Stop Adding ‘2’ after your Contact Names


My Contacts app was a scam, my secret vice. You could see names like Ken247, Unknown Caller, TMS, B**4. Names that don’t sound like they can help my life. I could find myself wondering who, when, where, how did ‘Ovie Abj Office’ get into my damn contacts.


My contacts list have become the epitome of proper organization.

screenshot screenshot
Just check this out!

How did I achieve all this?

I think that the real reason why some people add 2 and 3 to the end of a contact name is the misconception that Contacts primarily store phone numbers. On the contrary, the Contacts app stores much more than phone numbers. In its data structure, phone numbers are just one kind of data you can have of a person. And you can also save multiple phone numbers for one contact.

Here are a few things you could change about your contacts when you are bored. It can indeed turn out to be a fun process: going through all your contacts, organizing them, trying to remember some people’s actual last names; I even dialed some important people mistakenly while organizing mine.

Also, some things might not go the way you expect while you are still getting the hang of it, so better export your contacts to a vCard (that means a .vcf file) first. Then do the following!

1. Remove 2 (or II) from the end of people’s names by merging all those separate contacts into one.

This is unless it is the person’s actual name suffix, like Bill Gates in my own contacts list. Otherwise, even if two people in your life have the same names, you should still store them without adding 2 or II. Add a photo or a nickname, so you can distinguish them at a glance. For each number listed under a contact, if you need to identify that this is an MTN line or a Glo line, add custom labels to each phone number.

2. Star contacts that you want to be able to find easily, or that are your favorites.

Who else has names like AA Mummy on their contacts so that it can be on top of the contact list? I actually learned that practice from my mum. But, hey, we learn every day. Lol. What are favorites for?

3. Add as much info of each person as you can remember.

The contacts data organization is very expansive. It is able to contain data like emails, workplace, photo, birthdays, relations, nicknames, websites, even a little note about the contact. It can also store custom info: eg if you want to save a tomato-freshness rating for each of your contacts, you could also do that. You could use something like an enum: Friend, Frenemy, Enemy. But I will leave you to discover that on your own.

There is a caveat here when adding names. You might want to add a person’s full names, but also like them appear on the contact list with their nicknames or something snuggly. I believe that is the function of a field named ‘File as’ that you see when editing contacts. But, guess what, it does not work on my phone! Maybe the Android framework developers did not consider it a priority.

4. YOU should not be found in your contacts.

Some call it Me, Some call it Own number, and some call it Self. You should not do that. Instead, create a user profile for yourself. Profiles are just like contact listing, but they are not available to other apps under the same permissions as other contacts. Use your real name for your profile. Add nicknames, websites, etc. This could be helpful in the rare case that you get retrograde amnesia and have difficulty finding out your true self. Also add a picture of you and some deep things about you, so that your amnesia self can see that hmm, stuff does correspond.

5. Save contacts to a cloud, not on the device.

Prefer a Google, Samsung, etc account, to save your contacts to, over saving to the device, so you can easily sync contacts across devices and not lose them if something happens to your device. (“I lost my contacts. Pls chat with me. yen yen yen.”)

6. You can save a contact without including any phone number.

I don’t know why anyone would want to do that, but you can.

7. You are saving someone’s contact and he says, “Just put Bobby”

Tell the person sternly, “Alaye, respect yourself in my phone! If you no give me your full name, then comot here.” That’s how rubbish starts. If everything goes well though, you can put Bobby as his nickname.

Final Thoughts

As I said, these are just a few things you could do to get started organizing your contacts. The process might be different for different devices. There’s a lot that you will discover about contacts. Like how contacts are linked with Gmail and WhatsApp, how to share your profile with your contacts.

For further action:

  • Use the Google contacts app to organize your contacts. It provides suggestions on how to further tidy up for example by merging duplicate contacts.
  • If you are a mobile developer and want to learn more about how contacts work on Android, see this guide that I found very useful.