Share some contacts, not my life
August 12, 2016 5:37 AM   Subscribe

How do I set up a shared contact folder in Apple iCloud, without sharing all my contacts or other information?

I will start working together with someone who is also an Apple user (iPhones / Macbooks). We have decided to share our contacts as a very simple CRM system. (One of my previous questions was whether I needed a CRM system. The short answer was: no.) I don't want this person to see my personal contacts. I don't want them to see my email and other personal information in iCloud, just this folder.

Furthermore, I'd like both of us to be able to add information to the existing contacts in that folder, and add new contacts. My google skills are failing, I can only find how to share a vcard or share the entire contact folder in iCloud.

Is this possible, and if so, how can we set this up? Do we need a different app for that?
posted by eau79 to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I don’t think it’s possible to use iCloud to do this. iCloud is really designed to synchronise one person’s information between their own devices. It’s not intended for sharing a subset of information with multiple people.

I don’t have a solution for you but I can give you some pointers. One approach might be to put your contacts in a online system that your iPhones and Macs can access. In a similar way to how you can configure an iPhone to connect to an email account, you can make it connect to a contacts account using either LDAP or CardDAV. There is a Dummies guide that explains how to add an LDAP or CardDAV server to an iPhone and what the differences between them are.

Of course, then you need an LDAP or CardDAV server. While you could set one up yourself, it’s not something you’re going to want to manage if you’re not technical. So you could look at hosted solutions. Most LDAP services you find are probably going to be aimed at large businesses. CardDAV is a bit more niche: I found a list of hosted CardDAV providers. It appears to be a bit out-of-date and I’m not familiar with any of them but Fruux looks fairly promising (you’d probably have to pay about €20 a month for it though).

Another approach might be to figure out a way to get the contacts in to your colleague’s Mac Contacts app (and get any changes back again) and then rely on synching (iCloud or iTunes) to get them on to the iPhone. Since Macs are much more open and flexible than iPhones, you may be able to find a solution that fits with your workflow. The number of options available may be daunting though.
posted by kyten at 6:10 AM on August 13, 2016

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