How to Change Read Only Contacts on Android

Have you ever tried to edit or delete a contact on your Android phone only to find that it’s read only?

Read only contacts can be frustrating, but fortunately there are a few ways to modify them on Android.

What Causes Read Only Contacts?

In most cases, read only contacts are caused by syncing your contacts from sources like Gmail or social media. For example, syncing your Facebook contacts to your phone will create read only contacts that can’t be edited on the device.

How to Make Contacts Editable

Disable Contact Syncing

The simplest way to make contacts editable is to stop syncing from sources like Gmail or Facebook. Go to Settings > Accounts on your phone, and disable contact syncing for any linked accounts.

This will stop new read only contacts from being added, but existing ones will still be read only until you modify them.

Use a Contacts Editing App

Another option is to use an app like Contacts Editor or Read Only Contacts. These let you directly edit read only contacts within the app interface. The changes will sync back to the source account.

The pro of this method is you don’t have to disable syncing. The con is it requires installing a separate app.

Export and Import Contacts

You can also export your contacts to a file, modify or delete read only contacts in the file, then import the edited contacts back to your device. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Accounts and sync your contacts to your Google account if not already done
  2. Open the Contacts app and tap the Menu icon
  3. Choose Export > to .vcf file. This exports contacts to your device storage.
  4. Open the .vcf file on a computer and edit or delete any read only contacts
  5. Back on your phone, tap Import from the contacts menu and import the edited .vcf file

FAQs About Read Only Contacts

Why are my contacts suddenly read only?

This usually happens when you first sync a new account like Facebook or Gmail to your contacts. The synced contacts will be read only until you modify them.

Can I edit read only contacts on my SIM card?

Unfortunately read only contacts stored on your SIM can’t be modified. You’ll need to delete them from the SIM and re-add as regular contacts.

What’s the best app for editing read only contacts?

Contacts Editor and Read Only Contacts are two highly rated apps for modifying read only contacts. Both offer free versions with ads or paid ad-free versions.


While read only contacts can be annoying, they’re easy to modify once you know the tricks. Simply disable contact syncing, use a contacts editing app, or export and re-import your contacts to take back control.

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