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How to Sync Android Contacts with WhatsApp

In this guide, we will show you why Whatsapp is not syncing contacts and what to do if that happens.

Would you like the contacts you have on your Android phone to appear when you launch WhatsApp? Sure you would. That’s how you can tell which of your contacts are on the platform (except, of course, you ask them).

Once you install and register in the app, it asks for permission to automatically pull all the numbers from your device’s address book to its database. They will then be visible in your WhatsApp contact list as long as the users are also registered.

For many people, WhatsApp has displaced traditional text messaging and phone calls. In fact, did you know that as of 2021, WhatsApp was the most popular messenger app in the world, with over two billion active users per month? You can now text and call your friends, family, and colleagues, post stories, share media, and more at a very low cost or even for free.

So, what do YOU mostly use WhatsApp for?

So, what do YOU mostly use WhatsApp for?

If WhatsApp is more of a media platform for you than anything else and you use it for sharing photos, videos and other files, you are probably already well aware of the messenger’s limitations.

The maximum size of a media file you can send with the app (whether it’s a photo, video or audio message) is just 16 MB. And while this is plenty enough to exchange memes and photos, it makes sending videos in high quality or larger files impossible.

This is why if you are looking for a quick and efficient way to send large media files over the web, we recommend using FileWhopper instead.

FileWhopper is a new service for transferring files and folders online, and it is specifically designed to send over large amounts of data — even a 10TB folder. In fact, there is no size limit.

Sending a file or folder with FileWhopper just takes a few steps. You won’t need to compress your data or upload it to the cloud. You also won’t need to sign up for a subscription — you will get a one-time fee based on your file's or folder’s size.

The technology is fail-safe, ensuring that your transfer progress is saved when there’s a drop in your internet connection.

There is even a more convenient data sharing option in store for you. FileWhopper Business is on its way, and this advanced solution is sure to take file transfers to the next level. It lets you prepay for huge transfer packages that contain 100GB, 500GB, or even 5TB of data and use those amounts to send your files and folders during unlimited time.

With FileWhopper Business, you get access to a reusable app that allows multiple file transfers and simultaneous uploads, thereby saving your precious time – you won’t have to download a one-time app each time you initiate an upload any more. Besides, data sharing gets more affordable with a business FileWhopper account than with its personal counterpart – you pay less for each GB of transferred data. Stay tuned so as to not miss the new solution’s release. 

Now that we’ve explained how to send over large media files online, let’s get back to WhatsApp and see what you can do to quickly resolve your WhatsApp contact issues.

Here’s what we'll cover:

  • How to sync your contacts to WhatsApp
  • Why WhatsApp is not syncing contacts and what to do if that happens
  • What to do when WhatsApp is showing numbers instead of the names of your contacts

Let’s begin.

How to Allow WhatsApp to Access Contacts on Android

Just like on an iPhone, you need to give WhatsApp clearance to automatically access the contacts saved on your Android device. If you don’t grant this permission the first time you set up the app, you will have to go through your phone’s settings to get it done. 

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Go to Settings on your Android device.
  2. Tap ‘Apps.’
  3. Locate WhatsApp on the list of displayed apps and tap on it.
  4. Tap ‘Permissions.’
  5. Turn on the permission to modify and read your contacts.
  6. To ensure that WhatsApp can function well, you can turn on all the other available permissions as well.

You can also use this method:

  1. Go to your Android device’s settings.
  2. Tap ‘Accounts.’
  3. You will find WhatsApp on the list if the account is already added to your phone. If it is not on the list, then tap ‘Add Account’ and add your WhatsApp account.
  4. Launch WhatsApp and click the ‘More options’ icon (the three vertical dots) in the top-right corner.
  5. Tap ‘Sync your WhatsApp.’

How Can You See WhatsApp Contacts on Android?

