How to Fix WhatsApp Contacts Not Showing on iPhone or Android

Can’t figure out why your WhatsApp contacts are not showing on your Android or iOS device?

WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging application that allows you to communicate with friends, colleagues, and family. One of its key features is end-to-end encryption, which ensures users that messages and calls can only be accessed by the sender and recipient. 

Despite being one of the best messaging platforms, WhatsApp isn’t safe from downtimes and errors. 

Recently, users have been complaining about their WhatsApp contacts not showing on their mobile devices. 

Now, there are several reasons why this issue occurs. For one, it’s possible that the mobile app doesn’t have proper permissions to access your contacts. On the other hand, it can also be due to outdated software, corrupted data, or improper configurations. 

In this guide, we will show you how to fix WhatsApp if your contacts are not showing. 

Let’s get right into it!

1. Restart Your Device. 

Before doing anything, we recommend restarting your mobile device if you encounter issues with WhatsApp or any other application. This way, we can ensure that the problem isn’t caused by a temporary bug or glitch that occurred during use. 

For Android: 

  1. Locate the Power button on your device. 
  2. Next, press and hold the Power button until the options menu shows up. 
  3. Finally, tap on Restart and wait for your device to reboot. 
Restart Android

For iOS: 

  1. Hold down the Volume Down button and Side button until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ prompt appears. 
  2. Now, drag the slider to the right and wait for 30 seconds. 
  3. Press the Side button afterward to turn on your device. 
Restart iOS

Once done, go back to WhatsApp to check if you can now view your contacts. 

2. Ensure Your Friend’s Number Is in Your Address Book. 

If you want to chat with your friends on WhatsApp, you’ll need to ensure that the phone number registered to their account is in your contacts or phonebook. You should also enter the country code extension of your friends’ number if they are abroad. 

This is one of the most common reasons why users are having a hard time finding their friends on WhatsApp. 

As it turns out, WhatsApp relies on the contacts on your device and see if the numbers match a registered account on their database. So, if your WhatsApp contacts are not showing up, make sure that you’ve saved their numbers correctly. 

3. Verify If Your Friend Uses WhatsApp. 

Similar to the one above, it’s crucial that your contact has installed WhatsApp on their device and their number is registered to the platform. Most of the time, they might say that they have WhatsApp on their device but they haven’t registered for an account yet. 

Due to this, we recommend that you double-check with your friend and ensure that they have a registered account using the phone number in your contacts list. 

If the issue persists even after confirming the second and third solutions, head to the next step to continue. 

4. Update WhatsApp. 

There’s a chance that the version of WhatsApp you’re using has a bug or glitch that causes your contacts not to show up. To rule this out, we suggest that you install the latest version of WhatsApp on your device. 

For Android: 

  1. Launch Google Play Store on your device. 
  2. After that, tap on your Profile and access the Manage Apps & Device tab. 
  3. From there, go to the Updates Available page and locate WhatsApp
  4. Hit the Update button beside the app to start the process. 
Update Android

For iOS:

  1. Head to your home screen and tap on the App Store to launch it. 
  2. Next, tap on your Profile icon to access it. 
  3. Finally, scroll down and look for WhatsApp. Hit the Update button to start downloading the latest version of the app. 
Update iOS

Once done, restart your device and check if you’ll still encounter issues with WhatsApp. 

5. Check WhatsApp Servers. 

Since WhatsApp is an online platform, it relies on its servers to deliver content and features. If you encounter issues with the app, there’s a chance that there’s a problem with WhatsApp’s servers. 

To confirm this, you can use third-party sites like Downdetector to view the status of WhatsApp’s servers. 

Whatsapp Status

If there are ongoing issues with the servers, the best thing you can do is wait since server-related errors can’t be resolved on your end. On the other hand, you can head to the next solution if the servers are up and running. 

