In my phone book I have both personal contacts and work related contacts, like clients, contractors etc.

Applications such was 'whatsapp' are great and easy, but I do not necessarily want to add all contacts to all apps that use the contact book.

Is there either an alternative contact book that allows only certain people (groups?) to be shared with an app while keeping others out, or a privacy setting in the default contact book that allows certain contacts not to be seen by every app?

Thanks for your thoughts and recommendations!

  • Do you have root access on your device? What Android version is it running? – Izzy Jan 16 '14 at 15:41
  • Yes I have root access. At the moment Stock, 4.2.2. I'm willing to upgrade/change to another stock (i.e. Cyanogenmod) if that makes things easier. – Wolfgang Haak Jan 16 '14 at 15:51
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    Even with a rooted phone with Xposed installer running XPrivacy, you still can only limit the access to a yes or a no. Unfortunately, you cannot specify the exact label that the app can read from. (I just tried it with xprivacy) – Zlatty Jan 16 '14 at 16:17
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    That's what I had in mind. Other alternatives include LBE or, at least with Android 4.3, maybe AppOps. But all with the same effect: either the app in question can access the contacts, or not. No way to let it have access to "selected contacts", at least I've never heard of such a solution. – Izzy Jan 16 '14 at 16:25
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    @Zlatty , thanks for trying this out. Maybe install a separate Contact app, and run default contacts and "private contacts" in those two. Whatsapp etc will only check one, not reading the other one. On the other hand, this would be an awesome development idea for a new contacts app! – Wolfgang Haak Jan 16 '14 at 18:09

The problem with doing this is that the system holds your contacts and so any apps that reads you contacts will get the same contacts.

This app is not directly what you want but may help ? https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ek.privatecontacts

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    Yes, a second address book must use its own database, not just be a skin to the default DB. There appears to be a glaring oversight that one can not control which app has access to which contact. That is one thing companies ought to have learned from the endless stream of stolen/mismanaged/leaked user accounts, and everything we have learned from Snowden et. al. G+ in a way allows such control, but as end users we are not entitled to control what happens to our data, especially if a little common sense discretion would appear prudent for most users. – Wolfgang Haak Jan 17 '14 at 10:18
  • Is this still available? I couldn't find it. – justintime Aug 12 '15 at 18:10

In contrast to the comment from Zlatty, I was very pleased to learn that the pro version of xprivacy can do just that. I use it to allow whatsapp selective access to contact book entries only if I know that the person in question is already registered with whatsapp.

Blocking contacts by default:

Blocking contacts by default

Allowing partial access:

Allow partial access

  • You have to enable/disable contacts one by one in Xprivacy. It would be nice to disable groups. – gabor_ Jan 29 '16 at 21:51
  • Unfortunately don't have paid version of XPrivacy right now to check the desired functionality. I see that thread is almost 2 years old. @Wolfgang Haak, could you please check this and verify? Thanks – Ruslan Makrenko Sep 7 '17 at 20:09

I had the same issue and couldn't find an app to fix it so I decided to create one. You can check it out Secondary Contacts

It's an entirely separate contacts list that can't be read by other apps. Has caller ID too and you can import/export contacts to and from the main contacts app

  • That's just awesome! I've downloaded and will try out! That's exactly what I've been looking for. – Wolfgang Haak Jan 30 '19 at 13:12

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