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

Applications such as '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?

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  • Do you have root access on your device? What Android version is it running?
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 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. Commented Jan 16, 2014 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
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 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
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 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! Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 18:09

4 Answers 4

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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:

Allowing partial access:

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  • You have to enable/disable contacts one by one in Xprivacy. It would be nice to disable groups.
    – gabor_
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 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 Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 20:09
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Use the app in Dual Messenger mode (dual account/secure mode) and turn on the option "Use separate contacts list".

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  • Just a note that Dual Messenger is a Samsung's specific feature. Other manufacturers may have a different name (e.g. Xiaomi's "Dual Apps") and different settings.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 18:42
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I found OpenContacts that allows you to manage a second contact book that will be isolated, so no contacts will be uploaded.

Yes, there is no way to setup partial access, however you can open chats from OpenContacts, directly. It's a good solution if you have business contacts that you use only for calling, SMS and email.

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As of 2023 the only vendor-agnostic solution I could find, was to use work profiles. Apps like Shelter help with setting this up.

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