Basics of Contacts on the iPad mini - dummies

Basics of Contacts on the iPad mini

Assuming that you already set your iPad mini to sync with your computer, all your friends’ snail mail addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers are hanging out in one place. Their not-so-secret hiding place is revealed when you tap the Contacts icon on the Home screen.

How to add and view contacts on the iPad mini

To add contacts from within the Contacts app, tap the + button at the top of the screen and type as much or as little profile information as you have for the person. Tap Add Photo to add a picture from your photo albums or collections (or to take a snapshot with your iPad camera).

You can edit the information later by tapping the Edit button when a contact’s name is highlighted.

A list of your contacts appears on the left panel of the screen, with the one you’re currently viewing shown in gray. On the right, you can see a mug shot of your contact, plus any info you have: phone number, e-mail address, home and another address, and birthday. You also find an area to scribble notes about a contact.


You have three ways to land on a specific contact:

  • Flick your finger so that the list of contacts on the left side scrolls rapidly up or down, loosely reminiscent of the spinning Lucky 7s and other pictures on a Las Vegas slot machine. Think of the payout you’d get with that kind of power on a one-armed bandit.

  • Slide your thumb or another finger along the alphabet on the left edge of the contacts list or tap one of the teeny-tiny letters to jump to names that begin with that letter.

  • Start to type the name of a contact in the Search field near the top of the contacts list. Or, type the name of the place your contact works. When you’re at or near the appropriate contact name, stop the scrolling by tapping the screen.

    When you tap to stop the scrolling, that tap doesn’t select an item in the list. This may seem counterintuitive the first few times you try it, but wait until you get used to it before you judge it. Just think of that first tap as applying the brakes to the scrolling list.

You can change the way your contacts are displayed.

  1. Tap Settings→Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

  2. Scroll down to Contacts settings on the right side of the screen, if it’s not already visible.

  3. Tap Sort Order or Display Order.

  4. For each contact, choose the First, Last option or Last, First option.

    This is where you decide whether you want to sort or display entries by a contact’s first or last name.

Searching contacts

You can search contacts by entering a first or last name in the Search field or by entering a company name.

You can locate people on your iPad without actually opening the Contacts app. Type a name in the Spotlight Search field, and then tap the name in the search results. Or ask Siri to compose and send an e-mail or iMessage, or call via FaceTime video or audio chat.

If you’re searching contacts with a Microsoft Exchange account, you may be able to search your employer’s Global Address List (GAL for short). This search typically works in one of two ways:

  • Tap the Groups button in the upper-left corner of the All Contacts screen and tap the appropriate Exchange server name to find folks. Groups on your computer might reflect, say, different departments in your company, friends from work, friends from school, and so on.

  • You can search a so-called LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) server. Similarly, if you have a CardDAV account, you can search for any contacts that have been synced to the iPad.

How to contact and share your iPad mini contacts

You can initiate an e-mail from within Contacts by tapping an e-mail address under a contact’s listings. Doing so fires up the Mail program, with the person’s name already in the To field.

You can also share a contact’s profile with another person. Tap the Share Contact button (you may have to scroll down to see it), and once again, the Mail program answers the call of duty.

This time, the contact’s vCard is embedded in the body of a new Mail message. Just address the message and send it on its merry way. A vCard is kind of like an electronic business card. You can identify it by its .vcf file format.

Finally, you can tap a contact’s snail-mail address to launch the Maps app and see it pinned to a map.

How to link contacts on the iPad mini

The people you know most likely have contact entries in more than one account, meaning that you might end up with redundant entries for the same person. The iPad solution is to link contacts.

Find the contact in question, tap Edit, scroll to the bottom of the Edit screen and tap Link Contact. Choose the related contact entry and then tap Link. It’s worth noting that the linked contacts in each account remain separate and aren’t merged.

How to remove a contact from an iPad mini

Hey, it happens. A person falls out of favor. Maybe he’s a jilted lover. Or maybe you just moved cross country and will no longer call on the services of your former gardener.

Removing a contact is easy, if unfortunate.

  1. Tap a contact and then tap Edit.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the Edit screen and tap Delete Contact.

  3. You get one more chance to change your mind.