Do you find that your contacts are not showing from your WhatsApp’s contacts list?
Whether it is missing contacts from under the New Chat list or if WhatsApp is just showing numbers but not the names or images of the contacts, then this guide is meant to address and guide you around how to fix it.
Let’s dive right in.
How to Fix WhatsApp Contacts Not Showing on iPhone/Android: 10 Ways
1. Have Your Friend’s Phone Number in Your Address Book.
First things first, you’ll need to make sure that the contacts of those people that are not showing on WhatsApp have to be added into your iPhone or Android contacts list first.
It is super important, especially if you have friends with numbers from abroad, that you enter their country code extension as well with their number. This has happened too many times and it is one of the main reasons why a number may not be shown in your WhatsApp.
WhatsApp works by finding all the contacts that have a WhatsApp account and proceeds to show them in the app. This is referenced in WhatsApp’s FAQ page under the section Usage of your phone number and address book.
Hence if it can’t connect the dots between your friend’s number and their account then the contact will be not shown.
2. Is Your Friend Using WhatsApp Messenger?
Again, the same case as above. It’s important that your friend has installed WhatsApp on their device as well as have registered their number.
At times, they may say they have WhatsApp on their device only to know that they have not registered their number and device properly or even install the app in the first place.
So double-check with your friend and ensure they have both their number and device setup properly as well as install the official version of WhatsApp.
Whilst you’re at that, you will also have to …
3. Have the Latest Version of WhatsApp.
Some of the earlier versions of WhatsApp are so bug-infested and error-prone that finding just a missing contact is the least of all problems.
So make sure that you have the latest version of WhatsApp installed on your iPhone or Android.
To install the latest version of WhatsApp on your device, simply head over to the following link (always updated): Download the latest version of WhatsApp
WhatsApp is used by billions of users around the world and at times they have outages in certain regions, so you will need to check that too to check if whether WhatsApp is down or not.
4. Refresh WhatsApp (for Android)
If you recently added contacts onto your device but you find that they don’t appear on WhatsApp contacts then a simple refresh may do the job to add it in.
Here’s how you refresh your WhatsApp on Android:
- Go ahead, tap on your Settings and then Account.
- Next, select WhatsApp and then choose WhatsApp again.
- Now tap on the Menu button or More (some different Android devices may show it as More) on the top right-hand side and then choose to Remove Account.
- Add your account back in Settings and then Account.
- Lastly, open up WhatsApp and then Contacts. Then tap on the Menu button on the top right and hit Refresh. See if your missing contacts now appear.
For iOS users, there is no refresh button but you can try and restart the app to refresh it. To restart the app, force-close the app. For iPhone users with a Home button, simply click on the button twice and swipe away the app from the background history. For iPhone users without a Home button, here’s a great guide by written by us on how you can easily force-close an app in three steps.
5. Enable Access to Your Contacts
This is another solution that has worked for a few of our readers to get back the missing contacts on WhatsApp
Basically, if you disabled your device from allowing WhatsApp to access your contacts in the settings then WhatsApp will not be permitted to read contacts of your phone book or show them in the app.
If you’re on iOS
- Jump into your Settings app and then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and tap on WhatsApp.
- Next, under Allow WhatsApp to Access section, toggle on Contacts.
If you’re on Android
- Go ahead open up Settings and then tap on Apps.
- Following that tap on Manage Apps and then All Apps.
- Next, tap on WhatsApp. Then turn on Contacts to enable permissions for contacts.
You may also go to Security > Permission > Application > WhatsApp, and turn on Read Contacts. The steps for Android vary from different models.
Once you’re done with the above steps simply refresh your WhatsApp by closing the app completely (removing it from the background apps history) and then reopening it.
Test to see if the contacts are back.
6. Re-Login WhatsApp or Restart Your Phone.
Still unable to get your WhatsApp contacts to show or probably they show numbers but not the names?
The best way to go about this now is to either 1) sign out of WhatsApp and then sign back in or 2) restart your device
If you’re an Android user, here’s how you sign out of WhatsApp:
- Firstly, to log out of your WhatsApp, open up your Settings and then tap Apps.
- Next, choose WhatsApp and then hit both Clear Data and Clear Cache.
