MacMost Now 909: Syncing Google Contacts With iOS

When you add a Google Gmail account to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you can get email, calendar and notes syncing, but not contacts. To add contacts, you need to add the Google account a second time, as a CardDAV account. Then you can see your Google contacts in your Contacts app.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 909: Syncing Google Contacts With iOS.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode I'm going to show you how to sync your Goggle Contacts with your iOS device.

This is a question that I get asked a lot. When you add a Gmail account to your iPhone or iPad you can see your calendars and you can certainly see your email but it doesn't sync Contacts. Any Goggle contacts that you have will not appear and you can't add any to your Goggle contacts.

Well, you can actually solve this problem by adding a second Goggle account. You can use the same Goggle ID and password but adding a special one that just handles contacts.

I found this very easily by looking at some of the useful information at Apple's site. You can go to this page for a description of what you need to do.

So I'm going to use my iPad for this but certainly a lot of people want to do this on their iPhone and the steps are exactly the same.

I'm going to go into Settings and under Settings I'm going to click on, or tap on, Mail, Contacts, Calendars. You can see I've got my iCloud account, my work account, and Gmail account. I'm going to look at my Gmail account here and it is a sample email account. You can see I've got Mail turned on, Calendars turned on and Notes turned on. I don't have the ability to add Contacts which is the frustrating thing for people. So how do you fix that?

The way to fix that is to add a new account. Let's add an account here. Instead of choosing one of these I'm going to choose Other at the bottom and I'm going to choose a contacts account, a CardDAV Account, right there. According to the instructions from Apple I'm going to use Goggle as the server,, and I'm going to enter my user name and password. Now since this is actually a Gmail account, not a Goggle Apps account, I can actually use just the part before the @ symbol and I enter my password. Then I hit next and it will quickly verify the account.

So now I've got that. You can see it added it and it is just a Contacts account. It even says so right there under Goggle. I can make things a little easier by changing the name of this account. Let's change the description to Goggle Contacts and hit done.

Then when I go into my Contacts app I'll see the contacts appear there. I put two sample contacts in there. If I look, tap on Groups there at the top, you can see I've got my iCloud account there and I've turned that off for this demonstration. So all you see is Goggle Contacts. That is the name I have just entered in. I can see that I have selected yes show all Goggle contacts which is what I am seeing here.

I can add ones and change them and it will sync with my Goggle account.

So this is very handy if you want to use the iOS device. But you are using Goggle's cloud services not iCloud. You can do this and have your Contacts sync as well as your Mail, Calendars, and Notes.

I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 19 Responses to “MacMost Now 909: Syncing Google Contacts With iOS”

    6 years ago

    Hi Gary,
    I have the reversed problem. I have no google contacts and would like to have my Mac contacts to appear in Google. It would give me some kind of a security back-up. Does your method do this?
    Thanks for everything.

      6 years ago

      No. That’s not how cloud services work. If you are using iCloud, then your contacts are on the iCloud server and you are viewing them from there in the Contacts app. If your contacts are in Google, then you are viewing them from there in your Contacts app. But syncing them across two services is problematic as there is no bridge to tell each of them about changes. And then it would look like you had two of everyone in your Contacts app.
      A simple backup would make more sense. But cloud services back up automatically. Still, an archive to protect yourself from accidental deletions would be OK.
      If you are actually storing your contacts on your Mac — locally, not cloud at all — then I would move them to the cloud service of your choice by using whatever import function is available. Not sure of your situation, so I’ll stop there.

        John M. Hammer
        6 years ago

        I prefer to keep my contacts synced with iCloud but I like having them in Google’s cloud, too, mainly for Google Voice. The only way to do this and avoid duplication is to keep them only on Google as you describe on this vid (which I don’t want to do) or to manually import the contacts into Google. I do the latter once a month or so to keep the contact list on Google fairly up to date. Easy to

          6 years ago

          I tend to use all fields and create my own for my contacts that have a variety of touch points and interactions that I’d like to remember. For instance I use the notes field to keep track of conversations (this comes in handy when dealing with utility companies, contractors etc).

          What I’ve just noticed is that in icloud, searching includes ALL fields, and in google it does not. This is a major oversight on Google’s part and as such icloud is my main database that I work from.

    Tom Dri
    6 years ago

    Be prepared to delete a lot of copies

    6 years ago

    I followed your steps, but when I hit ‘next’ I got a “cannot Connect Using SSL” it asks do you want to try setting up the account w/o SSL. I tried but tht failed also. What am I doing wrong?

      6 years ago

      Are you sure you are choosing CardDAV and not another option?

        6 years ago

        Yes, I chose the CarDAV!

          6 years ago

          Not sure what could be wrong, then. Password or perhaps the ID is wrong? Impossible to say without first-hand investigation.

    6 years ago

    Is this also the way to get one’s Yahoo contacts into the Address Book?

      6 years ago

      You don’t need to do anything special. When you add your Yahoo account in Settings, it should add Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders and Notes. Check you Settings app and look in Mail, Contacts, Calendars and then select your Yahoo account (assuming you have already added it before).

    Joe G
    6 years ago

    @John – try the AtoG extension on OSX. It will export all your Apple Addy Book contacts to a Google format. Upload that to Google for your incremental update. DONE.

      6 years ago

      Wish I could do this – more detail would be appreciated :-)

    Ilan Aisic
    6 years ago

    On my iOS devices I have defined my Google account at the Settings as an “Microsoft Exchange” account. This settings is simpler (only one account) and syncs easily Mail, Contacts and Calendar (but not the Notes).

    6 years ago

    I’m confused about that video. Was that IF you are NOT using icloud ONLY? Or even IF you are using icloud? Because you mentioned something at the end regarding google’s cloud – which I don’t know anything about. I did everything you said and the account was created but I do not have “Google Contacts” appear when I open my contacts…..

      6 years ago

      Perhaps then you have no contacts stored in your Google account. In that case, you don’t need the technique described in this video.
      Google’s cloud services include email (called Gmail, contacts, Google calendar, etc).

    6 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for MacMost.

    I have had this set-up running for a while. However, there most have been an “update or patch” recently. Because now the CardDAV does not work in OSX Addressbook. The mail and calendar works, but Addressbook cannot validate password.

    Is this a know issue?

      6 years ago

      Still working for me. Perhaps it has something to do with settings in your Google account — security or special characters in your password or something else.

    5 years ago

    Thank you! I have been trying to understand why new contacts added on my computer were not showing up on my phone. Somehow an older version of my contacts migrated over and then…froze.

    I did have to take a deep breath at the end of the process you describe and press “delete all existing contacts on phone”. It seems to have worked. If you can figure out how to get/see groups in my contacts life will be good.

Comments Closed.