How do I correctly use the "related name" feature? In which direction does it work? Does the relationship label indicate what the edited person (full contact sheet) is to the stated person (field data), or what the stated person is to the edited person?

Example: Jane is Jon's daughter. I edit contact Jon. Which of the following setups is correct?

  • a) Daughter: Jane (= Jane is Jon's daughter)
  • b) Father: Jane (=Jon is a father to Jane)

I found nothing via Google, Apple Support pages, Contacts.app help menu nor here on StackExchange. Only some sites where people complain that Siri fails to interpret "call my <relationshipEntity>" (mostly "call my wife"), which my guts tell me is related to a false usage of the relationship field.

I think this topic would be worth to be addressed in official Apple documentation. It is a usability problem. Possible a harder task for users than Apple's UX designers and developers thought, particularly regarding internationalization/localization. Maybe in English the semantics and mental concepts on "related name" are very clear, but in other languages it may be more ambiguous. A small tooltip which clarifies the relationship in a full language sentence such as "Jane is Jon's daughter" could help to establish certainty and/or avoid false usage.

ANSWER: The correct scheme is:

a) Daughter: Jane (= Jane is Jon's daughter)

As answered by @Thibault and comprehensible deduced in @Phong's comment. Thanks!

  • In general, the information in the contact is about the contact. There are fields for the contact's emails, the contact's phones, the contact's addresses, etc. In view of this, I would say that you would have fields for the contact's daughter (example a), which would be Jane, and/or the contact's father, whoever that may be. If Siri is smart enough, she should call the wife of the contact you set to be you. This would assume that you have a contact set as you, of course. – Cullub Jan 11 '16 at 20:11

I've always use this like the a) exemple and it always work for me. So I think your a) exemple is good because it's like this I use the relationship field.

  • Thanks for your empirical answer! In addition to this I'd appreciate an explanative answer as well, if someone has more knowledge on this. Thanks! – porg May 12 '15 at 7:30
  • 1
    This is how it works, and how Siri enters information when you tell it about a relationship. The explanation is simple: if you enter an email address for your contact, the email address is yours. If you enter a child, then the child is yours. It wouldn't make sense for certain fields to work in the opposite direction. – user11633 Jul 8 '16 at 23:19

Be careful using non-standard related names fields (such as "son" or "daughter", especially if you sync your iPhone / iPad with your Mac, as you will face problems with the sync.

It took me a while to dig it out but I had this issue with my iPad and iPhone not syncing with my Macbook. I discovered the following errors in the console (under ~/Library/Logs/Sync):

`` |AddressBookSync|######|0x############|ISyncSession|Error| ISyncSession record validation failure: Value son pushed for enumeration property type on com.apple.contacts.Related Name is not an allowed value.

|AddressBookSync|######|0x############|ISyncSession|Error| ISyncSession record validation failure: Value daughter pushed for enumeration property type on com.apple.contacts.Related Name is not an allowed value. ``

Sync wouldn't work, and I couldn't find anything online about this. And since you can't search for field names neither in iOS nor in Apple Contacts on macOS, I had to do things the manual way by export my macOS contacts to a PDF, and searching for values "son" and "daughter", then going back to contacts on both macOS and iOS and manually changing BOTH to "child".

Result was successful sync again!


This should be explanative enough. Let me know...


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