Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion GM: Contacts to get new groups, sharing, linking and Facebook support

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
In OS X Mountain Lion, Apple has replaced Address Book with Contacts, bringing the simpler OS naming convention to OS X and adding a variety of new improvements, including easy sharing, card linking between different accounts and (later this year) Facebook integration.

The new Contacts app still uses the unconventional "book" user interface introduced for Lion's Address Book, which laid out contact listings as though they were written in a physical, leather bound notebook, with groups accessible by clicking on an ornately detailed red bookmark.

The new Contacts in Mountain Lion tones that down slightly, removing the bookmark theatrics and putting Groups on the same page as listings (below top). It's still possible to set the view to omit Groups, or to simply show one contact at a time (below bottom).




A related fix that is greatly appreciated: when you enter a term in the search field and then click on a group (to narrow the search down), as long as the search is relevant (returns results within the group), it will show you matches within the selected group. Previously, every time you selected a group in Address Book, your search field was cleared and you'd have to start over.



There's a new Share Sheets button that lets you send (via its popup menu, above) one of your Contacts out as an Email, a Message, or to another nearby Mac using AirDrop. Just as with sending files from the Finder, AirDrop looks for other Macs on the same network with an AirDrop window open in the Finder, populating everyone it finds as potential targets for "AirDropping" the contact record.




Duplicates and Links

While there aren't any sophisticated new tools for managing duplicated data within your contacts, there's still the all-or-nothing "Look for Duplicates" feature that offers to blindly fix however many duplicates it thinks you have, without any way to review what it will be doing.



Because it only looks for matching names, this doesn't seem to be very useful, particularly if you can imagine a scenario where you have more than one contact with the same name, or if you realize you have duplicate data where the first name isn't going to match (say, separate cards for the same Bob and Robert with identical information).

However, there is a new feature in Contacts for linking multiple contact records associated with different accounts, such as a record in iCloud and another in Yahoo and another in a corporate Exchange address book that all relate to the same person. Once linked, all the records will appear to be the same card in Contacts, simplifying and unifying your listings and putting all the related information in one place. This doesn't change information on each account, and the card can be unlinked later.

Facebook support for Contacts (coming soon)

Apple's Facebook support for Mountain Lion (which won't ship at the launch of OS X, and isn't scheduled to ship until the fall) can additionally take all your Facebook "friends" and add them to your Contacts. Additionally, it will update their photos and contact information in concert with Facebook. Apple will also provide Facebook matches for your Contacts who aren't connected to your Facebook circle.



This doesn't happen automatically. Similar to Twitter support, you have to manually go to the accounts pane of System Preferences and log into Facebook just as you would for Twitter. You then have to provide explicit approval for Facebook to work with Contacts (or any another app that requests access to your Facebook account, again just like Twitter integration).



Once you do this, you'll be able to post Facebook status updates from Notification Center, get Facebook options on a variety of system-wide Share Sheets, and you'll have all your Facebook friends integrated into Contacts, with their URLs, addresses, phone numbers and other information they've publicly advertised about themselves within their Facebook account. Facebook also becomes a "Group" in Contacts, so you can sub-select it when searching. Additionally, you can jump to a Contact's Facebook profile or photos page from Contacts.



If you've already entered Facebook names for your Contacts, the new Facebook integration software for OS X will duplicate this field in your contacts. However, the information it puts in is badged with a "fb" logo so you know that's the entry that the software is maintaining automatically for you. Facebook data uses "links" to join users' Facebook cards with existing Contacts cards, but a new "Linked cards" entry (above) lets you click each account listing to see separate cards with only the information associated with each account.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Who's responsible for the tasteless skeumorphic crap on iOS and OSX?

    I'm still scratching my head.. Why? Why would they do such a thing? Now the damn software UI is becoming a complete mismatch with the modern elegant hardware design. May be Jony Ive and his team should design the UI for both OS.
  • Reply 2 of 22
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Well at least they stopped calling it the wrong name...

    An Address Book in the not too distant past meant listing 'family units' that lived at the same address as a single unit... Where you could list nformation as detailed as you'd like.

    Kids names, birthdays , anniversary etc etc.

    What I don't get is why apple has simply ignored this small detail.

    If you want it 'easy' it could be as simple as a checkbox that says 'group family's with the same address'

    This way you could still have individual records for everyone ... Something Apple seems to want while still making the address book less cluttered with people who have large families. Also the benefit here is when you need to make a change to a families address if they are grouped 1 change would get replicated to the other family members.

    A child moves out, simpe right click on the name and select 'show individual record' and modify the address as desired.

    I dunno, I've always had issues with this given my wife has 14 sets of aunts and uncles .. Whie I only have 8 sets in mine. Just do the math and you can imagine how needlessly crazy our address book is.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    am8449am8449 Posts: 343member


    Displaying groups and the contact list on the same page is a definite improvement.  I hate clicking the red bookmark to go back and forth when using Address Book.

  • Reply 4 of 22
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    I understand that FB & Twitter is not to be seen on iOS unless you install their software and login. From this article it looks like those two won't be visible unless you sign in, am I correct in this?

    Edit: I'd like it to be invisible as I don't use either.

    Edit edit. Why can't I respond to the next article, also from DED? This Huddler software, was it written by Microploft?
  • Reply 5 of 22
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

    I understand that FB & Twitter is not to be seen on iOS unless you install their software and login. From this article it looks like those two won't be visible unless you sign in, am I correct in this?


     


    Correct for iOS 6, not iOS 5 or Mountain Lion.

  • Reply 6 of 22
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    philboogie wrote: »
    I understand that FB

    Correct for iOS 6, not iOS 5 or Mountain Lion.

