I have 2 google accounts lets say '[email protected]' and '[email protected]'

Personal email has 500 contact of my friends and family. Work email has 1100 business contacts.

I share the work emails contact list across 5/6 different people/PC's/mobiles etc. and keep the personal one for my phone only.

Can anybody find a way that my android phone can display/sync me@ contacts whilst JUST displaying work@ contacts?

Whenever I add accounts/sync etc. both lists merge and everybody using the work email suddenly has access to my personal contacts?

Tried quite a few fixes but Android always syncs everything.

  • Which phone and which version of Android is it running?
    – wuodland
    Feb 3, 2015 at 19:40

2 Answers 2


I'm not fully understanding the request. You want your phone to display/sync @me contacts, but only display the work@ contacts without syncing them? That's not a distinction that exists. The only way to display them is to sync them to your phone. That's the method by which they reach your phone.

Are you asking for it to not sync changes back from the phone to the work@ account? The only way to ensure that is, simply, not to make any changes to the work@ account contacts. Don't add anything to them, and don't edit them. The only things that sync back up to the cloud are things you change.

Syncing two different accounts (me@ and work@) will not merge the contacts. It will merge your view of those contacts, so that locally on your phone you see only one list of contacts aggregated from both sources, but if you go onto your computer, or work@ Gmail web interface, it will not contain all the contacts you synced to your phone from your me@ account. They're kept entirely walled off from each other. I have easily five or six Google accounts at any one time on my device, some Gmail, some Google Apps, and NONE of the contacts cross-pollinate. In fact I wish there was a way to make them do so, as it would be useful for me to have all of my contacts in a couple of those accounts for various purposes. But the moment I log into the web interface for one of my less common ones, I have zero access to any of the contacts in my primary one, and vice versa. So there should be zero problem here, just possibly the perception of one.

The only way to get the contacts from one into the other would be to manually export them from one account and import them into another. Or, presumably, use some sort of third-party app that might produce the same result.

Assuming my answers above don't clear up the issue, and there's still a problem, can you clarify a couple things for me?

  1. What specific phone do you have?
  2. Are you using the built-in Android function for adding these Google accounts, and not some third-party app to manage them?
  3. Do you have any sort of unusual backup apps you use on the phone for contacts?

I'm researching a similar issue. The root of our problems is how tightly google accounts are integrated across the apps on Android phones. I just learned Android has the concept of "users". Like a computer or server, you can log out of your personal user and log in to the work user. I believe this functionality was added in Android version 8 or 9.

Previously, I used Settings -> Google -> Add Account and I didn't want the mess of all my google accounts on my phone. Like your problem with contacts, it also means notifications and prompting from maps and gmail for my work account. And my multiple other gmail accounts I haven't given up on.

Now, I "added a new user" to my phone. Once added, when switching to this user the first time, they go through the full process of setting up the phone. You can switch users by swiping down with 2 fingers. Next to the settings gear icon is a user head. Tap that to switch users. To add a user the menu is Settings -> System -> Advanced -> Multiple Users

I did all this so I could add work's Google Prompt popup to my phone. I do not know yet if I'm using the phone as my personal account if the work's google account will "Is this you" popup or not. Plus there are rare times I simply need to see work's email. Additional users lets me have work on my phone but my normal user experience isn't littered with work-account related stuff all the time.

Complete side note: If you only need 2FA on a phone for a not-my-own-google-account, "just use the Authenticaor app". To do this, download Google Authenticator, try to add your new account, then on your pre-existing computer, go to the 2-Step Verification page and click on Authenticator App to get a QR code to scan. Then you don't need work's Google Account on your phone at all.

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