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If you’re running stock Android, you know the frustration of not having contact photos for most of your contacts. Although many hardware manufacturers’ versions of Android have the option built-in to sync your friends’ Facebook profile photos with their contact photos, stock Android is somehow still missing this feature.

Let’s remedy that. Here are three awesome apps that will keep all your contact photos synced with Facebook so you never have to see that little placeholder head again.

The Problem

Before-Sync-1

This placeholder head is just ugly.

When scrolling through your contacts, text messages, or receiving a call, no one wants to see this. But this isn’t 2006, and we don’t need to snap a photo of each and every one of our contacts to have a contact photo for them. We have Facebook. We have technology. We can fix this.

Hang in there and you’ll see the finished product at the end.

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HaxSync

You could download an entirely new contacts app to replace your current one What Is the Best Contacts & Dialer App for Android? What Is the Best Contacts & Dialer App for Android? You don't have to settle for your phone's built-in contacts and dialer apps. Read More , but what if you’re happy with your contacts app and just want the photos to be added? Enter HaxSync.

HaxSync-7

HaxSync works by creating a HaxSync account for each of your contacts and connecting that to the phone contact. The photo from the HaxSync account overrides the placeholder head from the contact. However, if you already have a custom photo for that person, it will override the HaxSync photo. This means that if you uninstall HaxSync, your photos disappear.

HaxSync-8

You can sync Facebook photos, birthdays, and events through HaxSync as well as set up how often it syncs, choose if it uses WiFi or has to be charging, and even set the degree to which it matches names (only exact matches or loose matches).

HaxSync-9

There’s a manual sync option, which is useful for people whose names might be different on Facebook and your phone, like mom or dad or friends with nicknames.

Annoyingly, if you’re running Android 4.1 or higher, you’ll have to install this workaround. Everything works fine after it’s installed, though, and HaxSync gets the job done.

Sync.ME

With the nicest user interface of any of these apps, Sync.ME is really made to be simple and easy to understand. And it succeeds.

Unlike the other options on this list, which work by connecting their own account to your phone contact or Google contact, Sync.ME actually replaces or adds a photo to the contact without connecting it to anything. This means that even if you uninstall Sync.ME, your contacts will still have their last synced photos.

It also means that if all your contacts are saved as Google Contacts and backed up (since you should be backing up everything Here's A Free, Multi-Layered Plan To Back Up A Non-Rooted Android Here's A Free, Multi-Layered Plan To Back Up A Non-Rooted Android Even with a non-rooted Android device, you can have a solid backup plan – and it doesn't have to cost you a dime! Read More ), you’ll be able to access the photos from your Gmail Contacts or have the photos if you switch Android devices.

SyncME-5

Sync.ME has birthday syncing as well, but its standout feature is the “In-Call Experience”, which allows you to scan through a person’s Facebook timeline while you’re on a call with them.

Sync.ME is also available for iOS.

UberSync

UberSync, though not the prettiest app, is simple and minimal. You choose two options upon startup: when to sync high-res photos, and if you want to sync all your Facebook friends or just your existing contacts. There are no levels of matching as there are with HaxSync, and no manual matching, which means that your only option for manual syncing is to input a user’s Facebook ID into the notes section of their contact.

That’s far too annoying to even consider. That would take so much time for the average user: tracking down people’s IDs and entering them into the contacts. UberSync is definitely for those who want to set it up and leave it alone — no manual tinkering.

UberSync-5

It’s ad-supported, but the ads can be disabled without paying anything. It has some useful options like choosing the frequency of syncing, if it can only sync on WiFi, and the size of synced pictures — but it’s noticeably lacking several others like birthday and event reminders.

UberSync-6

Still, for someone just looking to set it up and let it do its thing, UberSync is a solid option.

The Result

You saw the placeholders at the beginning of the article, so how does the contacts app and receiving call screen look after syncing your photos with one of these apps? Like this.

After-Sync-1

Now, when texting, scrolling through your contacts, or receiving a call, you’ve got nice high-resolution photos of your friends and family. All of the apps delivered on this, even if they got there in different ways.

My favorite was Sync.ME, which easily has the nicest interface, the most features, and the ability to actually replace contact photos rather than just linking accounts.

This is one of those rare instances where hardware manufacturer skins like Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense have stock Android beat, but thankfully we have these third-party apps to help level the playing field.

Inspired to improve your Facebook profile photo now that you know how many of your friends might be seeing it on a daily basis? Check out these three ways to customize your profile photo 3+ Ways to Customise Your Facebook Profile Picture 3+ Ways to Customise Your Facebook Profile Picture Read More , and before you get started, don’t forget to ask yourself: Should I upload a new profile photo? Flowchart: Should You Upload A New Facebook Profile Photo? Flowchart: Should You Upload A New Facebook Profile Photo? In the spur of the moment, you can't think straight. You're staring at the ridiculously funny photo you've just taken with your phone at a party. It's hilarious. A friend suggests uploading it to Facebook... Read More

Any other methods you have for syncing your Facebook photos with your contacts? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Scott Bae
    December 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    have you read the new app description for Sync Me or used the app?! It doesn't sync with LinkedIn anymore. only facebook, google plus and some foreign one that i never heard of.

