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How to edit contacts in Gmail (and manage them effectively)

How to edit contacts in Gmail (and manage them effectively)

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Life happens, and people change, but keeping up with those changes in Google Contacts is vital to avoid losing touch with your connections. Contact management is a priority in business, especially if you work in sales or another field where you interact with a high volume of people each year.

While Gmail and Google Contacts aren’t CRMs, they offer built-in features that can help you manage your address book. Let’s dive into how to edit and manage your contacts.

Where are my contacts in Gmail?

Your Gmail contacts are the same as those stored in the Google Contacts app.

Why? Because your Google account is universal, meaning if you add a contact via Google Contacts on your Android device, you’ll find that same contact if you access your contacts via Gmail on your Apple Mac.

If you’re trying to find your Gmail contacts, the process differs slightly depending on whether you’re accessing Gmail on your desktop or mobile device. In any case, it's similar regardless of which operating system you use.

Find Gmail Contacts on desktop

  1. Head to Google Contacts on your web browser of choice.
  2. Log into your Google account if you haven’t already done so.
  3. All the contacts should appear on the homepage by default. If not, click Contacts in the menu on the left side.
A screenshot of the Google Contacts page

Find Gmail Contacts on mobile

  1. Tap the Gmail app. (Note: You can download the app from the App Store for your iOS device and the Google Play Store for your Android phone.)
  2. Tap your profile picture in the top-right corner of the screen to open a drop-down menu.
  3. Click Manage Your Google Account under your name.
  4. Click People & Sharing to the right of Security. (Note: You may need to scroll through the tabs at the top to find it.)
  5. Tap Contacts to open a new window and view your contacts on the homepage.

Editing or modifying Gmail contacts

It’s always smart to export your list of contacts every once in a while, especially if you’re planning to edit or delete specific contacts. This will enable you to restore your previous list if you need to correct any mistakes.

Alternatively, you can restore contacts on Gmail, but you only have 30 days before they’re removed from Google’s servers.

Modify contacts on the web

Editing contact details on the web cannot be done directly from Gmail’s primary interface. Instead, use the official Google Contacts website.

Here's how to access Google Contacts from your Gmail account:

  1. Log into your Gmail account.
  2. Click on the (nine-dot) Google Apps button in the upper right corner.
  3. Click on the Google Contacts icon to reach the main Contacts page.

Alternatively, you can just visit for a more direct method. Either way, you can now edit your contacts directly on the web with Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chromebook devices.

Here’s how to edit contact details:

  1. Hover over your chosen contact.
  2. Click the pencil icon that appears on the right-hand side.
  3. Your contact's Google profile will open, and you can change details, such as their phone number or job title.
  4. Click the Save button found on the top-right. 

Here’s an example of what this looks like. We went into Abraham Mccarthy’s contact and changed his name from “Abraham” to “Abe.” 

A screenshot of the Google Contacts page showing the edit view of a selected Google contact

One last thing here: Your other devices must be connected to the web and have automatic synchronization enabled to reflect any changes you've made on your desktop across your other devices.

Modify contacts with an Android device

Every Android phone is pre-loaded with the Google Contacts app. If you cannot find the app, visit the Google Play Store to download it again.

Click on the Contacts app to arrive at your list of contacts, and edit by following these steps:

  1. Tap the pencil icon in the bottom-right corner of your contact’s page.
  2. Update the contact's information.
  3. Click Save in the top-right corner.

Modify contacts with an iOS device

iOS devices, including the iPad and iPhone, also have a Contacts app, but you must download it from the App Store first.

Once downloaded and logged in, edit your contacts with these steps:

  1. Tap Groups in the top-left corner to ensure your app only shows your Gmail contacts.
  2. Enable the All Gmail option, disable all other options, and click Done.
  3. On the main page, select the contact name you wish to edit.
  4. Tap Edit in the top-right corner.
  5. Update your contact details and tap Done.

How to remove or delete Google contacts

Deleting unwanted contacts couldn’t be simpler with Google’s built-in features. But remember, if you’re deleting contacts en masse, it’s worth exporting contacts first so that you can quickly resolve any major mistakes.

Here’s how to remove or delete contacts using your web browser and the Contacts app.

How to delete a Gmail contact using a web browser

Start editing contacts by visiting the primary Google Contacts homepage, typing the address into your browser, or clicking through your Gmail contacts. If you're signed in, you should already see a list of contacts.

