I am finally forced to admit that I'm completely flummoxed by the communication between my android phone and my google account's contact list. I have tried various usage models and experienced lost/deleted contacts, edits made on my phone overwritten with unedited version from google account, random entries appearing on my phone(i now have 5 different entries for MYSELF)....everything BUT what I'm trying to do.

What I'd like for it to do is for my google account to be the system of record for my contacts, and sync with my phone...simple as that. If I edit/add on my phone, I'd like for that change to be sync'd to my google account automatically. If edit/add using my google account via the web interface, I'd like that for that change to be sync'd to my phone. Obviously this is NOT the way that it works, and it is obvious that, after weeks of trial, error, and fruitless searching, I do not understand how it SHOULD be used.

Does anyone know how Google wants us to use this? How is it SUPPOSED to work? Has Google published a guide for this? FWIW, I have no problem going back and reorganizing everything and adapting to a different usage model as long as I understand how it is supposed to behave and as long as it behaves as published.

  • 4
    I thought that's what it did? I've never had any problems that you've mention... The first thing I did when I received my Android phone was merge all duplicated contacts inside of gmail. Other than that, I haven't really done anything, but I don't often add/edit/remove contacts a lot.
    – Bryan Denny
    Jan 5, 2011 at 17:20
  • 3
    I bought the original Droid on the day it was released (Nov 2009?) and have never had any problems with this. Editing is perfect both ways. Any changes made to a contact on my phone are instantly reflected in my google account, and vice-versa. What phone do you have?
    – user739
    Jan 5, 2011 at 17:25
  • Yes, the behaviour you desire is exactly what Android normally does. However, different phones running non "stock" Android may have different contact apps that interact differently (though I've had no problems with either stock Android or HTC Sense devices). It would definitely help to know the device model & Android version. Jan 5, 2011 at 17:35
  • Thank you all for the comments. I'm glad to know that it should be working like I expect. FYI my phone is an evo from Sprint, which came preloaded with facebook, which I had originally chosen to sync with as well. Although I had felt certain that my contacts were intact while using that, I have since turned it off. Perhaps somewhere between that time it overwrote some things that I did not immediately notice. I'll get my google account contacts in order again, wipe the phone contacts, and begin sync'ing from scratch and see what happens. Thanks!
    – barneco
    Jan 6, 2011 at 1:18
  • 1
    This depends on where you save your contacts. When you add a new contact it asks where to save it (Google, phone, SIM). If it doesn't, you have specified it in the settings to remember the destination. Check Contacts -> Menu key -> Settings -> Save new contacts to... or similar and change it to Google or Always ask. Then contacts saved to Google will be synced to Google contacts on the next sync. Oct 19, 2011 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


Mine's working the way you expect it should.

I had a problem with duplicates when using services to help keep my contacts "clean" and to import from other services. In particular Soocial kept giving me dupes. So, the first thing I'd do is make sure you're not using something like that.

I suspect that something is "out of whack" (to use a technical term) with the synchronization data. I'd try the following:

  1. Make sure the data in Google Contacts is in tip-top shape. Merge duplicates, get everybody in the right group, etc.
  2. Export all contacts (just in case)
  3. Then, delete the contact data on the phone. You'll probably want to turn off synchronization before you do this.
  4. Then turn synchronization back on. Everything should be copacetic.
  • The comments so far have somewhat restored my faith that it should work like I expect. As such, I will do exactly as you suggest and start from scratch(on the phone) and see if everything starts behaving. Thanks!
    – barneco
    Jan 6, 2011 at 1:20
  • What is the best way to delete contacts on the handset? I did it one by one, but is there a bulk delete?
    – shambleh
    Feb 2, 2011 at 21:02
  • @shambleh: There's no way that I know of to bulk delete contacts on the device. There may be a third-party method. You should ask that as its own question.
    – ale
    Feb 2, 2011 at 21:21

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