iPhone Call Log For Follow-up

An increasing number of attorneys, including me, use an iPhone in their practice.  As a practicing attorney, I’ve been looking for some kind of application that could permit me to track and follow-up on phone calls made or received.  Without such an application, it is a manual effort to review calls made and either document or otherwise follow-up on the issue that generated the phone call.  In my research, I had found an application that performed the “simple” task of taking calls from the call log of the iPhone and importing them into a designated calendar in iCal on my Macbook.  However, at one of the last major releases of the iOS, this application stopped working (probably because the call log database on the phone was upgraded to a later version of SQL Lite).

So, I endeavored to cook up a way to accomplish a simple-enough process to get at the call log on my iPhone and import the data to a web application.  Here is basically how this works:

  1. Backup your iPhone to your laptop using iTunes.  This creates a set of backup files that are stored locally.
  2. Using the free iPhone Backup Extractor, extract the iOS backup files to a particular location on your laptop’s hard drive.  Within this directory, /IOS Files/Library/Callhistory, is a SQL Lite version 3 database called call_history.db.  This database is presently not encrypted (unlike, apparently your SMS history).
  3. Using the application I wrote, import your call_log history into a pre-installed MySQL database.  In addition, my import process will also import my address book entries (used to match up calls with people that are known to me) from my Mac Address Book database (another SQL Lite version 3 database that is stored on your laptop).

Once this process is complete, I have a recent list (the most recent 100 calls, including missed calls) of people that I have talked to or missed.  This data is presented in a php-based web application.  The status of each entry can be changed to reflect whether I need to do something, or whether the issue is closed or otherwise resolved.  I also have links to a reverse phone lookup site to check numbers that I don’t recognize in my call log.  Resolved calls drop off of the list so only calls that require follow-up or have just been imported appear on the home page.

Because the phone call log only keeps the last 100 calls, I worked on importing call data from my AT&T phone bill into the database based on the .csv file export that AT&T provides.  I was able to import the last 12 months of calls into my application (though the process is a manual one to process the invoice data points so that they can be imported).

I’ve written some rudimentary reporting to track time and number of calls per month.  I plan to work on some additional features as time permits.  Do you think this would be helpful to your practice?  Let me know in the comments.  Thanks.

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Maryland technology attorney and college professor.

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