Contact Lookup FAQ

Here is a quick list of the more commonly asked questions regarding Contact Lookup.

IMPORTANT Note Regarding Supported Versions

Contact Lookup Free is considered an end-of-life product and is no longer supported.

With the improvements to v3.5.0 of Contact Lookup Fast to do near real-time index updates we feel that there is no longer any benefit in maintaining Contact Lookup Pro.

Thus, from March 2013, Contact Lookup Pro will only receive bug fixes and is no longer being actively developed. All potential purchasers are encouraged to buy Contact Lookup Fast to ensure they receive full support and ongoing development.

Recent purchasers of Contact Lookup Pro should email for details of upgrading to Contact Lookup Fast and receiving a refund on Contact Lookup Pro.


What are the differences between the Free, Pro and Fast versions?

Updated for v3.5.0 of Contact Lookup Fast and v2.17.1 of Contact Lookup Pro

The Free version includes adverts and doesn’t search all the contacts fields (specifically notes).

The Pro version works the same as the free version, has a few more features and searches all the contact fields.

The Fast version searches all the contact fields but works slightly differently as it indexes the contacts first. Indexing the contacts database significantly increases the performance of the search.

The Pro and Fast versions search these extra fields:

  • SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Addresses, also know as VOIP addresses. (OS 2.3+)
  • Contact Events (Birthdays, Anniversaries, etc)
  • Contact Notes
  • Relations
  • Contact group names
  • Custom fields entered via Gmail (labels and data, OS2.0+)
  • Custom labels in the standard contact fields are searched too!

The Pro and Fast versions also have these extra features:

  • Improved phone number search by default. This allows you to search for numbers regardless of formatting
  • Palm like Initial + Surname search, e.g. use “ol” or “ola” to find Osma Bin Laden
  • Full word search by prefixing the word with a minus sign, e.g. -jo will only find ‘jo’ and not ‘john’ or ‘major’
  • In category searching (Fast only)
  • Sort the results by Surname
  • Quickly show all the contacts in a group
  • Email/SMS contacts in search results
  • Show organisation in the results, rather than search snippet
  • Contact photos show in the app screen
  • Use SQL wildcards for pattern matching (Fast only)
  • Use regular expressions for pattern matching (Pro only)
  • Quick launch by long-press on search key (if available)
  • Automatic search on key press. Search after entering 1, 2, or more characters
  • Support for larger screens without ‘letter boxing’
  • Clear search history option
  • Light and Dark themes
  • Select the groups to include in the index. Now you can exclude all the Google Plus people you are following (Fast only)
  • Add common searches as shortcuts on the home screen. Read more here (Fast only).

Which version is right for me?

If you don’t need to search notes and don’t mind the adverts, then free is probably for you. Try it first in all cases, as the user interface is similar for all the applications.

If you need to search notes and don’t have too many contacts (less than 1000) then Pro is probably OK.

If you have a large number of contacts and need to search them quickly, then Fast is better for you.

Some further considerations for the Pro and Fast versions:

  • The Fast version allows you to create search shortcuts on your desktop so that you can immediately run common searches
  • The Fast index database has some extra memory requirements, around 1MB per thousand contacts.
  • The performance of Fast is significantly better than the Pro version, especially when using multiple search terms. If you need to search quickly using a variety of terms, then you should seriously consider the Fast version.
  • The Fast version can also search the default relationship labels, such as Father (English only for now).
  • The Fast version has ‘in category’ searching where you can restrict the search to specific categories. This comes with a new form based screen for easier entry.
  • Fast can only search within words, it cannot search for a phrase (a contiguous set of words). If you must search for a phrase, e.g. ‘The cat sat on the mat’ then Pro is required. Note that both versions can search for contacts that contain all the words in the phrase, but only Pro can find ones that have that same order. Furthermore, with ‘in category’ searching then this may not be a deal breaker, as you can search a particular category for all the words in the phrase, but it won’t guarantee they are in that order


You can purchase these applications through Google’s market place, either on the phone or through the web.

We have no plans to support other market places, such as Amazon, due to the requirement to support various licensing API’s and the fee’s associated with registration.


Google lets you try applications for a limited time of 15 minutes. We recognise that this is not enough time to really test applications so we are prepared to refund anyone who wants to try both over a few days.

We will refund one of the applications if you find you prefer one more than another, or if neither are suitable then we will refund both. Note that after a refund the licensing checks will disable the refunded application.

Note that the refund option is a feature controlled by Google and may not be available in all cases, especially if you wait more than a week to request a refund.

