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Staying in touch: great ways to save, manage, and recover your iPhone contacts

The Rolodex was put out to pasture years ago. Today, most address books and contact lists live on smartphones. While your iPhone makes for an incredibly convenient way to keep the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone you’ve ever met ready at a moment’s notice, it isn’t always easy to make sure everything’s up to date. People move. Email addresses change. How do you ensure your contact list has the latest information? Relying on one device to maintain your contact list also puts that data at significant risk. What happens if your phone gets lost or is stolen?

Don’t let your iPhone’s address book be a passive document, and don’t limit your potential (or leave your data at risk) by using it as your sole resource for staying in touch. Turbocharge it with these essential apps.

Contacts+ - Instantly beef up your address book with this app, which lets you sort contacts into groups and import tons of personal information from Facebook and LinkedIn. It even adds everyone’s birthday to your contact list. A quick tap lets you jump to a contact’s social networking profile, or even map a live route to their home or office.

Sync.ME – You don’t have to ditch Apple’s built-in Contacts to give it more power. Sync.ME brings “widgets” to the Contacts app, adding a powerful set of tools that let you do everything from recording VOIP phone calls to capturing business cards by photograph. This can be a huge help when it comes to recalling previous conversations, connecting names with faces, and becoming the networking superstar you’ve always wanted to be.

Cloze – This nifty app doesn’t organize your contacts for you, but it does help you keep track of what those contacts have to say. Cloze compiles Twitter updates, Facebook posts, LinkedIn snippets, text messages, and emails from each of your contacts, then surfaces all of it into a master feed, organized by person rather than by time. Best of all, Cloze automatically figures out who the most important people in your network are and puts their information at the top of the feed.

ABBYY Business Card Reader – It may be a digital world, but old-school analog business cards don’t seem to be fading in popularity. Transcribing cards into digital data is tedious, time consuming, and often forgotten when other matters take precedent. Let ABBYY do the heavy lifting for you: Just snap a photo of each card, and this scanning system instantly does the translation work.

Sincerely Ink Cards – From time to time, it’s important to remind people that you’re more than just a name in their contact list. Sometimes that means adding a personal touch to your correspondence. This app lets you create cards (even incorporating photos taken with your phone) and send them – as real paper cards – through the mail. It’s perfect for everything from customized thank you notes to holiday greetings.

FoneLab 8 – All of these solutions are great at helping you populate your address book, but what about ensuring all those hard-earned contacts don’t go missing? With FoneLab you can directly back up all the data from your iPhone straight to your Mac – and recover those contacts without having to deal with the hassles of iTunes’ backup and restore system.

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This tool helps out whether your phone is completely destroyed, or if you just accidentally deleted a contact and need to get it back. It also backs up other information from your phone that the iTunes backup system doesn’t touch, including items like WhatsApp conversations and attachments.

Macworld readers can score an exclusive discount on FoneLab right here, courtesy of Aiseesoft.

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