Praise for Apple’s New Contacts Widget for iPhone and iPad

While we wait for Apple to properly fix the Safari UI, there is good news: the all new People widget in iOS 15 is going to be really useful, not only for all iPhone or iPad users, but also for all corporate users. Because the widget turns your device into a powerful contact and communication management system.

How? ‘Or’ What? Read on.

A useful addition to the home screen

Contacts is essentially a contact book. But Apple made it better with the addition of an improved widget in iOS 15.

You add the widget like any other, long press an app or widget on your device and select Edit Home Screen, press the plus (+) button, then choose the one you want to use.

If you install the People widget, you get what I think is a powerful and useful tool to provide you with a valuable personal information manager. It comes in four configurations: a single pane view connects you to the person you communicate with the most, and four, six, and 10 person views are populated automatically. The widget tracks who you are most in contact with and makes them available to you through the widget.

This is great when you want a quick and easy way to contact your partner, family, or close friends with whom you may be in frequent contact. But it should be of equal value to any corporate worker involved in frequent communication with internal or external partners. This makes it easy to contact that person directly from the home screen.

Stay on top of relationships

But that’s not why I think about this widget so much. It’s what happens when you tap any of these panes that makes it exciting because if you interact with that contact a lot, what you’ll see when you tap their icon is a summary of all of your recent interactions.

You can see recent messages, emails, photos and shared links; all files that mention this person; any shared rating; calendar appointments that feature that person; and all recent recalls.

It is extremely helpful. It will even show you that person’s birthday if you add it to your calendar. (Do you know how many contracts were won because someone wrote down someone else’s birthday and sent them a greeting? I don’t know the answer, but I think it is the kind of social glue that should be in any marketing 101.)

This means that you can monitor all of your current contacts and key communications from your iPhone’s home screen.

This is invaluable for ongoing project planning, and while it doesn’t (and arguably shouldn’t) replace a comprehensive project management or collaboration tool, it will help. This is the kind of solution that people once paid for in its own right and is now available as standard on all iPads and iPhones, starting with iOS / iPad OS 15.

This should look great in a Smart Stack with another new widget – Mail.

In praise of the courier

Another widget that I find really useful is the Mail widget, which allows you to track incoming messages to a specific mailbox. This is good in itself, but can be extremely useful if you make good use of the VIP tool in Mail.

The latter allows you to define key contacts as VIPs, which then allows you to prioritize incoming messages from these people. The Mail widget allows you to track incoming VIP emails or any other inbox, which means you can always scan recently received messages from your most important contacts on your home screen.

But for me, the Contacts widget is going to be something that I use a lot. I think most people will too.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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