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How to Organize Your Contacts on Any Android Device


It’s only natural that you have a long list of contacts on your Android phone. You’ve probably saved contacts from work, family, friends, acquaintances, etc. Having all of those different types of contacts can turn into a real mess if you don’t organize them properly. Here are some ways to better organize your contacts on your Android phone.

Tip: want to clean up your Contacts list? Here’s how you can delete multiple contacts on Android.

You can easily organize your contacts by using Google’s Contacts app. It’s preinstalled on some Android phones but not all. You can download it from the Google Play Store if you don’t have it on your device. It’s a lightweight app that won’t take up too much space.

  1. Open the Contacts app and log in with your primary Google account.
  2. Tap the three dots on the top right, next to your account image.
  1. Tap on the “Customize view” option.
Opting for the "Customize view" option in the Google Contacts app.
  1. By default, the app will show you “All contacts.” If you wish to change that, select “Customize.”
Selecting "Customize" in the Google Contacts app.
  1. You’ll be provided with a list of options that include a few defaults, such as Friends, Family, Coworkers, Classmates, etc. You’ll also have the “Copied from [phone]” category if you transferred some of these contacts from another device.
Select a label in Google Contacts app.
  1. If you’re doing this for the first time, you probably won’t have anything added to the Friends or Family categories. You’ll need to add those manually to see only these specific categories or labels as they are called in the Contacts app.
  2. If you’ve already added contacts to labels, tap on a label. The Contacts app will show you only contacts from this category when you open it on your phone.
Label contacts view only in Google Contacts app.

Good to know: changing phones? Learn how to transfer contacts from one device to another.

Adding contacts to a specific label can be done in two ways in the Contacts app, as detailed below.

From the App’s Main Screen

  1. Go back to the main screen of the Contacts app.
  2. Scroll through your contact list and long-press on the contacts you want to add to a specific category.
Contact selection in Google Contacts app.
  1. Press on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner of the display.
  2. Select “Add to label.”
"Add to label" option in Google Contacts app.
  1. Select a label from the available options.
"Create new" label in Google Contacts app.

Note: in our testing, the Family and Friends labels didn’t appear in the list of available labels. The “Friends” label you see above is one we created.

  1. Alternatively, you can create a new one by pressing on “Create new” at the bottom.
  2. Name your label and press “OK.”
Name new label in Google Contacts app.
  1. The label will appear in the list. Tap on it to add the contacts you selected to your list.
  2. You can also add contacts to a specific label from a PC. Go to the Google Contacts page and log in with the same Google account.
  3. On the right, scroll through your contact list and tick each contact you want to add to a label.
Contact selection in Google Contacts on PC.
  1. Hover your mouse over one of these contacts. Click on the three dots that appear on the right.
Three dots next to selected contacts in Google Contacts for PC.
  1. Select the label you want from the list.
Adding contacts to specific label in Google Contacts for PC.
  1. If you wish to create a new label, you’ll need to click on the “Create label” button on the left, then repeat steps #10-#12.
"Create label" option in Google Contacts on PC.

Tip: did you know that you can hide calls from specific people on your Android device?

From the Labels List

  1. Open Contacts and press on the hamburger menu at the top.
Hamburger menu in Google Contacts app.
  1. You’ll notice a list of labels in the side menu that appears. Tap on one or the “+ Create label” button to make a new one.
Existing labels view in Google Contacts app.
  1. Once inside the label, press the Add People button in the upper-right corner of the display to add the contacts.
"Add contacts" button under label in Google Contacts app.
  1. Alternatively, press the “+” button in the lower right if you’re adding a new contact.

Deleting or Renaming a Label on Android

If you don’t like a certain label or need to rename it, follow the steps below.

  1. Tap on the hamburger menu to go to the list of labels. Tap on the one you want to delete or rename.
  1. Press on the three dots in the upper right.
Three dots under label in Google Contacts app.
  1. Select either “Delete label” or “Rename label.”
Rename/delete label options under label in Google Contacts app.
  1. On PC, hover your mouse over a label until the Rename and Delete icons appear, then click one.
Delete/rename labels in Google Contacts for PC.

Tip: learn how to change the default account for Contacts on Android.

How to View Contacts from Multiple Accounts

If you have more than one Google account and want to view contacts from those accounts.

