Google Messages not showing contact names (FIX)

People look forward to system updates because of new features but updates rarely come without a bug here or a glitch there. It seems that some users get the taste of this with Messages. As they report on Google Forums, Google Messages are not showing contact names on Android after a system update. Instead of contact names, they see phone numbers, as the messages came from an unknown sender. This doesn’t only apply to new messages, but to all old conversations, as well. Learn how to fix this below.

Table of contacts:

  1. Check the Contacts Permission
  2. Set Messages as the default SMS app
  3. Clear local data from Messages
  4. Try a different SMS app

Why are my saved contacts showing up as numbers on Android?

If the Messages app keeps showing phone numbers instead of contact names in text messages, make sure to:

  • Sync contacts to your currently active Google Account.
  • Check the Contacts permission.
  • Change the default SMS app.
  • Clear local data or uninstall updates from the Messages app.
  • Switch to an alternative SMS app. There is a whole plethora of third-party apps that should be a good enough replacement.

1. Check the Contacts Permission

The first thing you should do is ensure that Messages can access Contacts on your device. For that, you need to grant the Contacts permission in App Settings. Once you’ve done that, contact names should appear instead of numbers.

Here’s how to grant Contacts permission to Messages on Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Open Messages.
  4. Select Permissions.
  5. Tap Contacts and grant access.

2. Set Messages as the default SMS app

Some app features might be limited if the app in use is not set as the default app. Some Android skins come with two different SMS apps like Samsung, which has Samsung Messages and Google Messages as system apps in some regions. So, what you need to do is to set whichever app you want to use as the default SMS app.

Here’s how to choose the default SMS app on Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Choose Default apps. On some Android skins, expand all apps and tap on the 3-dots menu. You should see the Default apps there.
  4. Tap the SMS app.
  5. Choose the app you intend on names not showing in messages android

If Google Messages are not showing contact names on your Android, try clearing the local data.

3. Clear local data from Messages

The problem for most users started with a system update which leads us to believe that the app data got corrupted in the process and that you’ll need to either reset it or uninstall updates. Since Messages come as a built-in essential app, you can’t uninstall them but you can remove updates and re-update the app. That should, hopefully, address the problem with contacts. Also, don’t worry about your conversations, because neither of these actions will delete them if you have system backups.

Here’s how to clear data from Messages on Android:

  1. Again, open Settings > Apps.
  2. Open Messages.
  3. Select Storage.
  4. Clear data and restart your names not showing in messages android

If that doesn’t help, navigate to Settings > Apps > Messages once again and tap on the 3-dots menu. Select Uninstall updates. Update the app again and check whether contact names appear or you still only see phone names not showing in messages android

In addition, make sure to leave the Beta program in Play Store > Messages if you are a tester for Google Messages.

4. Try a different SMS app

Finally, the problem might be with the app and, luckily, Android offers a lot of alternatives here. You can download apps like Signal (Play Store link) or Textra SMS (Play Store link) until the problem is sorted out. After some time, you can just switch to the built-in app and, hopefully, the contact names will reappear.

With that said, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in July 2022. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

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7 thoughts on “Google Messages not showing contact names (FIX)”

  1. YES!!!!! it worked. I contacted Nokia so many times today!!! they told me to do an entire factory reset. I got scared to loose messages even with a backup. Also when you wrote UNINSTALL UPDATE at step 3 , i got a message that it will go back to how it was when i bought it so i got scared and did not do it . Luckily, i just turned off my phone again and restarted it after doing everything up to step 3 without uninstalling and it worked. Can t tell which step made it worked though. But i surely spent hours today trying to figure it out what was to do so thank you!!!!


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