Android 101: Managing 'favorite' contacts

Everyone likes to keep a robust contacts list as a centralized store of information, which is especially the case in the age of smart phones. Although it seems like this list randomly grows and grows (few people regularly "audit" their contacts list), we usually end up contacting the same handful of people over and over again.

This is where the simple idea of a "favorites" list comes in — a quick and useful tool in Android's contact manager that separates your most-contacted people from the rest. Hang with us after the break for a very brief tutorial about Google Contacts and marking individuals as "favorites".

Android has moved from a generic "Contacts" app to an app called "People" to manage contacts, and while the naming may have changed the system is basically the same. The People app links up with multiple accounts, bringing in contact information from each into a central area to manage. Marking a contact as a favorite is easy, just tap on a contact's name, then select the "star" icon up at the top of the contact card. You'll then be able to see a combination of these favorite contacts and your frequently contacted people from the "Favorites" tab of the People app.

The useful part about this People app is being able to sync your favorites across devices using your Google account. Make sure that you're syncing your Google contacts to your phone, and maybe even consider using Google Contacts as your centralized database for ease of backup and syncing between devices. This way any changes you make to your contacts or favorites on one device will make their way to your other Google Account-connected devices as well.

If you have a phone that has replaced the Google app with its own, the process is much the same. Make sure that you're using your Google account as the primary syncing system for your contacts, and mark the contacts you wish to have as favorites. Even though you're not using the official "People" app, your contacts will be synced back to Google much the same. Some of these apps may try to sync to a different service or the phone's internal storage by default, so be sure to double check where you're syncing so that you don't lose any data.

We realize that many of you have already mastered the intricacies of syncing your contacts and denoting which are your favorites, so maybe this will remind you to make that "audit" on an unnecessarily growing contacts list you have. Better yet, send this tutorial over to someone who is less Android savvy so that they can back up their contacts safely — you may just be one of those favorite contacts going forward.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • I like to edit contacts through the Gmail contacts tab. Makes grouping and editing info much easier.
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App
  • Any bets on a new and improved (cards everywhere!) app heading to the play store in October with the new release?
  • I wish Android would lose the blue top and blue acents and make it black... Make it more sleek and clean. The color from icons and contact pictures is enough..... Just my opinion Posted via Android Central App
  • I agree. I think the contacts app in stock Android looks out of place with it's bright blue. It's rather jarring.
  • Where can I get this "Peoples" app? Would like to compare to the native GS4 app.
  • The stock Google People app is MUCH better than anything Samsung has as for as contact management
  • Using the HTC people app (I think, it's on my Rezound), the phone defaults to adding a person to my "Phone" contacts list instead of Google. There is an option in the People app to transfer contacts and I just moved all my Phone only contacts to my Google account. This explains why I couldn't find a bunch of people last time I was looking for numbers on my computer.
  • I have a Galaxy Note 1 and it sounds like I want Google People instead of what I'm using now, which is what I'm guessing is Samsung's version. I searched for Google People in GooglePlay, but don't see it there. How can I change my contact app to G-People? Thanks
  • I've been using the People app on my Moto G phone since I bought it s/h 9 months ago. But it then developed a fault that's baffling me - I put a new contact info in, name, number, and save - but when I switch phone off and on again, it disappears.
    That is, it was doing that until I communicated via Motorola Support chat with some "helpful" people today. Person B suggested I add my gmail account (new, and hardly ever used) on to the phone, which I did, and it seemed to solve the problem - two new contacts saved after power down. So I asked Person B for an explanation, but what she offered made no sense to me - something about Gmail being a server, limitless capacity, my phone would only allow certain number of contacts (I had 147, hardly a big number), so they were being stored on the Gmail server.
    That doesn't make any sense to me, and I've googled to try to find any link between People app and Gmail, to no avail. I want to understand, then I can make sure it doesn't happen again.
    Can anyone offer any explanation, or point me in direction of any website that might help?
  • You were previously storing your contacts in your phones database, possibly even on the SIM card, as a result you were limited to 147 and also did not have a backup. Google contacts is very simple. It will be called people or contacts based on the android version of your device. Your device may have its own contact book - under settings choose Google as your default to store new contracts. Google stores a copy of your contact book on its servers, which then syncs with your device(s). You need a gmail address to establish, login and manage your Google address book - hence the confusion about gmail contacts. Gmail contacts is just your Google address book. You don't ever need to use gmail, but your Google login is needed for the play store so you need it to download apps, edit contacts, etc... The reason its so great is you only need to enter a new or corrected info on one device. If you edit a phone number on your tablet, it will sync up to Google then down to your PC, phone, .... the only variable being the sync settings (mainly frequency) on each device - if you sync your phone weekly it will take until the next sync cycle for your contacts to be up to date. You can also use your Google login to post on more sites every day. I wasn't signed up for this forum - and I was not going to sign up to leave you this comment until I saw the button indicating I could UAR my google credentials. Good luck.