Shared contacts / address book for small teams


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2016
Hi everyone,

I've been desperately trying to find a solution for managing contacts in a small office environment. Even after many hours of talking to the Apple Support and searching for solutions online looking, I was not able to get this to work. Even though this seems to be something not too complicated (seems like I was wrong) and is normal in every Windows network environment I have been in touch with so far.

The current set-up is the following:
  • 3 iMacs
  • 2 Macbooks
  • 1 iPhone
  • 1 Mac Mini Server (mainly used as a file server atm, no vpn access)
  • 1 Airport Extreme
  • All devices are running the macOS Sierra (or iOS10)
  • Software for emails/contacts: Apple Contacts & Mail

The goal is for everyone who has access (6 users) to be able to:
  • view and edit all contacts (currently around 1,700 contact cards)
  • local would be fine, not necessarily cloud based (e.g. daily update in the office for mobile and laptops would be enough).
Current Problems:
  • According to Apple, the OS X Server Contacts sharing only allows one address book per individual user, not for a whole team to manage
  • Previously we used iCloud until the Yosemite update which messed up the network user accounts while iCloud was enabled (confirmed by apple support)
  • Even with local user accounts on each computer right now, iCloud does not work properly and only let's 1-2 computers edit contacts or shows outdated contact cards (some are missing) to other users
  • I tried other cloud solutions specifically for team use with similar outcome: New contact cards don't show up everywhere or are outdated
(Note: I know iCloud is not specifically meant for professional use)

  • What local or cloud based solutions are out there that allow shared team access to contacts?
  • Would you recommend switching to MS Outlook for Mac (and use Exchange?)
Looking forward to your input. Really need help with this!



macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
I run two small businesses, one with 50-odd employees and a second with 7 employees. I run both on Office 365's backbone - it just works. For my smaller business, all of us use the Business Essentials plan - $5 per month per user, done. It works perfectly with our iOS devices. For the Macs and PCs, it's Outlook as our PIM - I even went so far as to buy a few GoPhone Lumia 640 Windows Phone from Walmart, unlocked them, installed Windows Phone 10, and now they're perfect notification devices that just connect to local wifi (they never leave the offices) and work remarkably well for $30 smartphones that connect to MS's backbone.

My Mini Server is set to download and archive all of our activity, using Win Outlook 2016 running in a Win 10 VM via Parallels Desktop - everything is backed up to a Synology NAS which, in turn, backs up to an Amazon AWS space. I'm covered, in triplicate

I'm demoing as a second option IBM's Connection Cloud options of their S3 and Verse options - which have contacts and email. It's a pretty cool - and very secure - cloud platform. I can't offer much in the way of experience with this SAAS package yet...

I used Google Apps on Day 1. I tired of the ever-moving service set and the generally web-only means to get at data and the compliant-only-with-Google's-services. Nobody I know uses the latest version of Google Apps, and I likely never will again. I've read that people swear by their services - I don't care, and I don't care for their products. A bother of mine - I sued a former client for non-payment, and won a judgment and collected several years ago; I set up a test of Google's new Apps (or whatever it's called now) and tested their Google+ "app" - that client I sued showed up as a "recommended" person for my "Circles", and that result of likely data mining of accounts bothered me as I'd never told him of my new business and he wasn't in my contacts so the only way Google could have know about the connection was that my former client has my name in his emails somewhere. I use Gmail for junk mail, which is all it's good for IMHO...

Geeky Chimp

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2015
Within the Contacts Service provided by macOS Server (formerly OS X Server) you are correct that you can only have one address book per user. You could however have a generic user called 'Contacts' and setup an address book for this user. You could then either set everyones devices to look at this shared contacts manually or use Profiles (which would probably be easier).