Everyone has one ICE (in case of emergency) number on their phone but we also have a group of people, friends or family, that we need to stay in constant contact with. Call them your in-crowd, call them your nagging parents, or call them your peeps, but you have a need to stay in constant contact with a specific group of people. iOS isn’t very flexible when it comes to group messaging which is why you might want to look for a better option for sharing with large groups. Contact Center is a free iOS app that lets you get in touch with your in-group super fast. It lets you send them a group message via the default messages app, a group email, and place quick calls to anyone in the group as well as send them GIFs.
Contact Center features ads that can be removed with a $2.99 upgrade. The ads aren’t very intrusive so if you decide to use the app for free they won’t bother you too much. Start off by creating your group of people you need to message frequently. The app will automatically pick up who your favorite contacts are. Your group and your favorites are added to the shortcuts on the app’s home screen. You can add or remove them by tapping the edit button at the top right.
The group email and group message can be sent to one of the groups or you can select one of the contacts and send them a quick message, place a call, send an email, and send a photo. Group actions are limited to sending emails and messages though other actions appear as well but they don’t work for the entire group.
You can add a new folder or shortcut to the home screen by tapping the edit button at the top. The shortcuts are for sending emails, making calls to a particular contact, and accessing the dial pad.
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Conceptually, the app tries to make group messaging easier and aims to give you faster access to your favorite contacts. Once I got the hang of the app the first question I asked myself was why would I use it over the default Phone app where I can access Contacts as well as send them emails and messages. Contact Center fails at good execution of what sounds like a good idea and overly complicates things. The interface isn’t what you would ever call intuitive. In stark comparison, you can look at Mingle which, although slightly complicated to use adds some features that the contacts and phone app don’t have. For Contact Center to be worth the upgrade, it would have to drastically improve how it works with groups.