Using Contacts with married couples

pezdaddy

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 3, 2012
71
3
I am trying to figure out a solution to this problem, and hoping someone can help. Running Mountain Lion and using the Contacts app.

I've run into a problem for storing our contacts. When two people are married, my wife likes to keep them together as one contact (John and Jane Doe) since they live at the same address. But, if we also list a birthday for Jane Doe, it shows up on the calendar as both their names, since that is how their card reads in contacts.

Not sure I want to keep a separate card for each family member though. On the other hand, it would be nice to keep everyone individual for using on our iphones. We also use icloud, so I am trying not to duplicate information if I don't have to.

What does everyone else do? Is it possible to keep them separate in one view (our phones) but combined in another view (on the Mac)?
 

26139

Suspended
Dec 27, 2003
4,315
373
Okay

Either create a separate user for each of you or separate computers.

Bet you'll save a lot of time and hassle that way.
 

MacLovin78

macrumors regular
Apr 10, 2008
137
0
Either create a separate user for each of you or separate computers.

Bet you'll save a lot of time and hassle that way.
You misunderstood the question. He is not trying to figure out how to integrate his and his wife's contacts into one address book. He is trying to determine how to create one address book entry for couples that are married.

To the OP I do not think there is a graceful solution for this. I think you have gone as far as you can with integrating married couples into one contact. It would be really helpful if you could somehow link individual contacts but I don't know of a way to do that.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,470
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California
What does everyone else do? Is it possible to keep them separate in one view (our phones) but combined in another view (on the Mac)?
I don't know of any better way to do this. I just make a separate card for each person with their own birthday in there.

There are a few entries where I am really only friends one member of the couple, so I make a card entry for them with their birthday then just add the spouse's name in the added "spouse" field. I can't stand seeing entries with two first names like Jim and Kathy Jones. :)

 

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
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Portland, OR
I don't know of any better way to do this. I just make a separate card for each person with their own birthday in there.

There are a few entries where I am really only friends one member of the couple, so I make a card entry for them with their birthday then just add the spouse's name in the added "spouse" field. I can't stand seeing entries with two first names like Jim and Kathy Jones. :)
Same here. I often do create a single "Jim and Kathy Jones" type of contact... especially for someone new who is just an acquaintance. Like you, I do not like it... and generally end up with a separate contact for each person over time.

/Jim
 

pezdaddy

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 3, 2012
71
3
Thanks everyone. I am sure the practice of keeping the contacts together is a hold over from paper address books, though I agree it gets to be a hassle with phones, ipads, etc where everything is designed to be individual.

I might have a discovered a workaround though, at least on the iOS side of things. I've discovered that if each person has their own info (phone number, birthday, etc.) but the same address, you can "unify" the cards. It will combine the cards BUT on the iOS calender it still shows each person's birthday individually.

It will only show one person's name, but I can use the related field to add a spouse. Looks weird to only see one name and not the other though.

Perhaps the ultimate answer is "live with it" and just know whose married and who isn't. They'll be next to each other anyway if I sort by last name.
 

awair

macrumors regular
Sep 6, 2011
103
15
Great question

OP,

I think this merits input to feedback@apple.

Too often, software is written for a single way of doing things that mimic a legacy mode of operation.

I believe the suggestion would be a better method to allow linking of address cards and/or permitting a 2nd birthday field.

Note that in iOS, you can add a 2nd date field (which on my iPad) defaults to the label 'Anniversary'. This label can be changed, for example 'birthday2'. Note that neither the custom field, nor default 'anniversary' field appear in the Birthday list in the Calendar app.

At the moment, it seems that you have to choose which feature you need most; separate cards with birthdays or a joint card without.
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,428
796
What does everyone else do? Is it possible to keep them separate in one view (our phones) but combined in another view (on the Mac)?
If my primary contact is one spouse, I create a contact only for that person, but include their spouses name in the Spouse field. Of course, that doesn't store the spouse's birthday. If I want to keep contact info on both, including birthdays, I create a separate contact for each, with the other spouse's name in the spouse field. That way when I search for "John Doe", I find both "John Doe" and "Jane Doe".

If you want to have a 3rd contact for certain purposes, such as holiday cards, you could create one for "John & Jane Doe". You can create contact groups and only sync certain groups to your iPhones, so you could have the individual contacts synced, but not the combined contact.
 
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ApfelKuchen

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Aug 28, 2012
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Over time, the "joint" contact (regardless of what program is used) has turned out to be awkward for me. You want to send a birthday card to one of them and print-out an envelope? You have to modify the name. I've also run into issues during conversions from one app to another (I wound up with a pile of "Jim &", "Mary &", etc. in the first name field after one conversion). Finally, when receiving calls on your iPhone, Caller ID won't tell you whether it's Jim or Mary on the line (presuming they have separate phone numbers).

