What to Do When Messages Start Showing Phone Numbers

What to Do When Messages Start Showing Phone Numbers Instead of Contact Names

You may be experiencing a problem on your iPhone when whenever you receive a message, the messaging app displays it as appearing on the phone number instead of the saved contact name. This can be very annoying, as you do not see who tried to send you a message, even if their number was stored on your phone.

Fortunately, this is a common problem and can be easily remedied! We will show you what to do below.

Why Does Your Contact Name Disappear?

If you first see the messaging app showing the phone number instead of the contact’s name, you might think that someone sent you a message at random. This may seem strange if you have a pin dial at the top of your message screen for easy access and it shows the phone number.

However, this is usually a temporary problem and should be fixed by itself. If this is not the case, there are a few quick fixes that should get things back to normal.

Add or Remove Country Code

In some cases, the problem may be caused by Messages that do not include phone numbers other than country code and items included in your contact list. For example, the UK international dialing code says +44. If Messages think +447981234532 is different from 07981234532, it will show a conversation under the phone number.

The solution to this is simple. Just add country code to phone numbers that reflect this behavior:

Open Contacts on your iPhone, and select the wrong person from Messages.

Tap Edit.

Add country code at the beginning of their phone number, using full format (0044) or short format (+44). Make sure you get the correct country code for their device, which should be from the messaging app.

Click Done.


You will need to do this directly from the Contact app because Messages do not recognize the phone number as a contact (so it will not make a change). If you choose to add a new contact from your phone number, you can add it to an existing contact. However, you will have two saved numbers for that person.

Once you have configured the phone number, you will see that Messages will automatically combine separate conversations into different conversations.

Modify iCloud Contacts

Some people have reported that iCloud contacts are the cause of this issue. If you sync your contacts with your iCloud account, you may need to re-sync, which may fix the issue.

To do this:

Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

Tap [Your Name]> Cloud.

In the list, close Contacts.

You will be asked what to do with the previously synced iCloud contacts on your device. Select Delete. Don’t worry, they will still be stored on iCloud.

Wait a few seconds and open Contacts again. When prompted, select Merge. This will include all your phone contacts and contacts.

Now, restart your device, and this should fix the problem.

Replace Phone Number Messages Instead of Contact Names

Hopefully, these two fixes should fix the problem of the messaging app that displays phone numbers instead of your contact names, and you’ll be able to resume your normal savings with your friends and loved ones. If you do not have these tips, you may want to contact Apple support to help you fix them.

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