhile for the professional (or digital social butterfly) who’s keen on a truly hands-off experience. One is a feature that accesses your iPhone camera and lets you scan a business card. Once the initial scan is complete, the business card information is read and automatically transferred to the appropriate fields in your contacts list entry page. Also of interest is an in-app link to a sister app (also free) called ContactSaver, which converts email signatures into address book contacts by automatically scouring your inbox for information and importing it into CircleBack.
According to a press release from the company, CircleBack works through a clever combination of “an artificial intelligence system underpinned by passive crowdsourcing” that serves to survey the frequently changing landscape of digital and terrestrial addresses. However it does what it does, it’ll be a breath of fresh air to anyone who’s ever stared at their woefully out of date contacts list and let out a helpless sigh. The app is available now as a free download from iTunes and requires iOS 7.0 or later. The app was originally optimized for the iPhone 5, but it’ll work fine on newer iPhones and iPads as well.