Then, you can delete one or several contacts following these steps:

  1. Hover your cursor over the contact you want to delete.
  2. Check the box next to that contact. (Note: You can delete multiple contacts by repeating this process next to each contact.)
  3. Click the three dots () or More, depending on which version of Contacts you’re using.
  4. Depending on whether you’re using the latest or an earlier version of Contacts, click the Delete or Delete Contact(s) button.
  5. Click Delete Forever to confirm.

If you’ve made a mistake, you have 30 days to restore deleted contacts before they’re removed from Google’s servers.

Removing contacts in the Google Contacts app 

You can also follow the same steps to delete contacts via your web browser on a mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone, but the most efficient way is using the Google Contacts app.

Here's how to remove contacts:

  1. Open your Google Contacts app.
  2. Review the contacts on your screen and tap the one you want to delete.
  3. Tap on the three dots () in the top-right of the screen.
  4. Click Delete.
  5. Click Delete again to confirm.

Note: If you want to delete multiple contacts, long-tap on each one. Instead of clicking on the menu icon, you can tap the Trash icon that appears and delete all selected contacts that way. 

Other methods of managing your Gmail contacts

Managing your contacts can quickly become a headache if you have thousands of people to track. Plus, Gmail will occasionally add new contacts automatically, making organization difficult.  

Wrangling your address book means utilizing Gmail’s built-in management features, including features like:

  • Adding contacts: Manually add contacts to your address book via your web browser or let Gmail do it automatically whenever you connect with someone. For example, Gmail will automatically create contacts for people you’ve exchanged emails with.
  • Importing contacts: You can also import contacts from a Google CSV spreadsheet or vCard files. This is ideal if you switch devices or need to fix a mistake when updating or deleting multiple contacts.
  • Exporting contacts: Exporting can be done similarly with various file types. It’s strongly recommended that you export contacts before ever significantly altering them.
  • Restoring Contacts: Google enables you to recover contacts deleted within the last 30 days with a click of a button. Note that contacts not restored within 30 days will automatically delete themselves permanently, and there’s no way to get them back.

Google’s native features provide the basic functionality needed to edit or delete contacts and maintain control of your address book. However, businesses may find these options unsuitable for managing a constantly growing and evolving list of connections, meaning a dedicated platform could be better.

Is Google Contacts the best option for managing contacts?

Google Contacts is one of the most popular contact management apps on the planet—if not the most popular. Individual users may find the official Google Contacts app sufficient for their needs, but from a business perspective, even startups and small businesses find it pretty basic.

Google Contacts offers all the basic features required to monitor your contacts. Plus, its synchronization functionality lets you edit and manage your contacts in the office and on the go with any iOS or Android phone. Additionally, it can also synchronize with many third-party apps.

Unfortunately, this is where the advantages stop. For example, sales teams cannot add detailed notes or flags or see their most relevant contacts first. Errors and headaches arise when there are syncing issues.

Occasionally, Google Contacts can interact poorly with other tools too, like various CRM platforms. This can result in integration problems, leaving teams siloed and vulnerable to human error. That’s why most high-level businesses will not rely solely on Contacts.

Do all of these potential drawbacks make Google a poor platform choice?

Absolutely not. It's the most popular platform of its type for a reason. However, businesses find it lacking in terms of advanced features designed to streamline how they manage their business connections. That’s why we built Streak.

Effectively manage all communication in one place with Streak

Gmail and Google Contacts offer all of the basic contact management features you could want, and Streak’s powerful Gmail integration takes it all to the next level. If you want to simplify managing contacts, groups, and threads, it’s time to upgrade your inbox with Streak.

Join more than 750,000 happy users who lean on Streak to organize their inboxes and improve their contact management. It’s free to try, so sign up today.

The best part?

It only takes 30 seconds to get started.

Editing contacts FAQs

Can I bulk-edit Google Contacts?

Yes, you can. Google offers a tool known as Contact Editor.

This tool lets you edit each contact in a spreadsheet format. It’s not the most efficient way of editing contacts in bulk, but it’s much faster than editing numerous contacts individually.

Why haven’t my contacts been updated?

If you’ve modified your contacts and don’t see any changes, this could be a synchronization problem. Ensure your devices have automatic synchronization enabled and are connected to the internet.

Why do my contacts keep getting deleted?

Your contacts could be missing because you deleted them on one device. Since all devices are universally linked, changes made on one device will be reflected across your entire Google account.

Check your Trash folder or contact Google Help for support with your specific problem.

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