6. Check Your Permissions. 

WhatsApp needs access to your contacts to function properly. If the app is not allowed to access your contacts list, this explains why you can’t see your friends and contacts within the application. 

In this case, you’ll need to check your device’s permissions and ensure that WhatsApp can access your contacts. 

For iOS: 

  1. Head to your home screen and tap on Settings to open it. 
  2. After that, scroll down and tap on WhatsApp.
  3. Finally, tap the toggle switch beside the Contacts tab.
WhatsApp Contacts Not Showing

For Android: 

  1. Access your phone’s Settings and go to the Apps tab (naming can vary from one device to another). 
  2. Now, locate WhatsApp and tap on it. 
  3. Go to the Permissions tab afterward and ensure that all permissions are turned on. 
Allow Contacts WhatsApp

Once done, go back to WhatsApp and check if the problem is solved. 

7. Clear WhatsApp Data (Android). 

If you are using an Android device, you can try clearing WhatsApp’s data to solve this issue. This should clear temporary files and caches on your storage and ensure that there are no corrupted data on your device. 

See the steps below to clear WhatsApp’s data: 

  1. Go to your home screen and find WhatsApp from the list. 
  2. After that, hold down its app icon until the options menu appears. 
  3. Now, tap on App Info and access the Storage tab. 
  4. Finally, tap on Clear Cache and Clear Data
WhatsApp Contacts Not Showing

Relaunch WhatsApp afterward, access your account, and check if the problem is solved. 

8. Update Your Device. 

You can also try updating your device if you still encounter issues with WhatsApp. There might be a conflict between the version of Android or iOS you’re running and the version of WhatsApp installed on your device. 

For Android: 

  1. Launch the Settings app on your device. 
  2. Next, scroll down and look for Software Update
  3. Access the tab and tap on Download and Install
WhatsApp Contacts Not Showing

For iOS: 

  1. Go to your home screen and tap on Settings
  2. Now, go to General and tap on Software Updates
  3. Finally, tap on Download and Install. You can also enable Automatic Updates to keep your device up to date in the future. 
download software updates

Wait for your device to finish updating and restart it. Once done, go back to WhatsApp and check if the problem is solved. 

9. Reinstall WhatsApp. 

If none of the solutions above worked, the last thing you can do is reinstall WhatsApp on your device. This way, we can ensure that there are no problems with the installation package and you have the latest version of the app. 

See the steps below to delete WhatsApp on your device: 

  1. Head to your home screen or app drawer and locate WhatsApp
  2. Now, hold down its app icon until the selection menu appears. 
  3. Lastly, tap on Remove App (iOS) or Uninstall (Android) to delete it. 
WhatsApp Contacts Not Showing

Go to the App Store or Play Store on your device and download the latest version of WhatsApp. 

10. Contact WhatsApp. 

At this point, the last thing you can do is seek help from professionals if none of the solutions above work. Possibly, there’s an issue with your WhatsApp account that needs attention on their end. 

Head to WhatsApp’s support page and get in touch with their team to report the issue you’ve been experiencing on the platform. 

WhatsApp Contacts Not Showing

You can also browse the guides on their Help Center and see if you can find other solutions. 

That ends our guide on how to fix WhatsApp if your contacts are not showing. If you have questions or any other concerns, please let us know in the comment section, and we’ll do our best to respond. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • Jake Kovoor

    Jake is the Editor-in-Chief of Saint and an independent software developer, with a Bachelors in Computer Science from Lancaster University, UK. He loves trying out various tech from the Flipper Zero to coding Raspberry Pis for automation. He started Saint back in 2016, having written over 100 posts, with the sole purpose of creating guides for software that had yet to exist back then to help users navigate around their technical problems.

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  1. Very Usefull! Thank you!

    It seemed that I have the case number 10 with my wife Apple iPhone 8 Plus. The only thing you need to add to this method is that after updating restrictions on Whatsapp, the phone should be switched off and on again so the changes on Whatsapp restrictions can be validated.

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