Folks, I can't believe it myself, but this day has finally come - Google seems to have finally sorted out all its backend and frontend issues with Google contact sync. Jelly Bean's 720x720 hi-res contact support was surely a nice addition, but ended up almost completely useless in our earlier tests: Jelly Bean Bumps Contact Photos To Hi-Res 720x720 But Google Sync Continues To Clobber It With Low-Res Mush.

As of today, all the problems I ran into before are resolved. Removing and re-adding an account on my Nexus 7 now syncs the contact photos in full resolution, whereas before they would either disappear altogether or end up washed out. Like so:

Screenshot_2012-07-02-13-13-37 Screenshot_2012-07-02-13-13-54

Moreover, and much more importantly, Gmail on the web now has a brand new UI that finally supports setting hi-res contacts straight from the browser. I can't even begin to describe how long overdue this is, so for the past 35 minutes I've been doing victory dances around the desk instead of writing the post.

Check this out.

Here's what the old terrible 96x96px-forcing web UI for setting contact photos looked like:

image image

And here's the new web sync UI - we have drag-and-drop and hi-res support:

image image

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to view the hi-res photo in its original full size on the web, but it's not that big of a deal:


And here is what the contacts look like on the Nexus 7. One of them was added on the device and the other through the web, after which the Nexus 7 Gmail account was removed, re-added, and re-synced:

Screenshot_2012-10-10-12-33-15 Screenshot_2012-10-10-12-32-58

Thanks, Google! And now, in the words of Alfredo Hernández, it's time to:


Thanks for the tip, +Sam Tate!

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • kindrudekid

    This. Is. Awesome.

  • http://twitter.com/whatisajimmy ok


  • BaconEater

    Wow. FINALLY.

  • Glenn

    I heard they actually updated this about 2 days ago, but Artem was too busy dancing with the bubbly in his hands to push out the article and let everyone know. Any truth to this rumour?

    Definitely going to have to get around to updating my contact photos now!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Send it to the WSJ!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ApplCobbler Ricky Wainwright

    Now stop beefing with Facebook and let me sync my friend's facebook photos doggonit

    • Tommy Thompson

      Use Hax sync. Works great.

      • Sean Stone


      • alexcue

        Agreed. Well worth the buck. Also if you are on Jelly Bean, make sure to install the dev's workaround app/patch as well.

        • phanmo

          You can also backup with Titanium, uninstall, and restore through Titanium.

      • http://twitter.com/xyrer Gustavo Parrado 

        hax sync lets me choose which contact is which friend on facebook? or do I have to have them with the same exact name?

        • Alex

          Hax Sync there is an option to sync match, all, etc... I would sync all then merge, after that choose to display contacts with phone # only. What I like about hax sync fb is when someone updates their profile pic, your contact pic automatically gets updated. Also displays most recent status update when they call...still though I don't think it's perfect, but works...

        • Tommy Thompson

          Either way.

      • Royal2000H

        I just got Hax sync on your recommendation.
        Problem is some of the pictures are really low quality. It looks more like really low quality JPEG compression than just pixelation. (Lots of artifacts in coloring).
        This is only some of the few contacts that I checked.

        Also why do some people have the updates that I can swipe to the right to see and others don't?

        And finally - the "sync with me" option is deselected (by default) and it still "synced with me"?

        • http://twitter.com/kuyanyan Yanyan | RR

          By any chance are you using an HTC device? Same problem here. Blame HTC Sense. https://redmine.limun.org/projects/haxsync/wiki/FAQ

          • Royal2000H

            Nope Galaxy Nexus... my friends must have restricted privacy settings, based on the FAQ.

        • Tommy Thompson

          There are settings for the sync... check them. None of my pictures have artifacts

      • Ahmad

        But in Ice cream stop to be Hi resolution. :(

        • Tommy Thompson

          What? I was on ICS when I first got Haxsync and the pics were HD...

    • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

      I thought thought that in ICS Google had changed the way they sync and Facebook did not update their app to work with Google's changes, e.g. that it was a case of Facebook's developers being lazy on the Android side, which is something already confirmed by the recent Facebook Android app update hoopla. I would imagine that when the new Android app Facebook has been promising launches, it will include proper sync again.

