For those of you who have linked your Google Contacts to your iPhone, when someone sends you an SMS did it display the person's name or did it simply display the number?

Because, although I have linked my Google Contacts to my iPhone, I can only access my contacts when I go Contacts -> Groups -> Google Global Address List -> Search.

When someone send me an SMS, only the number is displayed and I have to go Contacts -> Groups -> Google Global Address List -> Search to search for the number and see who it is.


My iPhone contacts are synced with Google Contacts (using an Exchange-type connection; the regular one didn't work) and I had a similar issue, for which I stumbled on the following information by carefully comparing the contact lists.

Contact items (phone, address, etc.) on both platforms are tagged with a label, typically displayed to the left of the phone number or whatnot (in blue on the iPhone). As far as I can tell, if the Google contact has a label the iPhone doesn't use, the syncing protocol won't pick up that number, and the iPhone won't get it as part of its internal database of contacts. Likewise, if you add a phone number on the iPhone with a label that isn't on Google's prebuilt list, then it won't get synced back to Google.

The iPhone will put a name on any incoming or outgoing call for which it can find a phone number, but if the phone number doesn't make it into the phone because it was lost in the syncing process, then it can't display it.

The easiest solution for me was to relabel phone numbers and addresses with the useful common labels "Home", "Work", and "Mobile". There are other idiosyncrasies, but it's way too much detail for this answer, especially since I don't know what the sync code looks like and therefore can't give an authoritative description.

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  • i don't quite understand what do you mean by the three valid labels for phone numbers. could you elaborate on it? – Pacerier Aug 10 '11 at 16:21
  • what exactly do you mean by a label? – Pacerier Aug 10 '11 at 16:39
  • @Pacerier: Both the iPhone and Google Contacts stick a label on every phone number, address, etc. such as "home", "work", or "mobile". On the iPhone, when looking at a contact, you will notice that the label appears to the left of the phone number, in smaller blue text; when editing a contact, instead of clicking on the phone number, click on the label, and you can change labels. – jprete Aug 10 '11 at 16:51
  • @Pacerier: In Google Contacts, when looking at a contact to edit it, you will also see the label to the left of someone's phone number, and you can click the label (or, if no label is there, the blank space) to select a label or choose "custom" to type in a custom label. – jprete Aug 10 '11 at 16:52
  • what do you mean by the 3 valid labels? what are they? doesn't google have 8 valid labels.. – Pacerier Aug 10 '11 at 17:26

My contacts are synced to Google and it works perfectly - i.e. full contact details are displayed, not just the phone number.

If the number is in the contact directory, SMS's should automatically show the name of that contact in the Messages app.

I think I see your problem - above "Google Calendar Global Addressbook" there should be an additional item called simply Contacts - this is where your google contacts are stored. If that label is not there, then somehow your sync is not set up correctly.

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  • only the contacts under "My Contacts" show up. the contacts in the other groups all did not show up. is there a fix to this problem or do i have absolutely no choice but to move all my contacts into the "My Contacts" group? – Pacerier Aug 10 '11 at 16:39

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