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Google Messages not showing contact names? Best 4 fixes

contact names not showing in messages android

System updates are often awaited eagerly due to new features, though they sometimes bring along bugs or glitches. It seems that some users get the taste of this with Messages. As they report on Google Messages Support Forums, Google Messages not showing contact names on Android after a system update seems to be a widespread issue. Instead of contact names, users see phone numbers, like the messages came from an unknown sender.

This doesn’t only apply to new messages, but to all old conversations, as well. Find solutions to this issue below.

Table of Contents:

  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

Google Messages not showing contact names on my 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 Google 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 using. google messages not showing contact names

These same solutions can be applied if the Phone app isn’t showing contact names in the incoming calls. 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 Android. google messages not showing contact names

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.google messages not showing contact names

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.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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