Once WhatsApp has access to your Android device’s phonebook, all contacts that are registered on Whatsapp will be visible in the app. To see your WhatsApp contacts, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Launch WhatsApp.
  2. Switch to Chats.
  3. Tap the ‘New chat’ icon in the bottom-right corner of your screen. You will see the list of all your contacts.

How to Manually Add New Contacts on WhatsApp

When someone sends you a message on WhatsApp but you don’t have them on your contact list, WhatsApp will only show the number instead of the person’s name. If you want the name to appear, you have to save the number in your phone book.

One way to do that is to copy the number, go to Contacts on your Android device, and tap on ‘Create contact.’ But there’s another way to save the number while still on WhatsApp. There are two methods you can use:

Method 1:

  1. Open the chat that sent you a message.
  2. Tap the ‘More Options’ icon (the three vertical dots) in the top-right corner of your screen.
  3. Tap ‘Add to Contacts.’
  4. Tap ‘Create new contact’ or ‘Add to existing contact’ depending on your preference.
  5. Enter the person’s name.
  6. Tap ‘Save.’

Method 2:

  1. While on WhatsApp, tap on Chats.
  2. Tap the ‘New chat’ icon in the bottom-right corner of your screen.
  3. Tap ‘New contact.’
  4. Now enter the person’s name and phone number. You can include other details (such as email address, company, and more) if you wish.
  5. Tap ‘Save.’

Whichever method you choose to use, after you have saved the number, it will also be in your phone’s address book. The person’s name will now appear on the chat head.

What to Do if WhatsApp Is Showing the Phone Numbers and Not the Names of Your Contacts?

If you are sure that a contact has been saved on your phone but yet you are seeing the number instead of the person’s name, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Go to your device’s settings and tap on ‘Users & accounts.’
  2. Locate WhatsApp and tap on it.
  3. Tap the ‘Remove Account’ button.
  4. Tap ‘Remove account’ to confirm the action.
  5. Launch WhatsApp and tap the ‘New chat’ icon at the bottom of the screen.
  6. Tap the ‘More Options’ icon (the three vertical dots) in the top-right corner of the screen.
  7. Tap ‘Refresh.’

Afterward, make sure that you’ve allowed WhatsApp all the necessary permissions on your Android device:

  1. Go to your device's settings.
  2. Tap on ‘Apps & notifications.’
  3. Locate WhatsApp and tap on it.
  4. Tap on ‘Permissions.’
  5. Enable all permissions.

Why Is WhatsApp Not Syncing Your Contacts?

It may happen that the contacts on your Android phone do not show on WhatsApp. There are several reasons why this can happen. The first thing you should consider is whether those users are registered on WhatsApp. If they are not, then they won’t appear on the app. Only those that have a WhatsApp account will appear. You will know that this is so if you can’t find a particular contact but others are there.

The next thing you should do is check whether you have permitted WhatsApp to access your phonebook. There are also other factors that can cause WhatsApp not to sync your contacts (for example, bugs and cache problems).

We will show you how to fix these issues. Please keep reading.

Fix 1: Grant WhatsApp Access to Contacts

When you install WhatsApp and set it up for the first time, the app requests access to your phonebook. If you deny the request at that point, then WhatsApp won’t be able to import your contacts. You’ll have to do it manually later on. We’ve already discussed how to do this earlier in the article. However, there’s another method you can try:

  1. Go to your device’s settings.
  2. Tap ‘Apps & notifications.’
  3. Tap ‘App permissions.’
  4. Tap ‘Contacts.’
  5. Scroll through the list of apps and locate WhatsApp.
  6. Tap the toggle to enable access.

After you’ve followed the above steps, go back to WhatsApp. Your contacts will now be automatically synced. However, if they are not, then proceed to the solutions below.

