Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Nexus 5 couldn't connect calls with my wife's Nexus 5

The contact doesn't exist

All this started couple of days ago. Calls from my Nexus 5 could not be connected with my wife’s phone. It always showed as ”Line Busy”. However calls from her phone could be received from mine without any problem. Weirdly, her phone could receive calls from others (also from Skype and Viber) and I could call others as well. The only combination that was failing was I calling my wife.

It was as if she had blocked me. Well,  she hadn't - at least not intentionally. But I cannot trust the kid. There is always something missing from the home screen after he gets his hands on a phone. I try my best to keep him away from my phone.

I couldn't find caller blocking functionality in Android. I was in the assumption that my phone was the culprit since from the point of view of my wife's Nexus 5, it was working perfectly as it should. I reluctantly factory reset my phone. This was the first time I had done it so even if it didn't fix the problem, I thought it would at least be educational.

I wasn't really educational. It didn't need my intervention until the initial setup screen showed up. From there onwards, it was identical to a manual OS upgrade which I'm not quite familiar with after performing it few times. And more important, it did NOT fix the original problem. I still couldn't connect with my wife's phone. I had to waste like 1 hour setting up the phone like was before. I wish it was possible to backup and selectively restore the individual app settings as well.

That's when I decided to take the phone to a Y-Mobile outlet. This was on Saturday. It was raining in the morning and as rain stopped in the afternoon we decided to go out. My wife could go shopping and I could get the phone fixed. Sadly, the kid isn't old enough to go play by himself. Musashi Mizonokuchi was the unanimous destination.

When we arrived at the IOIO shopping complex, we went to the Y-Mobile outlet straightaway. My wife didn't want to shop while I was getting the phones fixed because she wasn't confident that she would be able to find me again, as her phone was also with me.

I explained the problem to the staff personnel and he couldn't understand any of what I was saying at first. What I told him was that when I make a call from my phone to my wife's phone, the calls do not connect and the phone shows a status message as Line Busy. He couldn't understand what I meant by Line Busy. First he thought I was talking about the app called Line. Then he couldn't understand what "busy" meant. Gah! Finally I managed to explain it to him with my broken Japanese and he made some calls to and from both of our phones to confirm what I was telling. The guy went through the settings of the phones (first I had to change the language of the phone, because he was already sweating after seeing the English menus) to confirm that there wasn't anything out of the ordinary. After figuring out that this issue was way beyond his expertise, he made a call to one of the tech guys.

After testing various things, he found an anomaly in my wife's contact list. With his searched for my name in her contact list, two entries popped up. One of the entries failed to show its details page when tapped on it and showed a message saying "The contact doesn’t exist". Even if it was empty, it should have opened. Further testing confirmed that the contact details were actuality present although it was reporting otherwise. When searched the contact list by phone number, this particular entry showed up confirming that it actually wasn’t empty.

What we did next was to go into the Accounts section of the Settings page and try to sync the Google contacts list. The contacts list hadn't been synced for a while for whatever reason. The contacts synced without much issue but it didn't make the contact details page to open up. And my phone still failed to connect with my wife's. I wasn't even sure if it was a problem with the contact entry to begin with.

Google contacts sync - small

But the Y-Mobile folks told me that it was out of their hands and I had to fix the contact entry issue on my own as it was Google's problem. Sucks, but at least I had something to work on.

I went into my wife's contact list from Chrome and merged the duplicates. Unfortunately Google's contacts showed only one contact entry. The one that wasn't working wasn't shown. Then I played with the contacts sync page to see if there was a setting that might be causing this issue. I found that there were many accounts that were contributing to the contacts shown on the phone. When I disabled all, except the Google contacts, that bad entry went away. Figuring out that it was not a Google contact I enabled one account by account until the bad entry showed up and it was a Skype entry. After I re-enabled the Skype contacts, the bad entry could be miraculously opened. I quickly gave a call to my wife's phone and guess what? It connected!

Skype Contacts - small

So it was after all a corrupted contact entry that was causing all this trouble. And it wasn't even a Google contact. But it was crazy how the phone didn't want to connect the call because of that, especially when there was a good contact entry as well. Showing an error instead of my photo would have been the proper way to implement it. Guess it was one of those weird ones. Let me know if it is not.

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