How To Fix WhatsApp Contacts Not Showing

WhatsApp may fail to sync your contacts and ends up not showing them. Here’s how to fix WhatsApp not showing contacts on Android and iPhone.

how to fix whatsapp contacts not showing on android and iphone
Jamie Street - Unsplash

WhatsApp uses your contacts to find other WhatsApp users you want to conversate with. Some people reported that they don’t see any contact on their WhatsApp app, the contacts aren’t synced, and have to add contacts manually.

Instead of adding manually, you can read more to learn how to fix the problem and show your contacts back on WhatsApp. You can apply this post to Android and iPhone.

Why are contacts not showing on WhatsApp?

Contacts not showing on WhatsApp can be caused by the following things:

  • You don’t have contacts on your phone. If it’s a new phone, you can retrieve contacts from your old phone. Or, restore contacts from backups on Google or iCloud.
  • WhatsApp failed to sync the contacts.
  • Permission to access contacts isn’t allowed for WhatsApp.
  • People whose contacts are saved on your phone don’t use WhatsApp.

How to fix WhatsApp not showing contacts

To let WhatsApp show your contacts, you have to allow permissions to access contacts for WhatsApp and sync the contacts manually. If you don’t have the contacts on your phone, you can restore contacts from your Google or iCloud account.

Ensure you have all contacts saved on your phone

This is an apparent solution. Ensure that you have the contacts by using the built-in contact app on your phone. Most contacts usually come from your SIM cards. If you don’t have them on your SIM cards, try restoring backup from your Google or iCloud account. This post provides detailed guides to do it on Android and iPhone.

Restore contacts from backup on your Google account (Android)

Contacts that are saved on Google Contacts aren’t automatically showing on WhatsApp because you haven’t restored the contacts from backup or you haven’t added your Google account to your Android phone.

To restore contacts, open the Settings > Google > Set up & restore > Restore contacts. Your Android phone will then download the contact automatically.

On the Settings app, select Google.

how to fix whatsapp contacts not showing on android and iphone

Scroll down and tap Set up & restore.

google set up and restore contacts android for whatsapp

Tap Restore contacts.

restore contacts

You can restore contacts from Google Contacts by tapping Restore. The contacts will be downloaded automatically. Or, tap View contacts then select which contact you want to add to your phone to avoid duplicate.

view contacts

You’ll see a message saying “Downloading contacts”. Wait until it’s finished. Then, open WhatsApp and see if your contacts show on the app.

downloading contacts

You can also transfer contacts from your iPhone to your Android phone so WhatsApp can access the same contacts.

Restore contacts from backup on your iCloud (iPhone)

Some iPhone users experience that contacts don’t sync on their iPhone, and they don’t show up on WhatsApp. If you don’t have the contacts but have them on your iCloud account, you can restore them by doing the following method:

Open the Settings app. Select your name > iCloud. Turn off the toggle for Contacts then turn it on again. It will retrieve contacts from your iCloud and WhatsApp will automatically detect them once you open the app.

On the Settings app, tap your name to open the Apple ID settings.

iphone settings

Select iCloud. It’s where your contacts are backed up.

iphone settings icloud

Turn off the Contacts toggle.

apple id > icloud > contacts

iPhone will ask you whether you want to keep previously saved contacts on your iPhone or delete them. Select Keep on my iPhone.

keep on my iphone

The Contacts toggle will be turned off. Turn it on again to retrieve backed-up contacts and restore them to your iPhone.

contact turn on icloud

iPhone will ask what you want to do with existing local contacts. Tap Merge to save the contacts from iCloud and avoid duplicates.

merge contacts

Open WhatsApp and see if now the contacts show on the app. You can also restore contacts from a Google account on your iPhone.

Restore contacts from SIM card

You can always restore contacts from your SIM card when you plug the SIM card into your phone. It’s done automatically and you should see the contacts immediately on the built-in contact app on your phone.

If you use a new SIM card and don’t have contacts saved on it, you can retrieve the contacts from your Google or iCloud account by doing the above methods.

Ensure WhatsApp permission to access your contacts is allowed

WhatsApp can’t show names without being granted access to your contacts. You might have accidentally denied permission which causes WhatsApp to not show any contact.

Allow WhatsApp permission for contacts on Android

You can allow permission for WhatsApp to use your contacts by opening the Settings > Apps > WhatsApp > App permission. Tap Allow for the Contacts option.

On the Settings app > WhatsApp, select App permissions.

whatsapp permission for contacts

Select Allow.

contacts permission

See if this solves the problem, and you should see contacts on the WhatsApp app.

Allow WhatsApp permission for contacts on iPhone

If you unknowingly denied permission for WhatsApp to use contacts on your iPhone, it can’t show any name or contact you can conversate with.

To allow the permission, open the Settings > WhatsApp. Enable the toggle for Contacts.

Manually sync contacts for WhatsApp

If you have the contacts on your Android or iPhone but it still fails to show contacts, you can try manually syncing the contacts for WhatsApp.

On Android, open the Settings app > Accounts & sync. Enable Auto-sync data. Tap WhatsApp Sync to sync contacts manually.

sync whatsapp manually

You may see the More button on the bottom. Tap it then tap Sync now.

sync now

Manually refresh contacts on WhatsApp

WhatsApp allows you to manually refresh contacts on your phone. This allows WhatsApp to see the changes you have made to your contacts (for example, changing profile picture and renaming contacts) and detects new ones. Select the chat button.

whatsapp chat

Select the kebab button at the top.

select contacts on whatsapp

Tap Refresh to manually refresh contacts. You should see the contacts on your WhatsApp app.

refresh a contact on whatsapp

Reinstall WhatsApp

If none of the above works, try reinstalling WhatsApp or updating it to fix the bug it may experience. WhatsApp should work perfectly fine after reinstalling and being able to show your contacts on the app.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why doesn’t WhatsApp show contact names?

WhatsApp doesn’t show contact names or only show phone numbers because you haven’t saved the contact to your phone. You can save new contacts on WhatsApp by tapping the kebab (three-dots button) at the top and selecting Add to contacts. Insert the desired name for the contact and save.

You may see phone numbers instead of names when WhatsApp fails to sync your contacts. To learn how to solve it, read the previously mentioned solutions.

Why don’t new contacts show on WhatsApp?

New contacts that don’t show on WhatsApp may be caused by the contacts simply not existing on your phone. You can restore them from your Google or iCloud account. Learn how by doing the previously mentioned steps.

Why doesn’t WhatsApp sync contacts

If WhatsApp doesn’t sync contacts, try restarting WhatsApp. You can also manually refresh and sync contacts. WhatsApp should sync contacts afterward, and if it doesn’t, ensure the permission to access contacts is allowed.


WhatsApp might fail to sync causing it to not show your contacts. The above suggestions should fix the problem. If you still experience the issue, try updating your Android or iOS version to see if it’s caused by a bug that occurs on an outdated version of your phone’s operating system.

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