What to Do When Your iPhone Messages Show Numbers Instead Of Contact Names?


When you finally decided to read your messages and then realised that you are having an issue. Whenever you try to view a message that you’ve received from your phone the app shows the phone numbers rather than the nicknames that you’ve assigned to them.

This can be the case even when the numbers are already saved on the Contacts of your iPhone.

Let’s use an example to illustrate: You might have a BFF called James with the following number: +21 XXX XXXX. You saved James’s number on your contacts list.

Note that the numbers are all correct. However, every time that James sends you a message, you always see her number as +21 XXX XXXX number and not his name even though you already save his number.

Well, the good news is that this problem can easily be fixed. If you are having trouble setting this, then this article is for you.

Table of Contents

Message List is Phone Numbers Instead of Names

This issue is not new to some iOS users. When the iOS 9 update was launched, users were seen reporting that they also experienced this same issue.

You can refer to other articles on the internet regarding the update. If you want to get this problem fixed as soon as possible, below are the tips that you can follow:

iCloud Contacts

The primary cause of the problem might be the way your iCloud Contacts is synchronised with the contacts on your device.

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Here are what you need to do to fix this issue:

  • Switch on your iOS device and navigate to the Settings.
  • Navigate to your Name on your iCloud Account
  • Select iCloud
  • Search for the Contacts and then turn it off.
  • Delete your previously synced iCloud Contacts on the device.
  • Then wait for a few moments and then turn the Contacts back on.
  • Where there is an option to merge, tap on it.

Reboot your Device

Frequently, the problem can easily be fixed by turning off your device and turning it back on again. To do this, follow these steps accordingly:

  1. Head over to the device’s Settings. Then tap on General and scroll down and select Shut Down. Wait for a while before turning it back on again.

Force Quit the Messages Application

  1. Stop the app from running by pressing the Home button twice.
  2. Then swipe up the Messages App to exit the app.
  3. If you’re using the iPhone X or your iOS does not have a home button like the latest flagship, then go to the Home screen.
  4. Then swipe up and search for the Messages app. Swipe it up and open the Messages again and see the outcome.

Turn off MMS Messaging Temporarily

  1. To carry this out head to the device Settings.
  2. Select Messages and then scroll down to the SMS/MMS section.
  3. Tap on Turn Off MMS Messaging.
  4. Wait for a few minutes before turning it back on.

Disable Short Name

  1. For short names to be disabled, you have to head to the Settings.
  2. Select Contacts and then tap on Short Names and turn it off by tapping on the toggle.
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The short names function by allowing you to see your contacts? first names instead of seeing their full names. You can pick the contact’s first or last name depending on your preference. This is commonly turned on by default.

Check the Contact Number

You can try this if more than one contacts messages are showing a phone number instead of name. You can also check every contact’s entries to be sure that they are in the right format. This can be helpful when you’re just trying to use your iOS device.

Make sure to follow the right format by using the + sign before the country code then followed by the area code and finally the number.

Change the numbers in order of the arrangement and see if there are any changes. This can be a problem which is familiar with international contacts.

The iOS device might not be able to recognise the saved international number.

  • Head to Contacts
  • Tap the Name of a Contact
  • Select Edit and then edit the Number field
  • Save the changes by tapping the done button.

In Conclusion

If all of the steps mentioned above does not work for you, you can always visit any authorised Apple Support in your area. You can also visit an Apple Center close to you to have your phone checked.

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