Fix 2: Clear the WhatsApp Cache

If you’ve granted WhatsApp permission to access the contacts on your device and yet you still can’t find them when you launch the app, clearing the cache might just help. Cache issues can cause your app not to function properly. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Go to Settings on your Android device.
  2. Tap ‘Apps & notifications.’
  3. Scroll through the list of apps and locate WhatsApp. Tap on it.
  4. Tap on Storage.
  5. Tap the ‘Clear cache’ button.
  6. Restart your device.

Fix 3: Reinstall WhatsApp

Your app could be faulty. That is why your contacts are not being synced. Uninstall it and download it anew. A fresh install may be all you need. Perhaps there’s also a new update available on PlayStore.

Follow these steps:

  1. Launch PlayStore.
  2. Type ‘WhatsApp’ into the search bar and tap the option when it appears in the results.
  3. If there’s an ‘Update’ button, tap on it to download and install the new version of the app. Otherwise, proceed to Step 4.
  4. Go to the list of apps on your Android device. To do this, swipe up from the bottom of your screen. When you locate WhatsApp, press and drag it to ‘Uninstall’ at the top of the screen. Then confirm the action.
  5. Launch PlayStore and type ‘WhatsApp’ into the search bar. Then tap the option when it appears in the search results.
  6. Tap ‘Install’ and wait for the app to be downloaded and installed.
  7. Launch WhatsApp and enter your account details. Make sure to grant access to Contacts when the request pops up.

Handy Tips for Synchronizing Your Android Contacts with WhatsApp

After you’ve synchronized your Android contacts with WhatsApp, you may run into a few common issues. Luckily, these are easily fixed.

Tip 1: Block “bad” contacts

Once you’ve synced your phone contacts with the messenger, you may find yourself in touch with some people that you don’t want to be in touch with. In this case, simply block the unwanted contacts. Here’s how:

  • Go to the Privacy section.
  • Tap Blocked Contacts.
  • Click the Add button.
  • Select the contact you want to block.
How to block contacts on Android

Tip 2: Set custom notifications for your contacts

Another useful thing you can do once you’ve synced your phone contacts with your WhatsApp is set custom notifications for important contacts. This is very easy to do. Simply go to the person’s profile and select Custom Notifications.

How to set custom notifications for your contacts

Tip 3: Customize Google Drive Backup

As an Android user, you can now back up your entire chat history (including voice messages, photos and videos) to Google Drive. It’s a very handy way of making sure important conversations don’t get lost. Here’s how to enable the backup feature:

  • Click the three dotted menu button.
  • Go to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup.
  • Select Backup.
How to customize Google Drive backup

You can also customize your backup options here. For instance, you can choose not to back up videos to save cloud space. To do this, you simply need to uncheck the “include videos” options.


WhatsApp is a very convenient tool that has made voice and video calling, chatting, and media sharing easy. Unlike most social media platforms where you have to search for usernames and even send a friend request before you can message anyone, WhatsApp automatically imports the contacts from your phonebook.

As long as the numbers have been used to create a WhatsApp account, you will find the users when you launch WhatsApp. But first, you have to give WhatsApp permission to access your phonebook.

In this article, we discussed how to sync your contacts to WhatsApp, how to manually add new contacts, and what to do when WhatsApp is not syncing your contacts or is only showing numbers instead of the names of your contacts. Please don’t hesitate to leave us a message if you have any questions or comments. We’ll be happy to hear from you.

Although WhatsApp is a great solution for sharing documents and other media like videos and audio files, its transfer capability is limited. The app does not serve if you wish to send very large files. For this reason, we suggest you use a dedicated file-sharing service such as FileWhopper.

Send your first file or folder and get a 50% discount for the second transfer of up to 5TB!


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  • Symplydorcey

    Thank you very much

  • Joshua

    Thanks real good, it has been helpful

  • Obazepraise

    Hi it didn’t work out

  • Jianthui Kamei

    My contact is lost 😭

  • Nancy Fenemore

    Many more contacts listed on WhatsApp on my laptop than on my cell phone. How do I get access to these contacts from my phone?

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