While I haven't looked at all the ramifications... Have you considered putting "Jim & Mary Doe" in the Company field for both individual's contacts, and check the Company check box? That would default to their joint name for things like address labels, but each contact would stand on its own for other purposes.

As to iCloud? Don't sweat it. Compared to the space occupied by one photo in your Camera Roll? If you do tick up close to that 5GB, there's almost always something bulkier and less important you can delete.
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
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Finally, when receiving calls on your iPhone, Caller ID won't tell you whether it's Jim or Mary on the line (presuming they have separate phone numbers).

While I haven't looked at all the ramifications... Have you considered putting "Jim & Mary Doe" in the Company field for both individual's contacts, and check the Company check box? That would default to their joint name for things like address labels, but each contact would stand on its own for other purposes.
If I recall correctly, doing this would result in "Jim & Mary Doe" appearing in the caller ID, no matter which of them called, and would not show the individual name.
 

andiwm2003

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Mar 29, 2004
4,345
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Boston, MA
funny, I thought about the same question just today. My brother, his wife and the three kids live at the same house and I have currently 5 separate addressbook entries. if they change the number of their landline i have to remember to update five entries. same applies if a married couple moves. not a very good solution.

i'm surprised that apple hasn't addressed this by allowing to link entries.
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
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New Zealand
funny, I thought about the same question just today. My brother, his wife and the three kids live at the same house and I have currently 5 separate addressbook entries. if they change the number of their landline i have to remember to update five entries. same applies if a married couple moves. not a very good solution.
I have my parents as two separate cards but I haven't put the landline against either of them; if it's in there then the phone will always tell me that it's dad calling since his name comes before mum's alphabetically. And therein we have another problem: If you have two cards with the same number then you only get the details from the first one.
 

zgeist

macrumors newbie
Jan 25, 2010
18
3
anyone come up with a good solution?

I'm raising this issue from the dead because I have looked and looked and still can't find a solution. EVERY Christmas this issue haunts me again when I try to print out a checklist for writing holiday cards.

I did find an old apple support article that said in older versions of Contacts if two contacts had the same address, when printing mailing labels it would only print one label but have both names on it. Now isn't that brilliant? Why did this feature get removed?
 

ApfelKuchen

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Aug 28, 2012
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My approach is to have separate entries for each individual, but to treat the family as a Company (Company = John & Mary Smith). If you want to create yet another contact for the household, you could do that, too, and put them into a separate Group for Christmas Card List or some such.
 
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kelub

macrumors regular
Jun 15, 2010
136
45
The company idea is a good one. I think the fact that the contact paradigm shifted from a person's contact info being tied to a location, to tied to the person, is to blame. (i.e. used to be a phone number was tied to a place, not a person, but with cell phones a number is now tied to a person.) Since each unique person has a unique phone number, then the only thing they'd potentially share is an address.

Personally, I just have 1 entry for each person. I don't send out cards or anything like that though so I've never really ran into a problem like this. I could see where assigning a company name to families would be useful - "Jones Family," "Smith Family," etc. That way you could group kids together too who might have contact data. It seems more practical than trying to cram multiple people into 1 contact just to keep the address field the same (which would be the only thing other than last name that they'd all share.) The downside would be that if you're using it to print, you would probably have to assign a company name to everyone, even singles. The nickname field might work well for this too.
 

rrustema

macrumors newbie
Sep 6, 2009
3
1
anyone come up with a good solution?

I'm raising this issue from the dead
me too

I did find an old apple support article that said in older versions of Contacts if two contacts had the same address, when printing mailing labels it would only print one label but have both names on it. Now isn't that brilliant? Why did this feature get removed?
That is brilliant. I want it. Apple, please?
 

TheAppleFairy

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Mar 28, 2013
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The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
A few years ago I overhauled all my contacts. Everyone no matter their relationship to me got their own contact and if they were married to someone I put their relationship to the other contact in there. Also even my parents are now listed with first and last name, as is my wife.

I don't break this rule for anyone, and my life has been so much better since.
 
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rrustema

macrumors newbie
Sep 6, 2009
3
1
A few years ago I overhauled all my contacts. Everyone no matter their relationship to me got their own contact and if they were married to someone I put their relationship to the other contact in there. Also even my parents are now listed with first and last name, as is my wife.

I don't break this rule for anyone, and my life has been so much better since.
Doing that from the beginning, in the era of my Palm VisorPhone. But still, how do you print envelopes or labels to a family on one address and two or more family members?
 
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