We observe an Android user figured out how to make Google Contacts sort his Chinese surnamed contacts in Hanyu Pinyin order. How to do the same thing, on desktop? Yes, I want to keep my main language choice still English, if you don't mind.

Yes, I also tried reordering my secondary language preferences in my browser, and my Google account.

Indeed, even having my browser put zh-CN in the very front of the requests it sent,

Accept-Language: zh-CN,zh;q=0.9,en-US;q=0.8,en;q=0.7,zh-TW;q=0.6

didn't help a bit.

Visiting https://contacts.google.com/?hl=zh-cn simply made the interface language zh-cn. But didn't fix the order.

Feel free to move my post to the proper Stack Exchange.

1 Answer 1


More like a workaround: I ended up adding "Phonetic last" and "Phonetic first" for all my contacts whose names are in non-latin characters. These show up when you click on "Show More" in the web version of Google Contacts. This is also compatible with iOS if you use your Google account as a source of contacts. This is possible if you do not have many such contacts, once you start, it is not that hard to keep this maintained.

I have been looking for such feature for long time but I have not found any tweak to achieve this without adding additional data (i.e., these phonetic names) to my contacts. I don't think this will be easy unless Google itself adds a feature for it -- and that won't work on iOS either until Apple also adds it.

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  • Alas, doing this by hand for hundreds of contacts might hurt desktop computer sales, when it can all be achieved automatically on mobile. But yes, indeed it is a desktop solution. Apr 18, 2023 at 6:43
  • @DanJacobson If these is any opensource lib that can convert Chinese characters into Pinyin, perhaps we can export all contacts, process those using a script, and import them back... Not elegant and I did not even try :-| I had 200+ such contacts I did it manually in several batches over a week or so. Sad.
    – charlesz
    Apr 18, 2023 at 18:28
  • Yes all the pinyins are in the Unihan database, etc. But as even surname 曾 is correctly zeng on mobile... I would save your solution for the spots the big companies haven't already fixed. Apr 19, 2023 at 0:14

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