Cannot delete phone's contacts when Whatsapp contact sync is on


New member
Oct 10, 2018
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So I noticed a problem with contacts and Whatsapp:
If I delete a contact, it still stays in the contacts list, because Whatsapp "holds on to it" or makes a link or something.

Here is my setup

All my contacts are in free version of outlook (hotmail), called "people" these days.
My phone's (Xperia XZ1) contacts app, syncs contacts with outlook just fine (using "Exchange ActiveSync" account in Android's settings).
Whatsapp syncs my contacts (enabled in its settings) and shows the contacts who are using Whatsapp.

All is well, until.......this happens:
  1. I delete a few contacts from outlook's people
  2. I still see them in my phone's contact.
  3. I wonder why.
  4. I research online
  5. I notice that the deleted contacts which still show up on the phone show that they are linked to Whatsapp
  6. If I change the phone's contact's app settings and remove Whatsapp I am able to see updated contact list (which deleted contacts gone).
  7. However, Whatsapp now shows only phone numbers instead of contact names....because I have set Whatsapp not to sync my contacts.

Now, I could enable Whatsapp sync again using the option in Whatsapp - "Allow WhatsApp access to your contacts", but I am afraid I will not be able to delete/manage my contacts using outlook.


Q&A Team
May 4, 2011
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Open an entry in your contact list. It should show you which account is the source of that particular contact. Find the WhatsApp contact you'd like to delete in your contacts list, then verify that it's synced from your WhatsApp account, then finally delete it. This should have no impact on your synced Outlook/Exchange contacts.