      • Tommy Thompson

        Exactly the case. Facebook didn't want to follow Googles guidelines so Google said, BAI!

      • selonmoi

        Yup, that's the gist of it, but it was Gingerbread, not ICS. Up to that point, there had been special support for Facebook to give the appearance of integrated contacts, while the data all still lived with the Facebook app. Google pulled that almost two years ago, and Facebook still hasn't adopted the proper APIs, presumably because they do not want to put "their" data into our integrated contacts database.

        I wouldn't hold your breath. Get Hax Sync. It's great.

  • Ron

    Now I have plans for tonight lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/liahos Sohail Ali

    writer seems very happy about this..

  • Ray

    I love the picture at the bottom. I LOL'd anyway!

  • Klugschwaetzer

    WOW. Grand.

    Is it working with Picasa as well? I mean setting photos from Picasa?

  • http://www.facebook.com/wrg25 Will Gonzalez


  • Klugschwaetzer

    No it is NOT working through Picasa. If I tell Picasa to make a face the contact image it still is the tiny image. So I guess an update for Picasa is on the way ... i hope.

  • Klugschwaetzer

    Ups. So there IS a Picasa update and it increases the resolution of updated images. But not to the maximum resolution of 720 it seems. Strange. Anybody else seeing this?

  • Jimmy Mares

    Unless I'm missing something you don't seem to be able to use a URL to select a pic anymore...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, looks like they took it out.

      • cabbott9

        You can still use Google Contacts and add by URL. That should have been included though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/benjamin.pavel Benjamin Pavel

      Can't you just drag the picture from another tab to the other where you can drop it into that zone ?

    • TweetrGuy

      Copy URL of picture. When the open file dialog pops up, paste url.

  • http://twitter.com/ChibiChan89 Chibi Chan

    Using CallApp to automatically get photos from Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn :) Not using the integrated Contacts at all.

  • Josh


  • IncCo


  • JordanMcRae

    Jelly Bean only?

    • Allen Cross

      Jelly Bean only?.

      Yes, only Android devices running Jelly Bean will pull images from Google Contacts in full-res and then display them without compression.

      • http://twitter.com/xyrer Gustavo Parrado 

        now, THAT explains a LOT. no question why mine didn't work, which is stupid anyway, but well...

  • http://resaberz.blogspot.com/ Rebornyama

    Oh snap too bad there's no longer the option to use pictures from URL. =O

    • cabbott9

      Right? What the hell is that?

    • tehzor

      On windows you can insert the URL in the "open file" dialog, it will download and use that image

  • JordanMcRae

    Why am I still seeing the old web interface still?

    • Allen Cross

      See my response, nearby.: http://goo.gl/mwDXf

      Looks like Google haven't fully integrated the new image-upload UI, so it's not available via (for example) google.com/contacts. For now, we have to use the Contacts view in GMail.

    • MistiXF

      Seems like they also haven't update the UI when you're using Google Apps for Business account rather than normal Gmail...

      • Michael

        Both standalone Contact manager and Google Apps will be getting the new UI shortly.

        • MistiXF

          5 days later - still no update to the GApps. I guess we have to wait some more but it's worth it.

  • Matthew Fry

    Obligatory comment about text reflow and zoom in Gmail, the most used and yet most underdeveloped of the Google apps.

  • Andrew

    I don't think I had to delete and re-add my account. When I clicked into a contact entry that had a higher resolution photo available, after about half a second, it seemed to download the hi-res version and stored that one.

    • Manny

      Same here... and im not even on jelly bean... :)

    • Allen Cross

      I don't think I had to delete and re-add my account.

      Correct -- no need for account refresh or anything fancy.

      Just use the improved image-upload routine -- which for now, is available only via the Contacts view in GMail -- and you'll see the revised images next time you view those contacts on any Android device running Jelly Bean.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I only did that to test if it syncs right because this was broken badly before.

