New Google Play Services update may boot all your previously synced contacts

Google Contacts
(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has released new Play Services updates that change how contacts are synced across Android phones.
  • The latest change may cause all previously synced contacts to disappear from your Android phone.
  • This will happen if you switch off Contacts sync in the settings, though you can fix this by turning on the toggle again.

Google has rolled out a new Play Services update that changes the way your contacts are synced across your Android phones, which may cause them to vanish from your device.

The latest change is a part of version 23.20 of Google Play Services, and it removes all previously synced contacts from your Android phone (via Android Authority). This occurs if you turn off the Google Contacts sync option in your phone's settings, and this may prove annoying for anyone who constantly switches handsets.

Previously, when you switched off contact sync, your contacts would continue to appear on your device, including those you added at a later time. However, your contacts list will not be synced if you sign in to a new device in the future.

With the new update, your previously synced contacts will be removed from your phone once you have disabled contact sync. That said, they will still be stored in your Google account, and you can access them by going to the Contacts web page.

This means that your contacts will not be completely deleted from your Google account. To restore them to your current device, you will need to manually turn on contact sync again.

To turn on contact sync (assuming you've previously disabled it), navigate to your phone's Settings menu and go to Accounts. Tap on your Google account and check the box next to Contacts. After that, tap the "More" button at the bottom and hit "Sync now."

Before this update, the only way to remove your contacts from your phone was to remove your Google account from it.  However, you won't be able to do so if only one Google account is logged in to that device, which means your contacts will also be impossible to wipe clean.

While this update may appear to be inconvenient, there is little chance that you will accidentally delete all of your contacts from your handset unless you intentionally disable contact sync. It's a minor annoyance that shouldn't be a major issue as long as you steer clear of that sync toggle.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.