Droid Users Beware – Gmail Will Delete Phone Numbers of Your Contacts

by Ryan on June 26, 2010

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On Thursday, I noticed something a little funny with my Droid Incredible.  The phone number of a contact that I frequently called was suddenly missing.  By Friday, it had turned into full blow phone number armageddon, whereby the phone numbers of every nearly single one of my contacts were missing, yet their names, email addresses, and other contact information remained.  After going into my Gmail contacts out on the server side (at Gmail.com) I was further dismayed to see that the phone numbers were also removed from each contact out on the server.   What this meant is that Gmail had deleted my contacts and the Droid Incredible had auto-synced with Gmail and during this sync the server side pushed down blank phone number fields and overridden the phone numbers on the phone with blank data.

Just for a second, I’ll take a quick step back and explain how contact and calendar sync on the Droid actually function in case you’re not familiar with the Droid OS .  Droid basically syncs your gmail contacts and your Google calendar with the Droid’s contacts and calendar.  So it’s totally odd that all of a sudden the phone numbers would be missing.  What’s even more ridiculous is that Google would build a contact sync function that would OVERWRITE data fields with blank data.   What I’m saying is that the phone numbers of the contacts on the Gmail side of things were somehow, though a Gmail FUBAR move, deleted, but why would the blank phone number fields then be pushed down to the phone?  Why wouldn’t the phone just re-sync with the Gmail contacts out on the server side and re-upload the missing phone numbers back into Gmail?  Google – how can you not figure this out?

After a little research, it turns out that many other Droid users have had this same mysterious “contact missing phone numbers” issue.  There’a a pretty detailed forum thread on the subject.  Droid users beware of this bug.   Luckily, I was able to easily recover my contacts using Time Machine, and re-sync the restore contacts with Gmail, and then have these restored contacts pushed back down to my Droid.  The moral of the story is – backup your machine regularly, because not even Google has their act together when it comes to mobile address book syncing.

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  • Lakekrista

    Yes, this drives me nuts! I lost my best friends' phone number the other day!!!! Not to mention business contacts numbers at critical times, naturally!!!! Talk about bad timing.

  • http://www.ryanborn.net ryanborn

    It's totally amazing that Google has not rolled out a product called “Google Contacts” and resolve synching issues between Gmail contacts and Android.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    arg. I really want them to do well with contacts. I need a good way to keep track of the people I talk to.

  • Wcroizier

    This has happened to my wifes phone after starting to use her Gmail account…

    she is mad as hell!!!!

  • http://www.ryanborn.net ryanborn

    arggghh! did she have a backup?