My Custom Contact Sharing Solution


I’ve been excited recently about the prospect of attending some cons this summer. One of the things that sucks most about cons, or about meeting new people in general, is sharing information with them.

Paper cards are kind of done. And while there a ton of apps for doing contact sharing, they all require you to sign up for some third party. So even if there’s some cool QR Code functionality going on, all those QR Code scans and profile updates are going through their server. Or you could do the hand-eachother-your-phones thing, but that’s become less popular recently.

I just wanted something simple:

  1. You meet someone you want to share your info with.

  2. You take some very quick action.

  3. They now have your contact info—in the form of a vCard on their phone.

Those are the requirements.

I was initially thinking I’d just create my own QR Code, which points to a vCard hosted on my own server. And then I’d get that vCard printed on some kind of cool Titanium physical card that goes in my wallet. But that requires that I pull out the wallet, and then the card, and then put those back when I’m done.

So I decided to do everything on the phone, which for me is an iPhone.

Luckily, iPhone has touch-based accessibility shortcuts now, where you can open certain apps by tapping the back of the phone. iPhone also has Shortcuts, which allow you to automate almost anything you can do on a phone.

So here’s what I built.

  1. I used Chrome to create a QR code that points to a limited-info vCard hosted on my own server.

  2. I created a custom URL that has that QR code on it.

  3. I created a Shortcut on the iPhone that opens that URL in my browser on my iPhone.

  4. I created a Touch accessibility shortcut that calls that shortcut when I double-tap the back of my phone.


So now when I meet someone new, I pull out my phone, double-tap the back, and they’re shown the view you see above (except with the real QR code).

I think this will hold me over until the iPhone has native NFC-based contact sharing.