  2. Spike
    May 5, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I agree with Carl S. I don't want to sync photos, I just want to turn this feature off so I don't have to scroll through 20 times as many screens to find my contact. How do I reclaim the huge amount of screen real estate that has been stolen by a thousand default images? Seems to me that with every update to Android, I am given less control and fewer options. Did someone at Google forget the part where the OS is supposed to let you to customise the details that are present, or not present, in your view? Particularly on a phone, where screen real estate is always going to be scarce.

  3. marsia
    May 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Have you read the recent reviews on sync me? All of them have major problems, even long time users since the recent update. This isn't the first time. I used to rely on Drippler, now I have to do my own research to confirm your recommendations.

  4. carlo
    April 22, 2015 at 7:28 am

    sync.me stopped updating the photos as well

  5. Dan
    February 14, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    I have no idea what I was trying to say there. It still syncs event but won't do pictures.

  6. Dan
    February 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks for the article.
    I've been using haxsync but lately it hasn't been updating certain people's pictures. Anyone else having this issue and found a fix?

    • BionicRasher
      February 10, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Yes I have found Haxsync has stopped working for me too on stock 5.01 Nexus 4.
      Hence I am looking for an alternative that will allow my contact photos to sync to my Gmail also as its all fine and well having the photo on my phone but I want it on my PC too when I go to look at a contact.
      Has anyone any tips for getting photos to sync to Gmail?

    • Dan
      February 10, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      Haxsync seems to still sync events I see just wont update pictures. I'm also looking for an alternative.

  7. João Faria
    January 23, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    don't you have security concerns about sync.me? when it comes to the caller id feature. I installed it and when i had a unkwown number calling me sometimes it would automatically give me the name of the person calling. got a little freaked about what usage they'll give to my number

  8. T_rell
    December 12, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Question: does it sync all the random Facebook contacts, (not really the people) you want to show up in phones Local contact list)? We all have those people right?

  9. hari prasad
    November 6, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Hi, problem I'm facing is, I'm not getting full screen picture of the contact I'm calling to. It's the same how it was before installing syncMe. Though the contact pic is in sync with fb, I need guidance on how to get full screen pic of that contact when I dial. My os is android 4.2.2 Anticipating your help.

  10. carls
    July 10, 2014 at 7:25 am

    I think my "get O.L.D." might have been interpreted as not up to date. What I meant, and why I'm not fond of contact pics, is because they get tiresome. Even when they are new and refreshed, the same picture doesn't work for the different contexts in which one writes (to my accountant, to my parents , to my ... well, you get it). Worse, they can be simply inappropriate (big smile on condolences). Nah, I'd like to get rid of them, but I sure don't need a big initial letter! That just takes up screen real estate.

    BTW, contact++ is kinda childish - since that was suggested here. I tried it and didn't much like the helpful comments and restrictions. May have to take another look - these things change (unlike contact photos ),.

  11. Marco
    July 3, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Also Contacts+ is worth trying.

    • Justin D
      July 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      thanks for the suggestion! :)

  12. Ben S
    July 1, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    This is always a concern of mine - I want to have up-to-date contact pictures no matter what. I've been using UberSync for a while, and it does a good job, but I hate trying to sync contacts for which I have nicknames. I've used Sync.Me in the past, but I'm going to give it another try since you said it was your favorite.

    Maybe it's changed since I last tried it.

    • Justin D
      July 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      yeah, I used to use HaxSync, but after discovering Sync.ME, I haven't looked back. :)

  13. carls
    July 1, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    The real issue for me is how to eliminate the photos. Nor do I need a huge initial capital letter. The app "contact picture remover" works for a while, but they keep coming back. They're like the old tag lines or avatars - neat at first and soon v.e.r.y old.

    • Justin D
      July 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      removing them? once they're deleted, they shouldn't just come back. Something would have to put them back, like an app syncing in the background.

      Anyway, while Sync.ME changes their actual profile photo so that it stays even if you uninstall Sync.ME, HaxSync does not. If you uninstall HaxSync, the HaxSync profile that the photos were associated with goes away and the pictures are removed.

      but your contact photos shouldn't get old if you let one of these apps run every few days to keep the photos up-to-date. :) once setup, there isn't really a need to delete photos or anything like that.

  14. Georgi
    July 1, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I use Haxsynch and it is very usefull. What about LinkedIn profile photos?

    • Justin D
      July 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      I'm not sure about LinkedIn photos, but thanks for the suggestion; I'll look into it!

  15. Maarten D
    July 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I always use sync.me. It's very handy, and the birthday reminders come in handy as well.

    • Justin D
      July 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      yeah I'm definitely a fan of Sync.ME as well. :)

  16. Charlene F
    July 1, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks for this! I was creepily downloading my friends facebook photos until now. :P

    • Justin D
      July 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      no problem! glad to help :)

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