Why can't I create/edit/view contact groups on my device?

DAVdroid synchronizes contact group information between the CardDAV server and your Android device. There are two different methods to synchronize contact groups:

  1. contacts are separate VCards (like in VCard4 and Apple "VCard4-as-VCard3")
  2. contacts are per-contact CATEGORIES

It's important to choose the correct method (the one which is used by your server) when adding the DAVdroid account (see Tested services; or you have to find out the method from the server manual or by trial). You can change the method later in the account settings, but already downloaded contacts may stay incorrect.

DAVdroid group support

 on CardDAV serveron Android
 create grouprename groupdelete groupassign contacts to groupremove contacts from groupcreate grouprename groupdelete groupassign contacts to groupremove contacts from groupmove contacts to another group
CATEGORIES✓¹✗²
VCard4 groups✓³✓³✓³✓³

¹ implies downloading of all contacts in this group (by definition)
² not supported by Android (deleting the group deletes the GroupMembership data rows without marking the affected contacts as dirty) – "group" won't be deleted on the server until you upload the affected contacts manually
³ uploads affected contacts again because they're flagged as dirty although only their group membership has changed

Contacts app group support

Whether you're able to create, edit or delete groups in your contacts manager depends on your Contacts app. The default Contacts app and its capabilities vary with firmware and device. Most devices / Contacts apps are capable to show downloaded contact groups, but there are problems with:

  • creating groups – on most devices, because this is disabled on vanilla Android (see below)
  • editing groups – on many devices; often doesn't set dirty flags, thus causing changed groups not to be uploaded

To get most out of your device, we recommend to:

  1. manage groups on your server / Web GUI, if possible
  2. use Google Contacts (which at least shows contact groups as "labels") if your default contacts app doesn't handle groups
  3. use an alternative firmware like LineageOS, if you need features which are not available in your original firmware

Our patch

We have created an AOSP bug report plus patch which allows creating groups for DAVdroid accounts. Unfortunately, our patch hasn't even been looked at since Aug 6, 2014.

LineageOS and OmniROM have integrated the patch to support groups in combination with external sync adapters like DAVdroid. With LineageOS 14.1, all group operations work well.

Last updated: 14 Dec 2017