I gave up on my contacts list a long time ago. It got too big, too messy, and too confusing. But for the first time in a while, I actually want to dive back in and straighten it up. That’s thanks to Cardhop, a new Mac app from Flexibits that makes it much easier to manage your contacts and actually get things done with them.
Flexibits is best known as the company behind the calendar app Fantastical — and its roots show. Just like it did with Fantastical, Flexibits’ goal with Cardhop is to use natural language typing support to make it much quicker and simpler to get things done.
The app pops down from your menubar and is largely based around a search box, although it might be better described as a sort of command line. Start typing a name, and it’ll pull up that person’s contact info. Type in a name it’s never seen before, and Cardhop is smart enough to know that you want to add someone new to your address book. You can keep on typing information, and Cardhop will automatically fill it in to the correct categories. So for example, typing “Jane Doe 1/1/01 555-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.org” will create a contact named Jane Doe and list the following information as her birthday, phone number, and email address.
That might sound confusing, but it’s not in practice. You see the information fly into the correct categories as you type it, and it’s much faster than having to click an “edit” button and insert the information field by field, like in a traditional contacts app.
Where Cardhop gets even smarter is in what it lets you do with all that information once you’ve entered it — you can just type to start calling, emailing, or chatting with someone. So if you type “call Jane,” it’ll start a phone call, even kicking the call over to a connected iPhone. I found its email function particularly handy. You can type “email Jane hi how are you,” and hitting enter will pop open a new email in your client of choice with the subject line already filled in with “hi how are you” or whatever it is you put there.
While the app is only for macOS, all of its contact management is based on iCloud, Gmail, and other contacts lists you sync through the operating system’s built-in accounts tool. That means all the changes you make in Cardhop will be transferred to your phone or email client, so you’ll be able to use them elsewhere — even if the handy management features won’t be present.
I haven’t ever regularly used a contacts app because it’s always seemed like too much work for too little reward, so it’s possible what I find valuable about Cardhop won’t hold true for someone who’s already deeply invested in one app or another. But I suspect there are lots of others out there who are sick of searching through their inbox every time they need to find someone’s contact info, but haven’t found an app that makes entering all that information worthwhile. I’ve only been using Cardhop for a few days, but so far I think it’s the first app to do the trick.
For those who have been trying out Mac contacts app for a while, you might notice that Cardhop looks a lot like the long-gone Cobook. Back in 2012, we wrote that “Cobook is to Address Book what Fantastical is to iCal.” It took a while, but fittingly, Flexibits is now doing for contacts apps what it did for calendar apps.
Cardhop is available today and launches at a sale price of $14.99. It’ll eventually go up to $19.99 after a “limited time.”