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Every time we have MobileMe sync problems, we end up with duplicated contacts in Address Book. And over time, small human errors in data entry build up into a big mess. Beyond the very basic duplicate search in Address Book, Apple unfortunately doesn’t offer much in the way of tools to manage these situations. You can go through each contact individually, but Contacts Cleaner vaporizes much of that tedium by thoroughly scanning your data and scrubbing significant problems out of your Address Book.
This nifty utility checks for duplicate contacts; duplicate properties in individual records like repeated postal addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers; badly or weirdly formatted names; and invalid or unusual characters. In total, Contacts Cleaners keeps its eyes peeled for 13 kinds of address woes.
Contacts Cleaner gives you a clear indication of what the problem is and how to fix it.
The app’s interface is clean and easy to understand. Contacts Cleaner lists the contacts that have issues, identifies the problems, provides you with options for resolution, and then shows you the details of how the issue will be corrected depending on the option you’ve chosen. Fixes can be a bit rigid sometimes, offering you a predetermined set of actions to choose from. For special cases, you can exclude specific “errors”—contacts that use unusual suffixes like professional titles in their name, or single names like Cher or Banksy. You can also tell Contacts Cleaner to ignore a conflict for that one session if it’s something you want to fix later.
Of course, before you go tinkering with crucial data, it’s important to make a backup first. Contacts Cleaner helps you out there, and when you’re done fixing your Address Book, Contacts Cleaner politely encourages you to make sure you sync your changes to Google and MobileMe. Unfortunately, if you’re using something besides Address Book to manage your contacts, you’re out of luck. Contacts Cleaner doesn’t work with CardDAV or Exchange servers.
The bottom line. Contacts Cleaner is a handy and inexpensive utility for making sure your Address Book is in tip-top shape.
Mac OS 10.6.6 or later
Clean, simple to understand interface. Idiot-proof database backup. Fixes most common problems.
Fixes can be inflexible. No support for CardDAV or Exchange-based contacts.