By Alan Henry February 10, 2009 12:01AM EST
The built-in contacts synchronization tool in iTunes works, but not terribly well. Even when using it the right way, you'll likely wind up with duplicate contacts, contacts on multiple computers that never seem to stay synchronized, and contacts that are only available on that machine.
With iDrive Lite, you can back up all of your iPhone contacts to the Web, and restore or share them all at any time. You can also re-download them and use them to make phone calls, send e-mail, and send SMS messages.
If you're the type of person who carries their iPhone everywhere you go but doesn't have a good, solid backup of all of your contacts, iDrive Lite can help. Once you download iDrive Lite from the Apple App Store, you can use it to instantly back up all of your contacts and restore them if you ever inadvertently delete or lose one.
Once you have the app downloaded to your iPhone, the first thing iDrive Lite does is back up all of the contacts that live on your iPhone. This way, if you inadvertently overwrite or delete a contact from your iPhone, you can easily restore it without having to re-enter it by hand or go back to your computer. Additionally, when you restore contacts, iDrive Lite is intelligent enough to only restore contacts that are missing, and it doesn't leave you with duplicates to sort through.
In addition to backing up and restoring your contacts, iDrive Lite allows you to share your contacts with others, much like Palm device owners "beamed" their contacts to one another using their IR ports. Simply touch the "share" button and iDrive Lite will open a page where you can select the contact you'd like to send to. Once you select the person you'd like to send the contact information to, touch the "send" button to compress the contact into an SMS message and send it.
When your recipient receives the SMS, they'll see an import key that they can use to download the contact you've sent them. The recipient must also have the iDrive Lite app installed on their own iPhone in order for the sharing feature to work.
Best of all, iDrive Lite has no desktop dependency and works entirely from your iPhone. You don't have to synchronize with your desktop contacts if you don't want to. Even if you do, iDrive Lite can back up any new contacts that are added when you sync. The app is free, and requires an iPhone or iPod Touch using the 2.0 software to run.