  • Alex Murphy


  • Bala

    Im using hd contacts for more than a months, so it should have been fixed much earlier

  • IncCo

    Now they only need to figure out a way to compress these HD images correctly so that they don't look like shit in my contacts list.. *sighs*.

  • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    I never thought that day would come! Thanks Google :D

  • Wolf M

    I did the same victory dance!!!

  • xnifex

    Is this jelly bean only?

  • http://twitter.com/xyrer Gustavo Parrado 

    removed my google account from the phone, it told me to give a backup account so I re-entered my account, waited for it to sync contacts, went into gmail, contacts, put a hi res photo to a contact and BAM! the contact on my phone gets updated with a minuscule version of the photo I put there, so FAIL

  • Larizard

    I'm still getting the old interface at google.com/contacts :( I guess this is a slow rollout?

    • Allen Cross

      Don't use the generic Google Contacts page. Not sure why, but that's not yet linked to the new image-upload routine.

      Instead, use the Contacts view in GMail.:



      • Larizard

        awesome, thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/verma.girish Girish Verma

    still seeing the old interface..what gives?

  • http://twitter.com/acmilan77051 utsav roy

    man that was hilarious article..and really we all were eagerly waiting for this day to come :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/verma.girish Girish Verma

    Not seeing the new interface..still the old interface

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Try using the Gmail UI for contacts, not google.com/contacts. Alternatively, try logging out and back in.

  • MrWicket

    YES!!!!! ^__^

  • Ckavvouras

    About fuckin tim

  • http://twitter.com/jordanlong20 Jordan Long

    If you log out of google, then log back in, it should show the new contacts UI.

    at least, it did for me.

    • Allen Cross

      Don't even need to do that. The revised images will show up at the next contacts-sync. (Same on my GB phone, tho' of course they are recompressed by any pre-JB OS.)

      Bonus: I spent the last 20 minutes with my Nexus 7, clicking on contacts one-by-one and watching their images reconstitute with my new, high-res versions. Good times. :-)

      • http://twitter.com/jordanlong20 Jordan Long

        you are correct for having the higher res contact images show up.

        However, I am referring to the updated web UI for changing/choosing the photos yourself (pics of before/after are posted above).

  • nsnsmj

    I hope no one actually thinks you have to remove your account and re-add it. You don't. All I had to do was re-upload/re-add the contact pictures, and then sync the contacts. Simple as that.

  • http://geniousatplay.blogspot.com/ Bikram Agarwal

    And I'm done.
    Thanks for breaking this news. No more keeping contact sync unchecked in settings. :)

  • Kevin Chen

    it worked!

  • http://twitter.com/CarlosFrancoZ Carlos Franco Z.


  • http://twitter.com/namd88 Nam Dang

    Not working for me. My contact page is still the old one

  • Sam Lee

    It's like getting a Christmas present in advance. (:

  • Rob


  • http://twitter.com/psych2L Joseph Lee

    And there was much rejoicing to be had throughout the land of Droid!

  • Andrew

    I still have the old version of the web UI...

    • Andrew

      Never mind, used the workaround posted below and now I see it.

  • kfayz

    Do i have to remove my google account and re add it??

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      No, that was done just for testing, since it created problems before.

  • Kaustubh Ghanekar

    Yay! Awesome! Got task tonight! :)

  • musashiken

    It works! Sorta. For best results, use 720x720 pictures of faces and do not crop them in gmail contacts.

    I tried cropping a face from a group photo of 2560x1600 but it turned out pixelated after syncing to my phone.

    In the end using a 720x720 photo right from the start worked like a charm.

  • fewesttwo

    Hmm I guess it is time to update some of the contact photos I took 7 years ago with my Nokia 3650 and I've just moved the same vcf between phones. Some of my contacts have just been the same since then. My friends will the thrilled I am away to line them all up mugshot style and start snapping

  • Klugschwaetzer

    @archon810:disqus Have you tried Picasa? I compared Picasa to the web UI. It has become considerably better, but there is definitely a difference in resolution between both methods with Picasa having the lower resolution and considerably more jpg artefacts.

