Don’t touch my phone numbers, Apple!

With Mac Mavericks Mountain Lion Apple renamed the Address Book to Contacts and introduced a phone field filter that’s been annoying users and causing them to switch to third-party contact managers. An attempt to make a phone number more readable for humans by adding a dash, space, slash or brackets in the field is ignored; the ‘foreign’ characters are filtered out and an ugly unreadable string of numbers remains. I suspect this change is supposed to make the phone field machine readable, for dialing programs. But the main purpose of the phone field in my mind is to be able to dial a number and not lose your place — at least that’s what I use it for. Apple might have other ideas, but I’m not interested; I just want the text I write to stay put.

phone during edit

phone after edit Huh?

Now I’m pretty loyal to the Mac ecosystem, preferring the native (free) Apps to third-party replacements. I did try Cobook, which lets the fields alone, but soon concluded that it’s more bother than it’s worth — switching between that and Contacts caused many strange bugs like losing data, and the program just doesn’t look right to me. So, what to do?

Put a character in the field that makes Apple roll over and play dead! I used a period for a while but wasn’t fond of looking at extraneous junk just to get it working. So finally I found it — big drum roll — a TAB at the end of the number. Just press ⌥ + TAB so you don’t skip to the next field, and you’re done. ‘Course I have to do this for around 600 people with several numbers, but hey, this bugger is solved!

Now I’m just hoping that Tim Cook doesn’t read this post and proceed to add another character criminal to Apples list of suspects. Or maybe he should read it? Maybe for Christmas I’ll get a Mavericks update with this filter dropped? Nah, I’ll never know if they renege on that, after all they are not that chatty.

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