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Contact names are not showing in calls? Top 5 quick fixes

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Thanks to major advancements in mobile data technologies, fewer and fewer users use regular calls and, instead, use many VoIP/VoLTE options. However, the big majority relies on standard calls. We run into a report about a Phone app issue on Google Forums and, it seems contact names are not showing in calls for some users. No worries, though, we have a few solutions to help you address this as soon as possible.

Table of contents:

  1. Check permissions for the Phone/Dialer app
  2. Set the default Phone app
  3. Boot into Safe mode
  4. Reset App preferences
  5. Clear cache and data from the Phone/Dialer app

Why won’t contact names appear on incoming calls on Android?

If you don’t see contacts names on incoming calls and just see contact phone numbers, make sure to:

  • Check the permissions for the phone app.
  • Change the default Phone app.
  • Boot into Safe mode and uninstall apps that might affect incoming calls.
  • Reset the Phone app.
  • Contact your carrier.

Firstly, make sure that your contacts are synced on your device. After that, check permissions and, if that fails, set the default Phone app. Alternatively, you can uninstall third-party apps that have anything to do with calls or clear data from the Phone/Dialer app. You can also reset app preferences or uninstall updates for the system dialer app. If you don’t see contact names in the messages app, we have an article that tackles that problem.

1. Check permissions for the Phone/Dialer app

The first thing you need to do is to check Android permissions. In general, the pre-installed Phone/Dialer app should have permission to access Contacts but, just for the sake of troubleshooting, we’ll need you to check this. Of course, if you are using a third-party dialer app (e.g. Google Phone instead of Samsung Dialer), you’ll need to permit it to see the names of contacts with incoming calls. All apps that rely on conversations with contacts should display contact names as long as they have contact permission.

Here’s how to check permissions for Phone and allow it to access Contacts:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Apps & notifications (Apps).
  3. Select All apps (App manager or Manage apps on some Android skins).
  4. Open Phone or Dialer (the app you use to make and receive calls).
  5. Tap Permissions.
  6. Make sure that the app has permission to access Contacts.Contact names are not showing in calls

2. Set the default Phone app

The next thing to do, after the aforementioned permissions, is to change the default Phone (Dialer) app. This can be done in System settings, under Apps. This shouldn’t be that important if you are using an app that’s already the default option. However, if you are using a third-party app to make standard calls, set it as the default.

Here’s how to choose the default app for phone calls on your Android device:

  1. Again, navigate to Settings > Apps & notifications.
  2. Now, you should see the Default apps entry in the Advanced section. Open it.
  3. Once there, set your preferred Phone/Dialer app as the default one.Contact names are not showing in calls
  4. On most other Android skins, you should open All apps.
  5. Tap on the 3-dot menu and select Default apps.
  6. Set your preferred Phone/Dialer app as the default one.
  7. Restart your device and test with an incoming call to see whether the problem is still there or not.

3. Boot into Safe mode

This one is important. As we managed to find out, some carriers offer additional apps that might affect the way you make or receive calls. Often, these are some anti-spam solutions with a few nifty statistics about your usage. However, these apps seemingly hide contact names for some so you’ll see only contact phone numbers. For no apparent reason.

So, to determine if some third-party app is causing the issue, you need to boot into Safe mode and call your number. Make sure that the call comes from your contact. If you see the caller’s name, reboot and remove all third-party apps that have something to do with calls. If not, continue to the next step.

Here’s how to boot into Safe mode on Android:

  1. Press and hold the Power button until the Power menu appears.
  2. Tap and hold on to the Power off icon until the pop-up appears. It should inform you about the safe mode and offer options to enter the Safe mode or cancel the action.
  3. Tap OK to boot into the Safe mode.
  4. Once the device boots into Safe mode on Android, you’ll see the Safe mode strip at the bottom of your screen.
  5. If you are not seeing the reoccurring issue with Silent mode, just restart your phone.
  6. Go to Apps > All apps and uninstall all recently-installed apps that have anything to do with calls.

4. Reset App preferences

So, if your incoming calls are not showing names on Android after the previous step, make sure to reset app preferences. This action will restart all permission settings for all installed and disabled apps and restore default apps. You won’t lose any app data, so no worries about that.

Here’s how to Reset App preferences on Android:

  1. Once again, navigate to Settings > Apps > All apps.
  2. Tap on the 3-dot menu and select Reset app preferences.
  3. Confirm the selection.Contact names are not showing in calls
  4. Restart your device.

5. Clear cache and data from the Phone/Dialer app

Finally, you can try and clear the cache and data from the Phone/Dialer app you are using to make and receive calls. If this is a system app, you can also uninstall updates (basically, per-app factory reset) and try again. Both steps are advisable in this scenario and both fixed issues for affected users.

Here’s how to clear cache and data from the Phone app:

  1. Once again, navigate to the list of all apps (as explained above) and open Phone/Dialer.
  2. Tap Storage.
  3. Tap Clear Storage (clear data) and names not showing in incoming calls
  4. Restart your device and run the app.
  5. Grant all permissions and check for improvements.

And here’s how to uninstall updates from the default Phone/Dialer app:

  1. Follow the same path as in the previous step and open the Phone/Dialer.
  2. Tap on the 3-dot menu and tap Uninstall names not showing in incoming calls
  3. Restart your device and, after the app updates, check for improvements.

Alternatively, you can reset the Network settings on your Android phone. And if that doesn’t help, you can go a step further and perform a full factory reset.

That should do it. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to leave alternative solutions or questions concerning the ones we provided in the comments section below. We look f0rward to hearing from you.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in January 2021. 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.