  1. In the Contacts app, tap on your profile picture displayed on the top right of the screen.
Switch Google account in Google Contacts app.
  1. Either press “Add another account” and log in with the second account, or if you already did that, switch to the other account.
  2. Once you do that, you can view all the contacts associated with that account.
  3. You can also view contacts from all the accounts you’ve logged into while using this app. Tap on the hamburger menu at the top left of the Contacts app.
Hamburger menu in Google Contacts app.

5. Tap “All accounts” to view contacts associated with all your Google accounts in the Contacts app.

"All accounts" option in Google Contacts app.

How to Merge Duplicate Contacts

Your contact list could be long, as you can have friends who have various entries under the same name. For example, one entry could be their current email address, while another might have their old contact info copied from an old phone.

  1. To merge all of your entries of the same person, open the Contacts app and tap the “Fix & manage” button at the bottom.
"Fix & manage" option in Google Contacts app.
  1. Select the “Merge and fix” option.
Selecting "Merge & fix" option in Google Contacts app.
  1. Select “Merge duplicates.”
"Merge duplicates" function in Google Contacts app.
  1. Here you can see all duplicate contacts on your phone. If there are any, you can merge them individually or all at once by tapping the “Merge” or “Merge all” options.
Merge duplicates screen with options in Google Contacts app.
  1. On PC, click the “Merge & fix” option on the left.
"Merge and fix" option in Google Contacts for PC.

Good to know: learn how to get Google Assistant to recognize contacts with unique names.

How to Create a Highlights Contact List on Android

Separate from label lists, you can also create a Highlights list where you can add other contacts for easy access. For example, you can use a label list to view only your close family when you open the Contacts app while adding your close friends to Highlights. Follow the steps below to create your Highlights list.

  1. Open the Contacts app and tap “Highlights” at the bottom.
"Highlights" option in Google Contacts app.
  1. Press on the “Add Favorites” button.
"Add favorites" in Google Contacts app.
  1. Make your selection by pressing on the star next to each contact. Press on the back arrow at the top left.
Star contacts in Google Contacts app.
  1. You should be able to view your favorite contacts at the top.
Favorite contacts in Google Contacts app.

How to Organize Your Contacts by First or Last Name (Surname)

There’s no right or wrong way to have your contacts displayed. They can appear by their first or last name (surname), which you can easily set up in the Contacts app.

  1. Tap on your profile picture in the upper right corner in Contacts.
Selecting "Contacts app settings" in Google Contacts app.
  1. Select “Contacts app settings.”
  2. Under the “Display” section, you’ll see two options.
"Sort by" and "Name format" options in Google Contacts app.
  1. Tap on “Sort by,” and a small pop-up window will let you choose to organize by first or last name. Even though you might have John Smith under “J,” you’ll see the last name (Surname) first, despite it being under your “J” contacts.
"Sort by" options in Google Contacts app.
  1. You can also choose Name format, but all that does is add a comma and places the name either by first name and then the last or vice versa.
"Name format" options in Google Contacts app.

Tip: dropped your phone? You can still access an Android device with a broken screen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I send a message to all contacts grouped under a label?

Yes, and it’s super easy. Go to the label in question on your mobile device and tap on the three dots in the upper-right corner of the display. Select “Send email” or “Send message” to send your notes to all of them at the same time.

Can I hide some contacts from the app?

You can, but only from PC. Select the contacts you want to hide. (They can be part of a label or the main list; it does not matter.) Click on the three dots under the Search bar and select “Hide from contacts,” which will be reflected in the Contacts app.

Can I share a label with others?

Unfortunately no. You can share multiple contacts easily, however. Select them from the main app page, then press “Share.” Tap on one of the available social apps to send the contacts on their way.

Are there any worthy Google Contacts alternatives out there?

There are various interesting contacts apps that can bring various extra features to the table, such as:

  • Your phone’s native contacts app – depending on your phone manufacturer, you may have a pretty decent contacts app already installed (different from Google’s, that is). For instance, on our OnePlus phone, the native contacts app comes with options such as “Name sorting rules” and “Hide contacts without numbers.” There’s even the option to add contacts to various groups, such as Coworkers, Family, Friends, etc.
  • Covve – – groups people in your contacts list based on how often you’re interacting with them. It can be set to send out reminders to promote interaction with the ones you’re closest to.
  • Simple Contacts – as the name suggests, it’s a very easy-to-use contacts app. It lets you create groups of contacts and has the option to display contacts, starting with name or surname, and also allows you to merge duplicate contacts.

Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Alexandra Arici.

Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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