Mac Musings

Speed Dial iSync Support: A Missed Opportunity

Dan Knight - 2005.09.15 - Tip Jar

Cell phones can be wonderful things, but switching from one phone to another can be genuine pain. Buttons may be in different locations. It probably won't have the same ring tones you've become used to. And it doesn't know any phone numbers.

If your new phone and old one are both supported by iSync and you have the right cable (or Bluetooth), you can synchronize your Address Book and quickly load your numbers into your new phone. But there's a catch - speed dial.

I use speed dial for the numbers I call most often and the internal phone book for less frequently called numbers. But when I use iSync to update my Motorola cell phone, the phone assigns speed dial numbers starting with the first unused one.

If I simply import my address book into my Moto phone, the first entry is speed dial 1, the next one is 2, and so forth.

The most annoying thing about that is the way my phone manages speed dial numbers. If I have a phone number set for speed dial 4 and want to put another number there, I have to:

  1. Go to the entry that currently uses 4 and give it a new speed dial number. I have to guess at what number might be available. If I choose an existing speed dial number and confirm the change, the stupid phone will delete the previous entry with that speed dial number.
  2. Now I can add or update an existing phone book entry to use 4 as its speed dial number.

I've heard there are programs for Windows PCs that let you manage all of this stuff on your computer. I know that when I go to the Alltel store and buy a new cell phone, they can port the numbers and speed dial info to my new phone - for a US$10 fee.

I'd love to see Apple add speed dial support to iSync and the Address Book. It's just one more field, and then add a new view for working with speed dial numbers.

Failing that, I'd love to see someone create a simple program that syncs the information in your Address Book and in your cell phone - including speed dial information - and lets you edit the speed dial numbers before updating the info stored in your cell phone.

I think a lot of people would pay US$10 for a program like that. One that lets you move phone numbers from one cell phone to another while retaining speed dials and also lets rearrange speed dial numbers using your Mac instead of having to do it on the phone itself.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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