What is the one app that makes everything work better? Hints: The app is easy to use, it’s free, and it’s already at your fingertips.

It’s your contact manager. That’s right, your Contacts app. Among the standard apps preinstalled on every PC, Mac, iOS and Android mobile device is a contact manager app.

Your other standard apps include a web browser, apps to manage email, instant messages, photos, documents, calendar, reminders, voice commands, maps, and more.

An example of more is OmniFocus, a very, very smart iOS app that knows when I’m near my many favorite hardware stores in CT or VT and reminds me to pick up things on my list. OmniFocus' location and context awareness capabilities are most helpful in my work. I love OmniFocus.

What do these apps have in common? They all come alive when contacts’ info are accurately entered. How?

Link a calendar event to its location and you’ll be reminded when to depart with time enough to reach the destination. Your smart phone will route you around traffic tie-ups, one-way streets, construction delays, even weather hazards by suggesting alternate routes. When your contacts’ addresses are accurate you’ll be amazed how well Apple and Google maps work.

Hey Siri, launch Find Friends (iOS) to help meet up with family in the city, colleages at a trade show, friends at a concert or stadium. It’s a great way to keep tabs on the kids while hiking, skiing, or vacationing in far-flung destinations. At the airport Find Friends helps me see when our son has his baggage and walks to the curb.

Similarly, we use Waze when several couples are driving from different locations to visit our friends in Maine. Waze displays alternate routes, road hazard and traffic info, travel time, traffic speed, arrival times at the destination location. Waze spots traffic delays forming ahead and routes us around them. Everyone in our Maine group has Waze, we see our progress and we know when cocktails can start.

As with all things good, there’s a catch, right? The catch here is that your contacts’ info has to actually be in your contacts app.

Luckily, the easiest way to capture a contact takes just a few seconds. Pick an email message, click the sender’s email address, then tap Add or Update Contact. While you’re at it, enter phone numbers and complete address. The more accurate contacts' info is, the better your contacts-enabled apps will work for you.

© 2019 Quentin Leo