How to Access the Address Book on Your Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

To peruse your Android phone’s address book, open the People or Contacts app. You may find a launcher icon on the Home screen, but you’ll certainly find the app in the apps drawer.

The figure shows the People app on a typical Android phone. The address book on your phone may look subtly different, but most of the items illustrated in the figure should be there.

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Scroll the list by swiping your finger on the touchscreen. You can use the index on the side of the screen to quickly scroll the list up and down. Large letters may appear as you scroll to help you find your place.

To do anything with a contact, you first have to choose it: Touch a contact name, and you see more information, similar to what’s shown here.

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The list of activities you can do with the contact depends on the information shown and the apps installed on the phone. Here are some options.

Place a phone call. To call the contact, touch one of the contact’s phone entries, such as Home or Mobile. You touch either the entry itself or the Phone icon by the entry.

Send a text message. Touch the Text Message icon to open the Text Messaging app and send the contact a message.

Send e-mail: Touch the contact’s e-mail address to compose an e-mail message using the Gmail or Email app. When the contact has more than one e-mail address, you can choose to which one you want to send the message.

Locate your contact on a map. When the contact has a home or business address, you can touch the contact’s address to summon the Maps app.

View social networking info. Visit the contact’s Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking account by touching the appropriate item.

Some tidbits of information that show up for a contact don’t have an associated action. For example, the phone won’t sing Happy Birthday when you touch a contact’s birthday information.

  • Touch the Back icon to view the main address book list after you’ve viewed a contact’s information.

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  • Not every contact has a picture, and the picture can come from a number of sources (Gmail or Facebook, for example).

  • Many Android phones feature an account named Me. That’s your own information as known by the phone. The Me account may be in addition to your other accounts shown in the address book.

  • Some cellular providers add accounts to your phone’s address book. You may see entries such as BAL, MIN, or Warranty Center. Those aren’t real people; they’re shortcuts to various services. For example, the BAL contact is used on Verizon phones to get a text message listing your current account balance.

  • When a contact is referred to as a joined contact, the information you see comes from multiple sources, such as Gmail or Facebook.