Watch out when having ShortName synchronized with Traveler and iOS 7

Today I’ve been pointed to an interesting behavior when having the ShortName field filled in your personal addressbook and iOS 7. Thanks to Harald “Shadow” Gärttner for this.

So what does happen:
The shortname field in the personal addressbook has always been used as the nickname in iOS. That’s very convenient when using voice commands, addressing e-mail and so on. A lot of people store the people’s nicknames in their personal address books (besides the people’s photos, AFAIK). One shortcoming which companies are trying to address is that only the personal address book data is available on the device when being offline. The solution for some companies is to synchronize data from other addressbooks into the users personal addressbooks (and vice versa). So far, so good.

iOS 7 now brings a new – per default enabled – setting within the contacts to “Prefer Nicknames”. That means if a nickname (== shortname) is set in an addressbook entry this one is displayed, i. e. in the mail recipient field.

Is that bad? Not at all. It depends on the data in the shortname field. If it’s empty – you’re fine. If someone sets “cryptic” shortnames or stores other data, like the name of the addressbook source, the users will get confused really fast.

There is currently no way to change this setting remotely (i. e. using a MDM solution). So be prepared if you do some synchronization stuff like forementioned and change that as early as possible. Or “just try” to inform your users that they have to change that setting after the iOS upgrade. As known iOS 7 is still in beta mode and the default setting may change (I don’t think so).