How to sort contacts (by first or last name) on stock Android Marshmallow and Lollipop phones

How to sort contacts (by first or last name) on stock Android Marshmallow and Lollipop phones
Please note: this is a tutorial for inexperienced users.

By default, Android smartphones provide contacts lists (or address books, if you want to call them like that) which sort contacts alphabetically by first name. But what if you like your contacts to be sorted by last name? Well, Google lets you easily change the way contacts are sorted. This can be done either from your phone app, or from your contacts app. Mind you, we're going to deal only with stock Android Lollipop (5.x) and Marshmallow (6.0) here, since non-stock Android handsets almost always have their own ways of dealing with contacts and address books.

To sort your contacts by last name, you first need to open your phone or contacts app. Then, you'll see a menu button (in the form or three vertical dots) in the upper right corner of the screen. Taping on that opens up a Menu from which you'll need to select the "Settings" tab. If you're in the contacts app, the Settings sub-menu lets you directly choose the way your contacts are sorted (by last name, or first name). If you're in the phone app, you have one extra step to follow: from the Settings sub-menu, you need to tap on the "General" tab, and only then you can change the way contacts are sorted. You also have the option to choose the name format of your contacts: first name first, or last name first.

The screenshots below were taken on a device running stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. While the Marshmallow phone and contacts apps do come with a few tweaks, not much is changed compared to the Lollipop versions, so sorting contacts by first or last name is done in exactly the same manner.


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5 Comments

1. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Noice. The essential PA tip of the day.

2. mildorzalost

Posts: 143; Member since: Jun 03, 2014

Really? Phonearena... Really? Anyone with a little brains can figure this out... Even more we're talking of people who visit tech sites... god!

4. samystic

Posts: 242; Member since: Mar 25, 2012

@mildorzalost - those 3 dots? they are not very descriptive to a new smartphone user. and there are other things as well. there are still plenty of people who don't know about technology. you started from scratch, right? or were you born with a smartphone in your hands? so please crawl back to your cave and shut up! or learn to appreciate others efforts @PA - and Android KitKat, phone contacts are backed up in a single VCF file. How to back up contacts with individual vcfs? like symbian belle

5. baldilocks

Posts: 1480; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

Some people have nothing better to do than complain.

6. pysifr

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 20, 2016

Well, mildorzalost, I am totally new to the smart phone era (aged 67) and I have several higher degrees, AND my galaxy phone is set to "order by surname" - it makes not one little bit of difference - the list is still sorted by first name!!! Sort that out!

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