Fix: Contact names not showing in text Messages on Android

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, here, contact names are not showing in Messages 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 is the Messages app showing numbers and not contact names?

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 Default apps there.
  4. Tap the SMS app.
  5. Choose the app you intend on using.contact names not showing in messages android

If contact names are still not showing in Messages 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 the 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 Android.contact 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 numbers.contact 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.

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Melissa W
Melissa W
September 9, 2022 5:38 pm

This worked for me, thank you!

CRyan
CRyan
November 24, 2022 5:53 pm

What about if its only ONE contact that no longer shows name? The cc ontact’s info is lengthy, is that the issue?

Judith
Judith
November 23, 2022 12:34 am

This worked for me. I was so relieved when I saw all my messages come back and with their names! Whew!

line
line
November 28, 2022 6:01 am

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… Read more »