The contacts accounts on your iPhone and iPad may be something you have not spent time thinking about. Interact is optimized around managing personal contacts in a single default account, and taking a few minutes to review your contacts settings can help optimize how it works for you.
Users with large numbers of contacts (greater than 5,000), and Microsoft Exchange and Google account users should be sure to read the "Performance and Compatibility Notes" section at the end of this article.
"On my Phone" and iCloud
All iOS devices have at least one system contact account. Either "On my Phone" local storage, or iCloud. If you are signed into iCloud, and have the "Contact" toggle on (the default) in iOS Settings > iCloud, the iCloud synchronized contact account is enabled and likely your default account. If you do not have an iCloud account, or have turned off the "Contacts" switch in iCloud settings, the local "On my Phone" account will be used. Both "On my Phone" and iCloud accounts work great with Interact and all features will be enabled.
Mail, Contacts, Calendars
Many users will also have additional contact-capable accounts configured. When you add an email account on a service which supports contacts, iOS will automatically enable contacts for that account. This includes email addresses hosted by Google, Microsoft and others.
These accounts may use CardDAV or Microsoft's Exchange protocols to sync contacts. CardDAV accounts (like Gmail/Google) also work with all Interact features. Exchange-based account do not support groups, though contacts in these accounts can still be viewed, edited, selected and searched in Interact.
To keep things simple, and know where your contacts reside, it is usually best to disable the "Contacts" switch in iOS Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars for extra accounts.
Unfortunately, iOS does not have a way for third party apps using Contacts to get friendly names for the accounts available in the system. This means Interact is limited in the ways it can display the accounts, and at this time only identifies accounts. This is visible when browsing the group list, which is divided up by the available accounts. Currently, the default account will appear first, any additional Exchange and CardDAV accounts will have generic "Account" or "Exchange" labelling.
If you have a Facebook account configured in iOS settings, it also has the ability to display contacts based on your Facebook friends list. This account cannot be selected as the default contact account, and does not support groups, but will appear in your accounts list and contact be displayed if enabled.
In iOS Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars, under the "Contacts" section, you can select a "Default Account" from the accounts configured on your device. For Interact to work best, select a iCloud, Gmail, or other CardDAV-based account as your default account.
The default account will be used as the account to add new contacts and contact groups. Contacts and groups in other configured accounts will appear in Interact and can be searched, edited, selected, etc. but group functions will be limited.
Performance and Compatibility Notes
- Maximum number of contacts: There is no strict maximum number of contacts Interact can work with, but due to limitations of the interfaces to work with Contacts on iOS, Interact has to build and maintain a local index of contact data. Maintaining this index can become a performance problem with a very large number of contacts. Interact will comfortable handle thousands of contacts, but if you have an older, slower iOS devices, or a contacts list that reach in the tens of thousands, Interact may not be a great fit for you needs. We are always working to improve in this area.
- Microsoft Exchange-based accounts: Accounts using the Microsoft Exchange protocols do not support contact groups on iOS. Contacts in Exchange accounts can be viewed, edited, searched and acted on in Interact, but you cannot create or maintain contact groups. Group features will be disabled if you have an Exchange-based account as your default contacts account.
- Google/Gmail Contacts: By default, Gmail accounts use CardDAV to sync contacts and work great with all features of Interact. It is important to note, however, that while you can create and maintain contact groups with Gmail's CardDAV features, those groups do not appear anywhere other than on iOS and Mac. Google does not display or utilized those groups any where in there own apps or web interfaces for Gmail and Contacts.