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How to create global Contact list using OSX Server Contacts Service?

2172 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Jan 24, 2013 7:24 PM by ajm_from_WA RSS
J_Semp Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 22, 2013 8:20 AM

My goal is to create a global contact list for the use of my department at work. We currently have 5 MBP's and a Mac Mini Server running OSX Server.


I have read so many forum posts and so called "solutions" that my head is completly spinning... like a record... right round... you get the idea.


I talked with Apple Support, and they are going to walk me through the process of changing our network from "local" to a legitimate internet network. Enabling DNS and setting up open directory are some of the steps, and all in all i was impressed with the support i received. We did a complete walkthough of all the steps it would take to change everything, without actually making any changes (because I could not shut down the company server at the time I called).


All that being said, I have been reading that actually creating and sharing a global contact list (and enabling specific user access for read/write for said list) is not as simple as Apple is telling me. I have read so many horror stories about not being able to edit the list, having duplicate lists and entries, and many other problems. It seems that this "Contact Service" is not really what its billed as.


Im just looking for someone who has this already setup to shine some light on my questions/concerns. I have scoured the internet for information, and either i'm looking in the wrong place or I just happen to have the WORST possible combination of OS X versions, server versions and so on. I would expect a company who charges such high prices for its products to design them to ACTUALLY WORK how they are advertised to work!


Thanks in advance and a thousand kudos to anybody that can help!!!



Mac mini, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), Running OSX Server
  • cellcore Calculating status...

    You could setup a user called global or something like that.


    Adjust the access on that user to only Addressbook.


    If your machines are enrolled you can use profile manager to push out the config, you can setup their personal addressbook as well as the "global" one. If they aren't then you need to have everyone setup a second account under Addressbook using the username "global" and the password set to that user.


    Import the contacts you want everyone to have into that "global" users addressbook.


    Everyone should then be able to read/write to that addressbook.

  • cellcore Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)

    I'm going to assume you have DNS and Open Directory setup and Contacts on as well.


    Here are the steps.

    Open the Server Application. It should have a list of options on the left side.


    Select the one that says Users.

    Click the Plus symbol to add a user.

    Enter the Full name "global" or whatever you decide on

    Press tab, it should autofill in the account name and email address. You can remove the email address of this user since you won't be using it.

    Put in the password of this global account,

    Put it in again in the verify section.

    Then press done.

    You should see the list of users again once you press done.

    Right click on the Global user and choose "Edit Access to Services..."

    Uncheck everything except Contacts

    Press Ok.

    At this point you should be able to close out of the Server Application.


    Go to one of the machines and open Contacts.

    Go to Preferences and choose Accounts

    Choose the Plus symbol. It should default to a CardDAV account

    Type in the Global user and its password and the name of the server.

    Then click Create.

  • David Lawless Calculating status...

    I've got the Contacts list working using a single user name. I'm able to sign other users into that account from each of their Contacts and they see the address information (both on the network and when outside the network).


    The problem is that if I use "Make this My Card", only one user sticks (individual users basically can't define their own "Make this My Card"). I assume that is a problem because we are using only one account.


    I've noticed that Contacts on my Mountain Lion Server has a "Directories" group, but I don't seem to be able to add vCards to that group (it appears under the All Contacts, where I also see "On My Mac" and my other user).


    Logically speaking, I would guess that I should be able to log into the Contacts from any user that is set up on the server and be able to see the Contacts info (and I suspect that would solve the "Make this My Card" problem).


    Any ideas?

  • cellcore Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)

    The Directories group is there to search your directory, like the LDAP server Open Directory uses.


    If you click on it and do a search for one of you users, their name should appear with all the informaiton Open Directory knows about that user. Directories group is searchable only.


    Every users should have their own Contacts login. Signing everyone in to use the same one would cause problems with the "Make this my card" as you said. Each user should be using their own Contacts login to have their default "Make this my card" and the shared one (the one everyone logins into) should just be if you want everyone to be able to see contacts for the company.


    Hope this clears it up David.



  • cellcore Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)

    The reverse DNS entry you will need to get from your Internet service provider. Some have web requests you can send in, some you have to call and set it up.



  • David Lawless Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    I guess I'm missing something... Where does the Contact information I want to share with our employees go? I was assuming that it was the Contacts app on the Mountain Lion Server...

  • cellcore Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)

    If they are using OSX machines to connect to Mountain Lion server then from their machine they would open up Addressbook (Lion) or Contacts (ML). They would go to Preferences and Accounts, then click the plus symbol to add a new account type in the users credentials and the server name. And press ok.


    The Contacts application on Mountain Lion server I don't use for anything. Contacts should be turned on in the Server application, then have your users connect to it using their desktop machines or iOS devices.


    As I wrote in a previous post ( in the this thread you could setup a Global user, with just a Contact account. This would be used by everyone to see the contacts for the company (you would import you're company wide contact list into this account).

  • ajm_from_WA Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    @ David

    I had the same problem.  I tried sharing a server account for contacts and foudn that individual users could no longer select their own contact card. 


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