Your phone is nothing without contacts. Just several years ago, switching or upgrading phones meant entering each contact one by one into the new handset. This is no longer the case as each modern smartphone has access to a cloud that syncs, not only contacts, but apps, bookmarks, preferences and even messages among all your devices.
Apple’s iPhone allows you to sync your contacts with iCloud, and formerly MobileMe. Adding a new entry into the Contacts app on your Macbook will automatically be transferred to any iOS device you own, and vice versa, as long as you’re logged on into the same account.
Google also allowed you to integrate contacts you may have stored within Gmail or Google Apps onto your iPhone, but the process was a bit complex and involved using Microsoft Exchange. Fortunately, the search giant has rolled CardDAV compatibility to their list of open protocols, making the process easier. We’ll walk you through the steps.
Adding Google Contacts to iOS
For this example, I’ll be using an iPhone 5 running iOS 6 but you may use any iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or higher.
Any Gmail or Google Apps e-mail address you have installed on your iPhone device will remain unmodified. Navigate to the settings panel on your iPhone and select “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”.
From here, select Add Account and choose “Other”, the last item on the list.
Under the Contacts Category, select “Add CardDAV Account”.
In this screen, fill each text box with the appropriate information as shown in the screenshot below. Under server, enter: “google.com”. Enter your full email address, whether it’s a Gmail or Google Apps account, under the “User Name” field along with the corresponding password.
The description field can be anything you’d like. In my case, I’m entering “Google Contacts”.
Click on “Next” on the upper right corner and your Google contacts will start syncing with iOS.
Verify that new contacts were imported successfully by opening up the contacts apps. I’m a big fan of digital cleaning so take some time to find any duplicates or unnecessary contacts and delete them by selecting an individual entry, tapping on “edit” and scrolling all the way down to “Delete Contact”.
Tapping on the Groups button on the upper left will bring up a list of sources your contacts are filled (and edited) by. Since adding Google, I now have a total of three sources including iCloud and Facebook.
Select Google Contacts as Default
Although you can import from as many sources as you’d like, you may only have one default account. Any new contacts created through your iOS device will be added to this account.
You can choose Google (or any other email) as the default by returning to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” then selecting “Default Account”. Simply choose your preferred account from the list shown.
Although Apple and Google are becoming stronger competitors each year, I love it when they play along. Having Gmail, YouTube and now full Google contacts integration available on my iPhone is a definite plus.