Adam Wade Harris

Here's how I created 20,000 fake contacts on the iPhone

I needed to get a large number of fake contacts onto an iPhone recently for testing purposes, but I couldn’t find any example data that I could download. So here’s what I did to create it.

To find out what some sample data looked like, I went to iCloud and did an export of some contacts. It exports and imports using the vcard format. Here is some example data:

BEGIN:VCARD\r\nVERSION:3.0\r\nFN:Bob Smith\r\nN:Smith;Bob;;;\r\nEMAIL;TYPE=INTERNET:smith.bob@gmail.com\r\nURL:http\://www.bobsmith.com\r\nEND:VCARD\r\nBEGIN:VCARD\r\nVERSION:3.0\r\nFN:Bob Smith\r\nN:Smith;Bob;;;\r\nEMAIL;TYPE=INTERNET:smith.bob@gmail.com\r\nEMAIL;TYPE=INTERNET:absmith@yahoo.com\r\nEMAIL;TYPE=INTERNET:sillyemail.everyone.has.one643@gmail.com\r\nTEL;TYPE=CELL:123-456-1234\r\nitem1.URL:http\://www.bobsmith.com\r\nitem1.X-ABLabel:PROFILE\r\nitem2.URL:http\://www.bobsmith.com\r\nitem2.X-ABLabel:PROFILE\r\nNOTE:Herein lies a note about Bob Smith

Ok, now I knew what the data needed to look like, I just needed to generate it.

I found json-generator, which can generate random data. The problem was that it only generates json data.

Thankfully, I found vcard-json that can convert json to vcard and vcard to json.

So I converted our sample vcard data to json and it looked something like this:

{
  "version":"3.0",
  "fn":{
    "name":"Bob Smith"
  },
  "n":{
    "families":[
      "Smith"
    ],
    "givens":[
      "Bob"
    ]
  },
  "emails":[
    {
      "params":{
        "types":[
          "internet"
        ]
      },
      "address":"smith.bob@gmail.com"
    },
    {
      "params":{
        "types":[
          "internet"
        ]
      },
      "address":"smith.bob@gmail.com"
    },
    {
      "params":{
        "types":[
          "internet"
        ]
      },
      "address":"absmith@yahoo.com"
    },
    {
      "params":{
        "types":[
          "internet"
        ]
      },
      "address":"sillyemail.everyone.has.one643@gmail.com"
    }
  ],
  "urls":[
    {
      "uri":"http\://www.bobsmith.com"
    },
    {
      "group":"item1",
      "uri":"http\://www.bobsmith.com"
    },
    {
      "group":"item2",
      "uri":"http\://www.bobsmith.com"
    }
  ],
  "tels":[
    {
      "params":{
        "types":[
          "cell"
        ]
      },
      "number":"123-456-1234"
    }
  ],
  "notes":[
    {
      "description":"Herein lies a note about Bob Smith"
    }
  ]
}

Now I just needed to generate a bunch of data like this. So here was the template I came up for generating the data:

[
    '{{repeat(20000)}}',
    {
        version: '3.0',
        fn: {
            name: '{{firstName}} {{surname}}'
        },
        n: {
            families: ['{{surname}}'],
            givens: ['{{firstName}}']
        },
        emails: [
            '{{repeat(1,3)}}',
            {
                params: {
                    types: ['internet']
                },
                address: '{{email([random])}}'
            }
        ],
        tels: [
            '{{repeat(0,2)}}',
            {
                params: {
                    types: [
                        function(tags) {
                            if(tags.numeric(0,1) === 0) {
                                return 'mobile';
                            } else {
                                return 'home';
                            }
                        }
                    ]
                },
                number: '{{phone}}'
            }
        ],
        notes: [
            {
                description: '{{lorem}}'
            }
        ]
    }
]

json generator

And this is a sample of the data it generated:

[
    {
        "version": "3.0",
        "fn": {
            "name": "Kim Harper"
        },
        "n": {
            "families": [
                "Hyde"
            ],
            "givens": [
                "Stokes"
            ]
        },
        "emails": [
            {
                "params": {
                    "types": [
                        "internet"
                    ]
                },
                "address": "junecrane@furnitech.com"
            }
        ],
        "tels": [
            {
                "params": {
                    "types": [
                        "home"
                    ]
                },
                "number": "(854) 473-2833"
            },
            {
                "params": {
                    "types": [
                        "home"
                    ]
                },
                "number": "(883) 482-3894"
            }
        ],
        "notes": [
            {
                "description": "eu"
            }
        ]
    },
    {
        "version": "3.0",
        "fn": {
            "name": "George Wall"
        },
        "n": {
            "families": [
                "Allison"
            ],
            "givens": [
                "Christian"
            ]
        },
        "emails": [
            {
                "params": {
                    "types": [
                        "internet"
                    ]
                },
                "address": "knightmedina@gushkool.com"
            },
            {
                "params": {
                    "types": [
                        "internet"
                    ]
                },
                "address": "barkerharmon@orbean.com"
            },
            {
                "params": {
                    "types": [
                        "internet"
                    ]
                },
                "address": "terrynorton@netbook.com"
            }
        ],
        "tels": [
            {
                "params": {
                    "types": [
                        "home"
                    ]
                },
                "number": "(951) 498-2926"
            },
            {
                "params": {
                    "types": [
                        "home"
                    ]
                },
                "number": "(829) 455-2780"
            }
        ],
        "notes": [
            {
                "description": "laboris"
            }
        ]
    }
]

Now that I had all that json data, I used vcard-json to convert it to vcard format. Here is a sample of the output:

BEGIN:VCARD
VERSION:3.0
FN:Kim Harper
N:Hyde;Stokes;;;
EMAIL;TYPE=INTERNET:junecrane@furnitech.com
TEL;TYPE=HOME:(854) 473-2833
TEL;TYPE=HOME:(883) 482-3894
NOTE:eu
END:VCARD
BEGIN:VCARD
VERSION:3.0
FN:George Wall
N:Allison;Christian;;;
EMAIL;TYPE=INTERNET:knightmedina@gushkool.com
EMAIL;TYPE=INTERNET:barkerharmon@orbean.com
EMAIL;TYPE=INTERNET:terrynorton@netbook.com
TEL;TYPE=HOME:(951) 498-2926
TEL;TYPE=HOME:(829) 455-2780
NOTE:laboris
END:VCARD

So, now all I had to do was go to icloud.com and import all 20,000 contacts, and they started showing up on the iPhone pretty soon.

Here is the final vcard with 20,000 contacts for download. Feel free to download and use it yourself.

Posted April 9, 2014

author Adam HarrisWritten by Adam Harris who lives and works in Silicon Slopes. You should follow him on Twitter