- Open up WhatsApp again and you’ll be asked to enter your credentials to sign in again. Once you’ve logged in, you can try checking if all your contacts successfully are imported under your WhatsApp contacts list.
Now there is no such log out button for iOS users per se, but what you can do is completely remove or delete the app and then reinstall it from the App Store. Steps on how to reinstall WhatsApp is shown below in Method 9 along with how you backup all your data beforehand so you don’t lose any of your data. 🙂
Just remember that if you’re going to remove the app from your iOS device then all your data will be deleted. Be sure to create a backup before you proceed with deleting the app.
Once you’re done with removing the app, try restarting the device too to really ensure this solution works.
7. Render Contacts Visible (for Android)
If you’re an Android user, there’s an option in your settings where you will need to make sure that it is set to show all contact accounts (i.e. SIM, Google, Phone) & contact groups (i.e. Friends, Family)
To really have this fix the situation where no contacts are shown in WhatsApp, it’s recommended that you select to make your contacts “not visible” first and then select visible which will force through a refresh of the contacts list.
After doing this refresh, simply jump back into your WhatsApp, tap on the Menu Button (Three-Dot button) and then hit Refresh.
You can also just use all your contacts, not just the “visible” ones. This means all your contacts will be used and not the preselected contacts where you may have chosen contacts that you don’t want to appear in your WhatsApp.
Here’s how you do it:
- Tap on the Menu Button (three-dot button) and then select Settings.
- Next, tap Contacts and then choose Show all contacts. See if the contacts are shown in your WhatsApp now.
8. Force Stop and Clear Cache (for Android)
Each and every app has something called a ‘cache’ that collects small files and data in order to run quickly and smoothly.
Although the downside to an app’s cache is that if one of these small files do become broken or accumulate to the point where it becomes counterproductive and slows down your app, then you should practice clearing the cache.
If you’re an avid user of WhatsApp and you have hundreds of contacts and data stored on all your chats, then it makes sense to clear your cache once in a while to keep it optimized.
Now again I do not know what’s the deal Apple not implementing this feature for iOS users but of course if you’re an Android user you can actually force to clear an app’s cache manually.
- Go ahead open your Settings and then tap on Apps.
- Next, choose WhatsApp and then hit Force Stop.
- Lastly, tap the Clear Cache button on the same page.
9. Re-Download WhatsApp.
Coming back to our discussion under Method 6, you have the option whether you’re an Apple or Android user to remove WhatsApp and reinstall it once again.
Reinstalling an app like WhatsApp does clear all the data that is stored in the chats but the pros of this method are that you can start afresh like you just got your phone out of the shop.
Anyways, you’ll need to first backup. If you don’t mind losing all your data, you may skip straight to removing and reinstalling WhatsApp from your device’s App Store.
To back up your WhatsApp, you’ll need access to your Google account (the account you use for Gmail, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Docs, etc) if you’re on Android or iCloud if you’re on iOS. You may follow the guide provided by WhatsApp themselves in order
Once you have your account, open up your Google Drive, we will need Google Drive to back up all the data from WhatsApp. You may follow the guide provided by WhatsApp themselves in order to back up your chat data to Google Drive.
If you’re an iPhone user, all you need to do to backup is simply go into your WhatsApp’s Settings > Chats > Chat Backup to backup all your chats into iCloud.
Once you’ve backed up, simply remove the app and then install WhatsApp from either your Google Play (Android users) or App Store (iPhone/iPad users). You may import your chat backup again to retrieve all your messages and content from before.
10. WhatsApp Greyed Out in Privacy Settings? (iOS Only)
This is a rare issue, but it does happen to a small number of users.
You need to make sure that you’ve also not set any restrictions in place that might prevent WhatsApp to access your device’s data.
Here’s how you check:
- Jump into your Settings app and then tap Screen Time.
- Next, under Content and Privacy Restrictions, you need to make sure there aren’t any restrictions for WhatsApp. Try turning off all restrictions by switching off the Content & Privacy Restrictions option. Otherwise, as suggested by WhatsApp themselves you’ll most likely need to restore your phone.
Let us know down below if you found a better option and we will update the article with your credit.
If this guide was helpful, please share it. 🙂