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Use 'Company' field in iPhone's Contacts app for tagging

Dan Fellini

The social media movement has trained us well to tag just about everything we see. The presence of tags on photos, videos, blog posts and even to-do items has become ubiquitous.

So this simple tip, from reader Greg F., struck me as an obvious, easy trick to help categorize contacts inside the iPhone's Contacts app. It involves using the Company field in Contacts to record tags -- just put in your tags, separated by a space, instead of a company name.

First things first. Why would you want to categorize contacts with tags? Consider Greg's example. When using the contact search feature to make a call, send an email or text message, he enters a tag, like 'drinkingbuddies,' instead of individual names. In return he's presented with a full list of contacts he can invite out for a beer.

Simple, powerful and a great way to prevent leaving anyone out when sending a quick, after-work invite. Other useful tags that come to my mind are 'family,' 'taxis,' 'pizzaplaces' and 'therapists.' It's not ideal, obviously, for contacts that actually have a real company name associated with them.

There's more to this though. Often I find myself sending photos from my iPhone, through email, to my Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitpic accounts. So I tagged each of those contacts 'Photos.' Now, it's a simple task to look these addresses up and pick the appropriate ones.

It's unfortunate the iPhone doesn't allow you to select more than one contact at a time, though. So even with this tip, it's still a time-consuming process to add multiple contacts to an email or SMS.

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