Disclaimer: I'm new with Android. I have a 2.3.6 device.

So I'm on my phone, I hit the little address book button. I can see I have "contacts" Three of them. Yay.

One has a little phone icon. Two have little 'g' icons.

My "history" has heaps of contacts. When I click on an entry in my history which is obviously on Gmail, there's no option to add them to a contact. They're not in my contact list, but they show up when I try to add a contact, so I can't add them.

When I click on an entry in my history which is obviously not on Gmail, I have an option to add them as a contact.... and my contact list suddenly has hundreds and hundreds of entries. They're all people I've emailed at one point or another, but lots of them are useless ungroomed contact entries... they're probably out of date.

Why does this not make sense to me?

Meanwhile, I have a giant address book in Thunderbird with hundreds of entries, and an old Nokia phone with hundreds of entries. Ideally, I'd like to reconcile all of those into a single address book, and ideally, not on Google's servers. I don't care about the hundreds of outdated contacts in Google. I'd be happier if my phone didn't know they existed.

Is this even possible on Android? Is there a good local calendar app where I can use my existing contact list?

  • What phone (brand and model) do you have? And your Thunderbird, is running over Windows or Linux?
    – Zuul
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 15:50
  • Does the phone matter? It's a Samsung Galaxy Q. I'm multiplatform. I run Linux, Windows and MacOS workstations. Lately I've been on MacOS more than the others.
    – mgjk
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 15:55
  • 1
    It's relevant to provide a solution that can deal with all contacts spreaded across several OSs and devices, since you need to have them centralize on your phone without using Google :)
    – Zuul
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


I can't think of a 3rd party way to do what you want, but I can help you with the google way. First, head into gmail and then contacts. You'll see in the list of groups "Other Contacts". That is EVERYONE you've ever interacted with over gmail (not sure if gtalk or phone convos are in there as well). So that's where your big ugly list is coming from. You can stop google from adding more by going into Settings > General > Create contacts for auto-complete and turning that off.

Now, this big ugly google list you have, you can now either delete completely or wade through it and clean it up. It's up to you. Some entries may be useful.

I don't have Thunderbird, but I'm pretty sure it must have an export contacts to CSV function. Do that and try to import into google contacts. You may have to massage the formatting a little (this may help http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=12119) if it doesn't import cleanly.

If you've gotten this far and now have google full of contacts, you may want to try and "merge" (More > Find & Merge duplicates) to see if anyone you just imported also had an entry in Other Contacts like a secondary email for example.

So now that you've got your list on google's server it will show up automatically on your Android phone, any other Android device youre logged into, as well as gmail in the browser.

Gmail exports contacts out to CSV as well. So you could potentially keep swapping CSVs back and forth from Thunderbird to gmail and back to keep them in sync, but that sounds like a bit of a hassle.

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