Problem handling contacts on FP3

I am experiencing difficulties handling contacts on my FP3. Changes made to contacts take quite a while to appear in other apps, e.g. ‘Telephone/Dialer’ or the built-in contacts app – if at all. Attempts to permanently move contacts to the SIM-card fail.

I am operating the FP3 without a google account. All pre-installed google apps (e.g. ‘gmail’ or ‘drive’ but also ‘google’ among others) have been manually disabled. Others, such as ‘google play services’, are enabled.

I exported all contacts on my old FP1 into a .vcf-file on an external SD-card. I then imported the .vcf-file into the third party app ‘simple contacts’ to the new FP3’s internal phone storage. The built-in contacts app notified me that contacts were found in one account. Once clicked on this notification, all entries appear. Then some strange behaviour occurred:

  • Changes made to existing entries in ‘simple contacts’, e.g. the correction of a spelling mistake in a name, are correctly displayed in ‘simple contacts’ but not in the built-in apps ‘contacts’ or ‘telephone/dialer’. If I click on an altered but incorrect entry name in these two apps, ‘simple contacts’ opens and shows the updated, i.e. corrected entry.

  • The same applies to messenger apps. I am using ‘signal’ and ‘threema’. Although ‘signal’ displays the names of contacts after initial start, changes made to existing entries won’t appear.

  • Access to the SIM-card seems to be corrupted, too. ‘Simple contacts’ let’s me export all contacts to the SIM-card. But after a restart of the phone all entries are gone.

  • It get’s even weirder: Contacts moved to the SIM-card on the FP1 do appear in all contacts related apps on the FP3. Even the two messenger apps seem to have ‘easier’ access to them than to those stored in the internal phone storage. If I delete all these ‘old’ entries from the SIM-card in ‘simple contacts’, the list is empty, no contacts are shown. And if I then export all contacts from the internal phone storage to the SIM-card, these moved entries appear to be on the SIM-card. After a reboot of the phone, however, not only all the moved contacts are gone but all the contacts I had previously moved there on the FP1 are there again. This means I, apparently, cannot write to the SIM-card permanently.

  • Finally, a contact saved to the SIM-card cannot be edited in the built-in ‘contacts’ app as no button appears in the bottom right corner. Nor can I save a new contact created in the built-in ‘contacts’ app to the SIM-card.

As all apps mentioned above do have the corresponding permission to access contacts, I assume this strange behaviour is down to some new security design in Android 9. Plus, unlike in Android 7, which I operate on a FP2, there appear new accounts in Android 9: ‘SIM card’ and ‘Phone’. Both accounts are set to process and sync changes automatically.
I further assume that all these difficulties are related to each other. So I am wondering if this is a known issue and whether there is a solution to make the F3 handle contacts as the FP2 and the FP1 do.

It’s important to note that a Google account handles various aspects of syncing and backing up Android as well, and you’re going to have to hunt around for alternative solutions. You won’t get Google Contacts synced over, for example—fine if you don’t want to use Google Contacts, but you’ll need to get something else in place or build up your contacts list from scratch on the phone itself.


Thanks for the hint. The article desribes more or less what I did during setup of the phone. It’s just that I still don’t understand the above described behaviour. I’ve always assumed that there is one single storage location for each of the different services (contacts, call logs, text messages) which the corresponding applications access once the relevant permissions are granted.
The only difference to previous versions of Android seems to be that contacts storage (sim and internal phone) is now related to accounts - whatever this means.

What if you go to Settings > Accounts > Add Account and add an account for “Phone”? This might enable a “real” local contacts storage. Or was this account created by Simple Contacts? :thinking:

I’d tried that already before I did a complete reset of the the telephone. The result was another, i.e. is second, account called ‘Phone’. I don’t think Simple Contacts created the account. Why should it? Simple Contacts is not designed to connect to any external service, e.g. via CardDAV. Simple Contacts rather detects different address books, e.g. ‘SIM Card’ and ‘Phone’ but also ‘Signal’ and ‘Threema’.
Merry xmas :evergreen_tree::evergreen_tree:

  • I think I have finally found a solution:
  • I installed MyLocalAccount from an .apk. After installation you can add an account called ‘MyLocalAccount’.
  • ‘Simple Contacts’ detected a new adress book called ‘local contacts’. I then imported all existing contacts into this new address book through ‘Simple Contacts’.

After many hours of trial and error this procedure seems to do the trick: ‘Signal’ and ‘Threema’ ‘react’ to changes made to entries in ‘Simple Contacts’. There is still a delay as synchronisation still won’t launch manually. It’s done somehow although I can’t say when and how often a day.
What’s more: the build-in ‘contacts’ app now displays the newly added account and all its content. The same applies to the build-in ‘dialer’ app.

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Cloud apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and Threema usually take some time to detect new contacts as they probably don’t listen to the address book for changes.In WhatsApp, for example, there is a refresh button that synchronizes the address book on demand.