Android syncs all of your Google contacts by default, let’s fix that.

One of the most annoying quirks of Android’s default settings is how it chooses to sync your Google Contacts.  Anyone who uses Gmail knows, Google keeps anyone who you’ve ever emailed in a master list of contacts called “All Contacts.”  This is great when you’re writing an email to someone, but very annoying when trying to find a friend’s phone number or email in your contacts list.  Fortunately this is easy to fix.

I’ll break it down in two ways, those who are running the Contacts app provided by Google and available on most phones and those running HTC’s Sense UI with the People app (available on the HTC Hero and Eris as of Nov 6, and I believe on the HTC Tattoo outside of the US).

Using Contacts app:

  1. Start the Contacts app.
  2. Switch to the Contacts tab.
  3. Click on the menu button and choose “Edit sync groups”.
  4. Uncheck “Sync all contacts” and leave checked the actual groups you want to sync, by default Google has labeled this as “My Contacts” for me, I’m pretty sure it’s the same for most people.
  5. Click OK.

Using People app (HTC Sense UI):

  1. Start the People app.
  2. Switch to the groups tab/pane.
  3. Click on the menu button and choose “Sync groups”.
  4. Uncheck “Sync all contacts” and leave checked the actual groups you want to sync, again this should be “My Contacts” and any custom you have made, but mileage may vary.
  5. Click Save.

After making this change, it can take a minute or so before it re-syncs your contacts, so I would just exit the app and then restart it and just give it a few, you should see the contacts number drop significantly.

10 Responses to “Android syncs all of your Google contacts by default, let’s fix that.”

  1. sandesh Says:

    Good knowledgeable post………

  2. Teebags Says:

    Thanks for posting this!

    Having “All” contacts coming up has been driving me nuts for weeks. I was about ready to bin this phone and switch back to my old HTC Magic.

  3. Greg Sheremeta Says:

    Much appreciated. Cheers.

  4. Todd Randolph Says:

    not seeing the edit sync groups – only edit sync accounts (facebook, gmail) on my moto droid…any suggestions?

    • John Hamond Says:

      I solved the All Contacts display problem for the Droid. Here’s my steps:

      Open the Contacts app,
      Make sure you’re on the Contacts tab
      Menu Button
      Select Display Options
      Select the account you are changing (your gmail account)
      Long press on All Contacts
      Select remove sync group

      And you’re done. The key is to tap and hold on the All Contacts (and any other list you don’t want) for a few seconds, and you’re prompted to remove it.

      I’ve found with my new Droid, when in doubt, long press and see what happens. Hope this helps for you!

  5. Josh Turmel Says:

    What items are available in your menu in your Contacts/People app?

  6. Todd Randolph Says:

    native android contacts apps display options screen offers ability to show only contacts w phone numbers. the only other filter is NY account (gmail, facebook contacts)

  7. TSpencer Says:

    OMG THANK you SO MUCH for this. I just got my Moto Droid yesterday, switched from a BB Curve and was going half insane trying to figure out how to get JUST my dang phone contacts into my PHONE. Sheeesh! I know it’s a cool device and does everything but it’s still overall, my CELL PHONE! If I want all my Gmail contacts I can go into my GMail account! I just wanted my freaking phone numbers!! I was afraid I was still going to have to let it load all bazillion contacts and then just hide the groups I didn’t want, which is just stupid to have to do! I had synced my BB contacts into Outlook and then put them into a CSV file, then to GMail contacts in a separate group labeled “phone”. I was able to have the Droid ignore all the other groups except this one via your instructions. Thank you thank you!!

  8. Valerie Says:

    My Droid Eris doesn’t have the option to “Sync groups”. I have looked everywhere in People and I can’t find this option. Any suggestions?

  9. Kate Says:

    Hi, there. I’ve been trying to fix this on my Eris, but I don’t have the “sync groups” option. Does anyone know how to fix this? I’ve been looking everywhere, and can’t find a solution.


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