    Ah darn! Just when you think iOS & OSX are going to 'look 'n feel' the same they differentiate it nonetheless. A crying shame, in this case, for those who do not feel like using Social Media.
  • Reply 7 of 22

    Quote:


    If you want it 'easy' it could be as simple as a checkbox that says 'group family's with the same address'



    This way you could still have individual records for everyone ... Something Apple seems to want while still making the address book less cluttered with people who have large families. Also the benefit here is when you need to make a change to a families address if they are grouped 1 change would get replicated to the other family members.


    A child moves out, simpe right click on the name and select 'show individual record' and modify the address as desired.




     


     


     


    That would be an elegant approach.

  • Reply 8 of 22
    lukeskymaclukeskymac Posts: 506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post



    Who's responsible for the tasteless skeumorphic crap on iOS and OSX?

    I'm still scratching my head.. Why? Why would they do such a thing? Now the damn software UI is becoming a complete mismatch with the modern elegant hardware design. May be Jony Ive and his team should design the UI for both OS.


    That's the main reason I'm ditching iOS. And may try to ditch OS X too should Windows 8 improve in certain areas.

  • Reply 9 of 22
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

    That's the main reason I'm ditching iOS. And may try to ditch OS X too should Windows 8 improve in certain areas.


     


    HA! Good luck. Seriously.

  • Reply 10 of 22
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post


    That's the main reason I'm ditching iOS. And may try to ditch OS X too should Windows 8 improve in certain areas.





    Bleh.. I wish I could run everything on Fedora or Debian. Generally I favor minimalism in terms of ui. Forced aesthetics don't appeal to me. Customization can be nice in terms of lending personality to an otherwise generic system as you gain the ability to make it your own in some way. Other than that I prefer the ui just stay out of my way. I also tend to favor slightly smaller displays than others. I like the 24" 16:10 displays quite a bit, but they feel too tight if cluttered with too many junk elements. Given that the biggest sellers seem to be 13" and 15" laptops, a light weight ui seems necessary so as to allow a good amount of working space.

  • Reply 11 of 22
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post


    That's the main reason I'm ditching iOS. And may try to ditch OS X too should Windows 8 improve in certain areas.



    May try to ditch it?


    Simple. Just sell your Mac


    Or to steal a phrase - "Do or do not, there is no try".

  • Reply 12 of 22
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post



    Who's responsible for the tasteless skeumorphic crap on iOS and OSX? May be Jony Ive and his team should design the UI for both OS.


     


    Sir Jony doesn't design any software for anything. 


     


    As for the 'crap' comment, some folks don't mind it and others actually like it. If it bugs you that much, don't buy Apple's stuff. If enough folks do that and are open that the UI is the reason perhaps they will finally change it to suit your tastes

  • Reply 13 of 22
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post





    If you want it 'easy' it could be as simple as a checkbox that says 'group family's with the same address'


     


     


    Some folks might want to group family members even if they have moved out of a physical address. which is why the 'related' links exist. 


     


    what would be more useful is a one button way to merge cards that are 'linked' so that all the info exists in all services. and also ways to assign switch the service a card links to, not to mention native aol and gmail syncing. 

  • Reply 14 of 22
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,236member
    wurm5150 wrote: »
    Who's responsible for the tasteless skeumorphic crap on iOS and OSX?
    I'm still scratching my head.. Why? Why would they do such a thing? Now the damn software UI is becoming a complete mismatch with the modern elegant hardware design. May be Jony Ive and his team should design the UI for both OS.

    Skeuomorphism is not always a bad thing. Yes the virtual knobs in GarageBand are not as easy to use as slide controls, but there is much value in improving visual disctinctiveness between applications.
  • Reply 15 of 22

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post


    That's the main reason I'm ditching iOS. And may try to ditch OS X too should Windows 8 improve in certain areas.



     


    The *main reason* is the skeumorphic appearance? That's awfully dramatic. Are there really that many people that care so much about it?

  • Reply 16 of 22
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,581member
    The *main reason* is the skeumorphic appearance? That's awfully dramatic. Are there really that many people that care so much about it?

    Just the trolls. These are the same guys who want the colourful finder and iTunes icons back, but they want to make contacts and calendars basic grey bounding boxes.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    philotechphilotech Posts: 103member


    What annoys me most with Address Book / now Contacts are:


     



    1. Can't sync with more than one Google / GApps contacts accounts, although that's more a fault of Google's because they don't support the CardDAV standard.


    2. Double-clicking in a contact's notes field to mark and copy some text doesn't work because the first click changes the notes field into change mode and thereby moves its content. So what I need to to is (1) look for the text to mark (2) click into the notes field (3) look again for the text to mark (4) double click the text to actually mark it (5) press CMD-C or use the mouse to copy.


     


    Philotech

  • Reply 18 of 22
    philotechphilotech Posts: 103member


    Does anyone know if there are plans to support AirDrop on iOS devices? Now that it's getting pervasive through most Apple applications, this should definitely be supported. Guess the WLAN chipset in iOS devices doesn't support it yet (as with older Macs), but the iPhone 5 hopefully does.

  • Reply 19 of 22
    laytechlaytech Posts: 136member
    Would be much better if you could selectively choose with FaceBook contacts you wanted in your contacts, with some 300+ friends, I don't want 250 of them in my phone book. Pretty basic feature but appears its an all or nothing feature so that will remain firmly off for me.
  • Reply 20 of 22


    Why the insistence by Apple to make me sort my contacts into groups? The easier solutions are:


     


    1. Allow the info to be displayed with multiple columns, which can then be sorted A-Z by clicking on the header e.g. show the company names in one column.


    2. Fix the search function within the Address Book / Contacts App. Right now it simply searches for a string of matching characters. Since there is no hierarchy to where the string starts (e.g. it can occur in the middle of a word), nor to prevent it from searching the notes; you get a lot of results to sift through.

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