How to Fix Google Hangouts Desktop App SMS Contact Photos


I love Google Hangouts. For someone like me who jumps between desktops, laptops, and my phone – it is the perfect solution. Almost. There are some quirks. If you use Google Hangouts out the desktop app in conjunction with the android app for SMS messaging, doubtlessly you’ve ran into the same problem I have. All of the pretty faces of your friends and family in your Google Contacts do not show up for SMS! I have been bewildered by this for about 6 months until I accidentally figured out a workaround (which may actually be the “solution” since it seems Google has yet to address this).


First, you click on the phone icon on the left sidebar and then search for the contact you want to fix. Hover over their name with your mouse and on the right-hand side a button called “SMS” will appear. Click on that.

Tada! It’s fixed! You can now close that window and their contact will also show their photo in the sidebar, as well as retain the image when you open your SMS conversation back up. Unfortunately you will have to do this for every contact that you want fixed.

Further Remarks

Hangouts is great. I love the fact that I can just sign into Chrome and send text messages to my contacts right from the browser on a much more comfortable keyboard. Hangouts does close to everything I need for simple communications. So why is Google not developing it further rather than developing Messenger and this new Google Allo? When I first saw Allo, I was instantly ready to make the transition. But was taken aback when I found out there was no web app. For now I will be sticking with Hangouts until I can see what Google’s next move is. I would love to be on the curve with Google, but Allo takes features I have become accustomed to away from me. Maybe I’m missing the point?