Try the free version first to make sure that it works on your device.

What is Contact View?

Contact View displays the contact’s details in the standard Google layout. It was written as an alternative to HTC’s People viewer which is woeful at displaying contact details. It works in conjunction with Contact Lookup and defaults to using Contact View when you press the contact’s details. (Note that in Pro and Fast versions you will need to check the settings to ensure that the Contact View option is selected.)


How do I add Contact Lookup to the Quick Search Box?

Contact lookup prompts you to add it as a Search Provider when you install the program. However, if you did not do this, then go to the Home screen and press Menu->Settings->Search->Searchable Items and ensure that
Contact Lookup is selected.

How do I use the Quick Search Box?

This is Google’s default search application. It should come installed on the phone as standard, but with some Bing enabled phones then you may need to download it from the market (OS2.2 link).

To use Quick Search, just press the search button.

If you’ve added Contact Lookup as a Search Provider (see above) then when you use the Quick Search Box it will also search you contacts. Due to the way the Quick Search Box works, it tends to favour Web based searches, so you may not see any contacts when you search. Press the search icon on the left and select Contact Lookup to only search contacts.

With OS 2.2 you can add the Quick Search widget to the home screen and choose which search provider to default to Jan 2012. Google have updated the Quick Search Box and it no longer supports this.


What are the different search modes

Simple search mode will search for each contact field for the exact phrase entered. Note that Fast doesn’t support searching for phrases, only partial or whole words.

OR search mode will search for contacts that contain any of the space separated words anywhere in the contacts fields.

AND search mode will search for contacts that contain ALL of the space separated words in any of the contact fields.

Regular Expression search mode allows you to use standard regular expressions to search for contacts. The regex works within fields, not across them. This is a Pro only mode.

Note that all modes support partial word searching, so can will find cannon, can, pecan etc.

How do I search for whole words?

Prefix the word with a minus sign (‘-‘). This indicates you want to search for whole words. Note that this is not available in the free version.

Registering Contact Lookup with the Search Button

The Pro and Fast versions allow you to register the applications with a long-press of the search button. Short presses are hard coded to the device applications, so we can’t change these.

To register, long-press on the search button and it will prompt you to choose an application to use. At this point you can default the application by enabling the check-box.

If, when you long press, you are presented with a different application, then you will need to de-register that application first. From the Home screen, press Menu->Settings->Applications->Manage applications and choose the application that is currently defaulted. In the section ‘Launch by default’, press the ‘Clear defaults’ button.

How do I edit a contact?

Contact Lookup is purely for search and Contact View allows you to see the contact details more clearly. However, there is no facility in either of these applications to edit contacts. You will need to use your default Contact editor (e.g. HTC People). Pressing (or long-pressing, depending on settings) a contact will take you the default Contact application from where you can edit the contact details.

There is a free application on the Market that allows you to use the standard Android editor in place of the phone manufacturer’s one. If you don’t like HTC’s people, then you can try this one. It’s a perfect companion to the Contact Lookup suite.

Why are some numbers reversed?

The Android contacts database stores telephones numbers in multiple formats, one of which is a reversed format. Android does this to ‘enable quick searching’ for it’s applications. Contact information is stored in a RAW contextless format in a single database table. To make searching quicker, Contact Lookup performs a search of all RAW fields and doesn’t attempt to impose context on any of the fields, so the reversed numbers cannot be easily excluded.


Tips and Tricks


  • Reduce the number of contacts found by searching on full names or numbers.

  • Simple search is slightly quicker than the multi-word OR search which is quicker than multi-word AND search. If the search term is only one word, then simple search is used as the default, so now you have the benefit of choosing a search mode you want, whilst gaining the maximum performance for one-word searches.

  • Reduce the number of search categories. If you have no organisations, then exclude this from the search. You can always add it back again later. For Fast users, use the categories menu for this.

  • Want to see ALL your contacts? Change to regular expression searching and use ‘.*’ (without the quotes). This will show all the contacts on the phone (‘Pro’ only). Fast users can search for ‘%’

  • Turn off photos in the Quick Search Box, this can save around 0.5 seconds when searching (always off for ‘Fast‘). Note that photos in the main application do not significantly impact performance. (‘Pro’ and ‘Fast‘ only).