    I have hundreds of contacts with images in Picasa so it would be a shame if there really was that a problem with Picasa.

  • Roshan

    just change my friend pix in 720p..but when they call they pix quality sucks...?

  • NS


  • beuh_dave

    I posted this yesterday http://i.qkme.me/3rabca.jpg, just in time... :)

  • http://twitter.com/maxtarkhov Max Tarkhov

    Let me get it right, so it fixes issues with Facebook/VK sync, it saves hq photos now from Profile Pictures?

  • Picker

    Does it works only on jelly bean or I can update my photos on android 4.0 too?

  • http://www.facebook.com/alainalemany Alain Alemany Arana

    Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but last night I updated every contact photo I have and then the phone took it, BUT I see the hi res photo only after a little while when I touch a contact and expands it, then I have to wait a little in order the photo takes a better view. So, my point of view is... do I have to be online all the time? I mean it just not fetch every photo directly in hi res?

  • gumbald


  • rajitsingh

    This has been this way for more than a month now. I flash a lot of ROMs on my One X and started noticing more than a month ago that the contacts for whom I had set high-res pics on my phone, were getting synced as is, with their high res pics, when adding my google account on a fresh ROM. Made me super happy.

  • patapongirl

    I actually LOL at the end of the article.

    Anyway, FINALLY!

  • Dario Todaro

    On gmail is the new UI, but on https://www.google.com/contacts/#contacts is still the old one....

  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    May be it's my bad luck, but I could not get hi-res photo to sync. I have the new gmail UI, and my Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus are both on 4.1.2 now. I used the new gmail UI to set a high res photo (at 720 x 720, no crop), waited for my GNex an Nex7 to sync. Moments later, the new photo showed up, in low res.

    • Jeff

      I'm having the same issue. Maybe because I'm using a Google Apps account instead of Gmail?

      • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

        Aha. I use a Google Apps account, too. I think that's why!

    • MADMap

      For me as well... are you a Google-Apps User too?

    • http://www.facebook.com/ufizo Arpit Singh

      Google apps account :'( ...

  • grellanl

    Don't want to spoil the party, but this doesn't seem to consistently work yet. I updated my starred contacts with high-res pics in the new fancy GMail interface (which is really nice), but then when they sync'ed back to my devices (A GNex, a Nexus 7 and a Nexus S, all running 4.1.1) the pictures are in blur-o-vision again.

    I had previously set high-res pictures locally on each device and they looked great - they've definitely been overwritten by the new ones.

    • michaelh

      Doesn't work for me either.
      I'm using a Google Apps account.May that be the reason?

      • grellanl

        Yep, gapps account here too, that must be it. Weird that it has the new web interface but hasn't got the upgraded picture sizes yet.

  • GazaIan

    YES !!!!! Motherfucking YES!!!!

  • KRS_Won

    Too bad the only JB device I own only has a 1.3mp camera and doesn't receive phone calls... but still awesome .

  • Roy

    Well, this is nor entirely correct.

    I’m using official Jelly Bean on samsung galaxy s3 and I’ve tried to resync my contacts with hd images.

    The contacts had a high resolution photo, but the quality wasn’t as good as the original photo.

  • aj

    did you check if the top side of the image is still cropped while displaying on the contact app, the full image is seen while receiving/dialing a call but not when opening the contact info. the blue tab eats into the top of the picture.

  • nerys

    SO how do I make this work folks? I can put high res on the phone without sync (S3 and Note II) but if I upload high res via the website crude low res is synced to the phone ???

  • Raver

    Does this work for older versions of Android or only 4+ ?

  • Michał Droździewicz

    Hi Guys,

    I know it's an old post but right now I try to update some of my contact photos from Gmail contact interface. For some contacts uploading hi res photo works, but for some it's still the same old 96x96 photo. Is there something that I should do in order to fix this?

  • Arnold

    this is still an issue

  • Tapas

    It's 12th november 2014. I know the post is bit older, but the synchronization of high res image is not possible in my xperia device having jellybean 4.3. Is there any ther way to do the same?