  • Contact Lookup Fast wildcards. Regular expressions are not supported in the Fast version, but you can achieve some limited wildcarding. All the Contact Search Fast queries use the SQL LIKE operator. You can wildcard this so that a search term of ’01%11′ will find any text with 01 followed by an 11, with any number of non-space characters in-between. Contact Search Fast splits words on space so you can’t search for anything that has a space in it. Alternatively, use the underscore character ‘_’ to specify exactly one character. For example, to match 01/02/2011 you could use ’01______11′ which has 6 underscores. You can use the existing OR search mode to replicate the regex OR command ‘|’. So a regex example “01/\d\d/11|02/\d\d/11|3/\d\d/11|4/\d\d/11″ becomes “01/__/11 02/__/11 03/__/11 04/__/11″ using the OR search mode. It doesn’t have the functionality of regex, but for simple searches it’s better than nothing.

  • Use Palm like Intial + Surname searching. Want to find Tony Blair, then use the Initial T and Surname character B, e.g. “tb”. You can continue adding surname characters to reduce the hits if it’s not immediately found, e.g “tbl” (Pro OS2.0+ and Fast only)

  • The custom contact labels used in all fields are searchable. This means that you can create custom labels and use these in your search terms. Thanks to Joel for pointing this out.

  • If you have Contact View, then short-press/long-press will open the contact in either Contact View or the default Contact Manager View (e.g. People).

  • Index rebuild scheduling. If you use this feature then you will need to install the Application in the device’s main memory and not the SD card/external storage. This is due to a limitation of the Android OS, where any application on the SD card CANNOT be notified of a restart and thus any scheduled alarms will be lost.


Crashes, problems and feature requests

The application crashes, what should I do?

Unfortunately applications can crash and for us to fix it we need to know about it with as much detail as possible. Leaving a negative comment on the Market might make you feel better, but it won’t get the problem fixed. Please email us at Tell us the application version, OS version, make and model of your device. Give us as many details of the problem as you can.

Ideally it is helpful to send a copy of the system log file to us as this contains useful debug and crash information. You can use this free logging tool to capture the log file after a crash and email it directly to us.

To do this:

  • Run Contact Lookup and repeat the actions leading up to a crash
  • Start CatLog (or another logging tool) and save the log file
  • Choose the ‘send’ option, and select ‘as attachment’. Select the recently saved log file and add some details to the email

We will usually contact you within a few days to let you know what the problem cause is and if there are any work-arounds, or when a new version will be released to fix the problem.

I have a great idea for feature x, what should I do?

By all means tell us about it! Whilst we may not implement all ideas, we do enhance the applications with ideas that would benefit the majority of users. Email us at


Why do I see a licensing failed message?

The Pro and Fast versions use Google’s licensing software to ensure that you have paid for the application. When the application starts, it checks an internal cache to see if the application is licensed. The cache is valid for one week and after this time it will need to revalidate the cache by connecting to Google’s servers. It does this via the Android Market application and you will need a network connection to enable this check. Following on from a recent complaint, we’ve relaxed the enforcement of the licence if there is no network connection.

In general, you should not see the license failed message if you have purchased the application, and Google’s servers are responding normally. Note that even if you have bought the application, you can only install it on multiple phones if they are using the same Gmail account for the Market application.

If you do see this message then the applications will work in a ‘reduced’ mode with similar functionality to the free version. When the licence check fails, the following categories are disabled when searching:

  • Groups
  • Nicknames
  • Notes
  • Address
  • IM
  • Organisation

The following options are disabled:

  • Intelligent phone number searching
  • Large fonts
  • Show photos
  • Use contact view
  • Settings menu

If you believe you are seeing this message in error, then please contact us and we’ll work with you to resolve the problem.


8 thoughts on “Contact Lookup FAQ

  1. I can’t find the free version of Contact Lookup on the Android market place – is it still available? Thanks.

  2. I like the app a lot, it lets me find contacts – every time – compared to the pretty feeble stock effort.

    How about a menu option to edit the current contact with the stock Android Contact app, then I can dump another app from my homescreen and just use Contact Lookup fast.

    I will defo buy the fast app if you can add that feature. In fact, I just bought CLF. Hopefully the suggestion is viable.



    1. If you press (or long-press if you have Contact View) a contact it will take you to the default contact manager where you can edit the contact.

      From Contact View, pressing the name panel at the top will also take you to the default editor.

  3. I’ve just entered the “world” of smartphones; bought a Samsung I5800 hoping it would be a substitue for may ancient pda, mobile phone and mp3 player all in one.

    BUT the “Contacts” in the I5800 only carry fields for name and e-Mail adress. I sometimes need postal adresses also. Will these apps work on an I5800? If not, does anyone know one that does?


  4. How/where can I get support for Contact Lookup Fast? The issue I have encountered was not mentioned in the FAQ.

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